Peter Morris (provided all this information) used to work for Sno-Jet from early 1972 thru to1976. There were four guys working out of an old drafty cavalry stable in Vermont that designed the World Champion Thunder-Jets. Every sled, even today, owes it's chassis layout to the 1972 T-Jets.
When Glastron bought Sno-Jet, they knew it would need a serious R&D upgrade to move it closer to the top of the pack. There were as many as 120 different snowmobile manufacturers in the early '70's, so there was little to separate 'Brand A' from 'Brand Z'. Ski-Doos were yellow, Moto-Skis were orange, Chaparrals were red. The Raider and the Husky were the only dramatic departures from the basic design. Bombardier, Artic Cat, and Polaris were in early enough to have the market share to afford national marketing campaigns. So any new players would have to scrap over the remainder of the pie. When the pie gets cut into 120 pieces, some of the slices tend to be a bit skinny.
But, when most of the components can be supplied OEM,. the only real cost to tooling up a new sled is the fiberglass cowl and copying someone else's tunnel and chassis layout. Engines were easy to find (CCW, Rotax, Hirth, etc.), and you could buy your tracks, bogies, drive shafts, clutches, and everything else from Arctic Cat, or the other competitors. The price of admission into this industry was fairly small. Create a new brand name/logo, and find a color no one else has grabbed yet... Poof, you're in!
Conroy knew that to become the 'next Bombardier', they would have to leapfrog the status quo. Since Sno-Jet was located in Thetford Mines, PQ. It was hard to intice any talented R&D and marketing personnel to the 'Asbestos Capital of the World'. Sno-Jet had Jim Poirier as their Industrial Designer/Stylist and some pretty good engineers when Glastron came in... but Glastron needed more, and premier players. So they decided to move marketing and R&D to Vermont, where they could attract high quality talent. The head-hunters took over from there.
They found Duane Aho as the Chief Engineer (from one of the outboard companies: OMC or Mercury?). Bob Mackin as the Mechanical Designer, and Harland Lipker as the Prototype Builder/Tuner/Mechanic. This was the core of the Advanced Development Team. Peter was the fourth one in the door, as they were looking for a 'jack-of-all-trades' to do the drafting, assembly drawings, exploded view illustrations, model making, additional styling proposals, etc. It was this team of 3 or 4 that created the more revolutionary models to come.... starting with a blank sheet of paper in 1971. Peter arrived just in time to help finish up the 1972 Thunder Jet racers: 250/440/and 650. The first time a Thunder Jet took to the race track was at Thunder Road Speed Bowl, in Barre Vermont.There are some good little stories that accompanied the introduction of the Thunder Jet to the snowmobile race world, more of those on the way.
Since the team was small and lightly budgeted, you might expect this to have a disadvantage to the multi-million $$ labratories at Ski-Doo and Arctic Cat. But because there was no huge corporate entity to wade through, advanced designs could be proposed and approved on the same day. No waiting for the bean-counters, skeptics, and marketing people to add their 2 cents.... and take an extra year to dillute a perfectly good idea!!