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1979 Quadtrac Groomer

1979 Quadtrac Groomer snowmobile trails Arctic Cat
It may not have been big, but the Quadtrac made perfect sense for spur trails, and single track areas that big, burly groomers did not dare to go.
1979 Quadtrac Groomer snowmobile trails Arctic Cat
Originally designed and manufactured by Progressive Tool & Engineering out of Roseau, Minn., the Quadtrac groomer was, “built to sell and to be used by smaller snowmobile clubs for trail grooming.”

A four-track articulating groomer with a turning radius of only 10 feet, it came with 12-inch-wide rubber tracks for use in the summer like an ATV, but it had the option for 15-inch-wide, steel-cleated tracks for winter grooming with a drag. Optional accessories included a five-foot snowplow with hydraulic lift. It had a heavy gauge steel frame with an aluminum body and a canvas cab. A Kohler K340-2AX twin-cylinder, two-cycle, fan-cooled engine put power through snowmobile drive and driven clutches with a special heavy-duty transmission that had two forward speeds and one reverse. The Quadtrac saw speeds near 24 mph in high gear and 12 mph in low gear.

Found a buyer

Edgar Hetteen from Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls, Minn., figured the Quadtrac would fit right into the product line and boost snowmobile sales. Edgar always liked innovation, so Arctic Cat bought the original designs for Quadtrac and moved manufacturing to Thief River Falls before the 1979 models were made.

Right away, Arctic Cat started to make changes to the groomer, adding things like a new fiberglass cab and a poly windshield. Power was changed to a Suzuki Spirit 500cc fan-cooled, twin-cylinder engine that produced 45hp at 6500 RPM. Power was sent through Arctic Cat automatic torque converter clutches to a heavy-duty, hi- and low-range transmission. Hydraulic disc brakes provided sure stopping. The track drive was a silent chain driven by two Dana differentials. All four tracks were powered, making it essentially an AWD machine.

Originally, the groomer only held eight gallons of fuel, but a demand for greater fuel capacity prompted Arctic Cat to increase the Quadtrac’s tank size to 12 gallons, allowing up to eight hours of continuous grooming.
1979 Quadtrac Groomer snowmobile trails Arctic Cat
1979 Quadtrac Groomer snowmobile trails Arctic Cat
With a length of only 109 inches and a width of only 56 inches, the Quadtrac could fit in the back of most pickup trucks. In its early iterations, the groomer weighed around 1,000 lbs., but the upgrades Arctic Cat installed pushed the weight up to 1,466 lbs. Cat kept it nice and narrow for small trails, like the trail spurs leading to local watering holes that needed to connect to main trails.

Cool optional equipment from Arctic included a fold-up 60-inch trail groomer drag. With the drag folded up, you could go in reverse with no problems, making turning around much easier. I was told about 25 were made in Thief River Falls. Then the operation was moved to Scorpion in Crosby, Minn. Ron Rooney was the service engineer for Quadtrac at Scorpion, so he was the guy that went out into the field on service calls when you had problems with your groomer. Arctic Cat/Scorpion curtailed Quadtrac manufacturing after the 1980 season.  

Cat claimed, “Feature for feature, Quadtrac is your best choice.” Certainly, this nifty little machine had a great place in snowmobile history.

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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