Back Tracks: 1968 Rustler project

1968 Rustler
Back in the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, everyone in the snow-belt wanted or needed a snowmobile. With early snow that lasted all winter, we could get a lot of riding in.
With snowmobile sales booming, a lot of companies wanted to get in on the growing business. One pretty neat snowmobile was first made by the Motrak Corporation in Minneapolis. With its yellow hood and rear compartment and a very large windshield, it looked very distinctive. This was the Rustler, which was later made by Allied in Canada for its last two model-years.

■ Snowmobile of the future, available today

Bob Bruegger from B&D RV Repair in Hudson, Wis. first heard of the Allied brand when he got invited to a demonstration on the river of the Rustler snowmobiles. He liked them so much that they came to an agreement when Bob ordered three Rustlers and was considered a dealer. Bob sold the first two but kept the last one for his personal sled. Bob enjoyed the Rustler a lot but over time it developed some issues. He held on to the last Rustler for many years in storage, hanging against a wall from its ski tips thinking that some day he would restore it. Bob wanted to ensure that his Rustler would get into good hands and hoped the next owner would restore it. Bob was of retirement age and wanted to move to New Mexico, so he called up Clyde Stockey.

Clyde and his son Dominic went to see this Rustler hanging in storage. Dominic immediately fell in love with the enormous windshield, boat tail and overall uniqueness of the snowmobile.

What a challenge for a 16-year-old! It took about two and a half years of long weekends, fabrication and frustration, but in the end Dominic had a super looking and driving Rustler. Dominic learned a lot about the history of early snowmobiles: the interchangeability of old sleds, how to work with limited parts, and a good deal about the value of hard work and sticking to a goal.

Dominic said that it was a great bonding time working with his dad and when he was finished there were mixed feelings of relief and sadness that it was over. But what is so great now is getting it out on the snow showing how it was back then.
1968 Rustler
Dominic took his Rustler to the 2018 Waconia ride in at the end of January last winter where there were over 925 snowmobiles in the ride around Waconia lake. He was all proud smiles showing his beautiful restored Rustler.

■ A rare find now
The 1968 Rustler came with a 292cc 16hp two-cycle JLO engine. A 15-inch wide rubber track, steel tunnel and nice welded rear passenger hand loops for a nicer ride. It sure looked like a lot of parts were made by Rubber Drives in Crosby, Minn. – a division of Trail-A-Sled maker of Scorpion snowmobiles.

Hustler had a windshield that covered the hood, clear down to the bumper. I don’t know how it would have stood up going through the woods and brush without breaking and getting all scratched up. I guess that is why you very seldom see Rustlers at rides or shows.

In 1968 it was decided to place a Rustler model snowmobile on the starting line of the great Winnipeg 500 race to show how durable it was. To heighten the impact of publicity, Allied hired Nancy Kimball from Park Rapids, Minnesota, who was the only woman on the starting line. She was 21 years old and weighed in at only 98 lbs. Nancy raced against 130 other drivers. Kimball was one of only 27 drivers to finish this grueling race to show how good the Rustler was.
Minnesotan Les Pinz is a vintage sled expert with an extensive collection of historic and other antique sleds, and is a former snowmobile racer. He is a member of the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame and one of AmSnow’s regular test riders.
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