Scorpion snowmobiles were in production from 1965 until 1982. The brand became instantly popular among buyers and grew into one of the largest manufacturers in the U.S. Surprisingly, these vintage sleds still appear on the used market! If you are looking for a Scorpion snowmobile for sale, this post is for you. Besides the history of these iconic sleds, you can also find out where to find one!
Scorpion Snowmobile History
The history of Scorpion snowmobiles starts with Trail-A-Sled (TAS), which was once a well-known name in the snowmobile industry. This company was established in 1959 and was famous for its special air sleds.
These unique machines featured aluminum bodies and a large propeller mounted on the rear and was powered by a 125 HP Lycoming engine. They were designed to carry two passengers regardless of snow conditions.
To make the chassis lighter, the aluminum body of these sleds was replaced with a fiberglass shell.
The machine offered an enclosed and heated interior and reasonable towing capacity, which made it attractive for commercial buyers.
Although the company’s main focus was on these air sleds, it also manufactured sleeper cabs, canoes, and small boats.
Also, Trail-A-Sled was a major part supplier of Polaris, manufacturing primarily fiberglass body parts and components.
In the early ‘60s there was a huge boom in the snowmobile market, which attracted many new manufacturers into the business.
Being the official supplier of the major snowmobile brands TAS had an opportunity to design and build its own smaller track-powered snowmobile.
The first tracked TAS snowmobiles hit the market in 1964. These machines featured a fiberglass body and a cleated track, which proved to be quite noisy.
But everything changed in 1965 when the company decided to use rubber tracks on their new sleds. According to Stern Rubber, it was the first track that was patented in the U.S.!
Thanks to this new track design, these sleds produced much less noise and were able to reach a top speed of 40 mph.
The sled was called “Scorpion” and become instantly popular on the market. TAS produced 500 of these sleds for the 1965 model year.
In the following years, the company rapidly expanded, manufacturing the majority of the parts they use. Surprisingly, the company produced even the bogie wheels and the engine mounts for their sleds.
The popularity of Scorpion snowmobiles remained unbroken. What’s more, the brand got a lot of media attention thanks to an adventurous expedition.
In 1968 three employees rode to Anchorage Alaska from Crosby on Scorpion sleds. After the 28-day journey, the sled’s rubber tracks were still in great condition and offered perfect performance.
This experiment was so convincing that Scorpion aroused the attention of Sir Edmund Hillary, who decided to choose the company as the snowmobile supplier for his next expedition.
By 1969 the manufacturer was already producing about 20,000 machines annually. The engine suppliers of Scorpion were Hirth, JLO, and Sachs, just like for many other major snowmobile brands at that time.
More and more Scorpion sleds were powered with JLO engines, so finally the entire JLO manufacturing assets were relocated from Europe to Minnesota. What’s more, Scorpion even considered purchasing the entire engine division from Rockwell.
Over the years, Scorpion became one of the industry-leading snowmobile manufacturers. Their sleds were known for their great design, quality, and reliability.
According to Trailasled.com, in 1969 the company already employed more than 400 people and had a payroll of about $2.5 million. In this year Fuqua Industries acquired Trail-A-Sled and renamed it Scorpion, Inc.
In 1970 production was increased and Scorpion was manufacturing about 22,000 snowmobiles annually.
It’s safe to say that 1971 was the most successful year of Scorpion, just like for many other competitor manufacturers.
Scorpion introduced the Stingerette, which was the first snowmobile designed and built for women. The company produced 200 of these innovative sleds per day and employed about 500 people.
But after this peak, the entire snowmobile industry had to face declining sales numbers.
The winters were strangely mild, and oil prices skyrocketed thanks to the Arab Oil Embargo. All of these effects led to shrinking demand and the entire snowmobile industry was hit hard.
On top of that, in 1975 there were still about 20 different snowmobile brands on the market. Many popular sleds from Boa-ski, Evinrude, or Sno-Jet were still in production.
However, Scorpion still tried to do its best to offset the negative trend.
To bring engine manufacturing in-house, the American manufacturer acquired Brutanza Engineering in 1975. The company was a smaller snowmobile manufacturer that offered sleds with high-performance liquid-cooled engines.
The main reason behind this acquisition was that Brutanza held the patent for these innovative power sources. Scorpion hoped this new engine would make their sleds more attractive for the market.
This brand new engine line was named Cuyuna and included a 300 and a 440cc fan-cooled twins, as well as a 340cc liquid-cooled twin. The original Brutanza sled was also manufactured under the name of Scorpion Brut.
Besides this sled, the all-new 1975 Scorpion Whip was also introduced, which replaced the Super Stinger.
The Scorpion 440 Whip was not only the lightest trail snowmobile in this class, but it also featured many innovative features.
The machine was built on an aluminum chassis, which was designed from scratch. It also had a “Para-Rail” suspension, which was a mix of the new side rail and the outdated bogie wheel suspension systems.
This new suspension design allowed the use of all-rubber tracks on these sleds, which proved to be more durable. The Scorpion Whip also featured the new “power thrust clutch” and a 6-gallon gas tank.
Besides these vehicles, the manufacturer also offered its own Cuyuna power sources for sale.
What’s more, the company was actively looking for new opportunities, so it even entered the moped market in 1977. Unfortunately, despite all efforts made Scorpion had a hard time staying profitable, and its fate seemed to be inevitable.
Finally, in 1978 the competitor Arctic Cat purchased Scorpion and the number of workers dropped drastically. Although Arctic Cat started producing trailers in the original Crosby facility, it was completely shut down in the following year.
The manufacturing of Scorpion sleds was moved from Crosby to Thief River Falls and in 1981 the new Scorpion Sidewinder was released. This sled is known as the latest Scorpion snowmobile, but let’s face it, this machine was already an Arctic Cat sled disguised as a Scorpion.
In 1982 Arctic Cat went bankrupt which also meant the end of Scorpion snowmobiles. The iconic American snowmobile brand didn’t survive the reorganization of the company.
Finally, Scorpion’s assets and the licensing rights were sold to another company later that same year.
Scorpion Snowmobile Models
Several iconic Scorpion snowmobiles were manufactured over the years, but the most famous ones are as follows:
- Scorpion TKX
- Scorpion Manta
- Scorpion Mark I-IV
- Scorpion Redline
- Scorpion Roamer
- Scorpion Whip
- Scorpion Whip TK and TKX
- Scorpion Bull Whip
- Scorpion Range Whip Sting
- Scorpion Brut LC-44
- Scorpion Sidewinder
And the large “Stinger” family with eight different models:
- Scorpion Stinger I 293
- Scorpion Stinger II 340
- Scorpion Stinger II 400
- Scorpion Stinger III 400
- Super Stinger II 440
- Super Stinger III 440
- Scorpion Stingeroo 277
- Scorpion Stingerette (designed for women)
Scorpion Snowmobiles for Sale
Although today vintage Scorpion snowmobiles look like outdated machines, you can still see some of them in vintage races and even on the trails.
Let’s face it, new snowmobiles are already quite expensive and hard to work on. That’s why vintage sleds are still popular, especially among younger buyers!
These old machines are more affordable and feature a simpler design. This results in easier maintenance and lower owning costs.
If you’re considering purchasing one, you can still find some great Scorpion snowmobiles for sale on Craigslist, eBay, or other dedicated online snowmobile classified ad sites.
Furthermore, you may want to visit some Scorpion snowmobile forums as well as FB groups. Besides some potential deals, you may find a ton of useful info on vintage Scorpion sleds from these sources.
FAQs About Vintage Scorpion Snowmobiles
Who Made the Scorpion Snowmobile?
Scorpion snowmobiles were originally made by Trail-A-Sled Inc. The company was acquired by Fuqua Industries in 1969 and its name was changed to Scorpion, Inc. The brand was also sold to Arctic Cat in 1978 which kept Scorpions sleds alive until 1982.
Why did Scorpion Stop Making Snowmobiles?
The main reason behind the fall of Scorpion snowmobiles was arguably the recession of the entire snowmobile industry. High oil prices and a string of several mild winters hit the entire business hard. It caused many manufacturers to shut down and Scorpion was no exception.
When did Scorpion Stop Making Snowmobiles?
Scorpion Inc. went bankrupt in 1978 but the company was sold to the competitor Arctic Cat. Therefore, the brand remained in production in the following years. But unfortunately, Arctic Cat also went bankrupt and as a result the production of Scorpion snowmobiles was discontinued in 1982.
What Years did Scorpion Make Snowmobiles?
Finally, it’s safe to say that Scorpion snowmobiles were in production from 1965 to 1982.
Conclusion – What Happened to Scorpion Snowmobile?
Scorpion snowmobiles appeared on the market in 1965. These iconic sleds were originally manufactured by Trail-A-Sled Inc. which was purchased by Fuqua Industries in the late ‘60s.
Over the years the brand became one of the leading brands in the snowmobile market. In the most successful years Scorpion employed about 500 people and produced more than 22,000 machines.
Unfortunately, the recession of the snowmobile market hit the company hard, which led to bankruptcy in 1978.
Although Arctic Cat acquired the company and tried to keep the brand alive, its efforts were unsuccessful.
To the greatest regret of many fans, Scorpion snowmobiles disappeared from the market in 1982.