Sno*Jet will always be remembered as the good looking, reliable, easy to love machines. Well in our family the Sno*Jet has always been the one towing the other machines home. So enjoy this brief history!
In 1964, Paul-Emile Roy and a Mr. Fillion had a small Fiberglass company in their basements, in the Thetford Mines, Quebec. They seeked financial aid from the Economic Development Society to start up a fiberglass company. While there, the E.D.S. representative became quite interested in a small vehicle designed to travel over the snow (built by Roy himself.) After careful considering of the building of snowmobiles instead of boats, Mr. Théberge (an accountant) and Mr. Pelchat (a plumbing contractor) formed a partnership with Roy and Mr. Fillion. In October of 1964, the E.D.S. arranged a small business with three employees and a general manager, Sno*Jet was Born.
The first year consisted of 25 units total. In April of 1965 the first engineer was hired and almost 100 more employees the following seasons production increases to 1150 snowmobiles. 1966 was the first year that Sno*Jet was sold in the USA. 300 of the 1150 units were going to the U.S. The third year saw 4400 snowmobiles. Due to the sudden increase in the popularity of the sport, Sno*Jet would have to rapidly expand. In June of 1968, Conroy of Texas became the new owner of Sno*Jet. They weres now under the guidance of a fiberglass boat manufacturer, Glastron Boat Company, a subsidiary of Conroy. For the 68/69 season Sno*Jet snowmobiles reached 25,000 units. By 1972, sales for the first time ever, were starting to dwindle. As the years went by, the sales dropped lower and lower. The Sno-Jet company took a large blow, like all the other small snowmobile companies. When the Oil strike happened in 1974, causing gas prices to rise, and small snowmobile companies to collapse.
The final year of Sno*Jet was 1976 with only three models made. Conroy, the builder of Sno-Jet wanted to get out of the snowmobile market. Kawasaki wanted to get INTO the market, they bought out Sno*Jet; thereby they didn't have to sell themselves to set up new dealerships... by doing it this way they had there dealerships established. Most of the Sno*Jet dealers did sell Kawasaki. The snowmobile market was so competitive they didn't last either.
The Kawasaki Era...
KAWASAKI USA .INC. HAD A CONTRACT WITH KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES INC. OF JAPAN, IN 1973 , WHICH WAS TO HAVE A SNOWMOBILE ON THE SNOW FOR SALE BY 1977, OR LOSE THE CONTRACT. KAWASAKI OF JAPAN WOULD PAY ANY BILL SENT TO THEM , TO GET THIS DONE.
KAWASAKI USA. WOULD NOT BE READY WITH THE FIRST KAWASAKI SNOWMOBILE UNTIL 1978, SO TO KEEP THEIR CONTRACT, THEY PURCHASED SNO*JET , SENT THE BILL TO JAPAN AND THEN PAID ARTIC CAT TO BUILD AND SHIP THEM TO THE SNO*JET DEALERS. ARTIC CAT DID THIS EACH YEAR UNTIL 1981. FROM 1977 UNTIL 1980 ONLY THE KAWASAKI INVADERS AND INTRUDERS WERE BUILT BY KAWASAKI USA IN LINCOLN NEB.
KAWASAKI OF JAPAN PAID FOR ALL THE WASTE THAT KAWASAKI USA SENT TO THEM. THEN WITH THE 1983 DEALER MEETING JUST 3 WEEKS A WAY , KAWASAKI INDUSTRAL OF JAPAN BOARD OF DIRECTORS TOOK A HARD LOOK AT THE TRACK RECORD OF KAWASAKI USA. AND WERE SO SHOCKED AT THE DEBT TO SOME DAY PROFFIT THAT THEY WOULD NEVER SEE , THEY THEN VOTED TO CLOSE KAWASAKI USA.
Sno*Jet Production Numbers
1965 - 25
1966 - 1000
1967 - 4500
1968 - 9000
1969 - actual 22518
1970 - actual 31181
1971 - actual 27866
1972 - actual 25185
1973 - estimate 24000
1974 - estimate 15000
1975 - estimate 10000
1976 - estimate 4000-5000
* Note : Numbers may not include Thunder Jets or other Racing Models.