The worlds fastest snowmobile is a Johnson, naturally. That is the tag line Johnson used on its advertisements for its
purpose built speed run snowmobile Pegasus. In August of 1971 Johnson ran the Pegasus, driven by Dick Hansler a 38
year old Kenosha, Wi police officer, to 140.625 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats and claimed the title of "World's Fastest
Snowmobile". The experimental sled was powered by two Johnson 99.6ci V4 racing outboard boat engines and ran on
production skis and steering up front. The track was specially manufactured by Goodyear for Johnson. Pegasus was
originally painted green and had a very sleek design. There was no rear stablizer fin though and the design proved to be too
unstable at high speed. There are some pictures that show Pegasus with its original body shape but repainted gold. The green
version was never run at Bonneville. A second Pegasus was built with signifficant modifications from the original design
to address its design problems and was painted gold. The most notable change was the addition of a large vertical rear
fin to increase stability, a large hood scoop and a redesign of the top surface of the body to make it flat before the windshield.
The second Pegasus is currently owned by Bob Sell of F&S Yamaha in Pennsylvania. The whereabouts of the original
Pegasus are unknown.
The second Pegasus as she sits now. This is what it looked like when it made its world record run.
The next four pictures are how Pegasus originally looked in the green paint. Notice the lack of a fin in the back and
no hood scoop. Other differences from the later body style are the more aerodynamic looking windshield that flows right with
the body and center rib runs all the way from the noise of the sled to the back. Note that it also says "Skee Horse" underneith
the Johnson on the rear side of the sled.
These two pictures are a little bit of a mystery. I beleive these pictures are of the Manke brothers at their family's
Johnson dealership posing next to Pegasus. Here is the odd part, the body style on this Pegasus is the same as the green sled
but it has been repainted gold. It also has the world speed run "140.625 MPH" painted on its side but this is not the
later model gold sled used for the speed runs. I think this pictures provs that there were definitly two different Pegasus
sleds that existed at the same time. In the second picture you can actually see one of the boys holding a picture of the sled
that actually made the speed run. Also the Pegasus script on the front of the sled is a different style then either the green
or the later gold sled.
These next pictures are of the second Pegasus. There are many subtle differences from the 1st design. First is the redesigned
cockpit with the large verticle fin to increase stability at high speed. Second is the low, wide hood scoop. The hole
around the exhaust pipes is smaller on this design and the front suspension components actually stick through the top of the
body. There is also a flat black area infront of the cockpit now whereas the original windscreen stuck out into that area
and there are four scoops on the rear of the sled, two on each. If you look closely at the pictures you will notice some variances
in the paint scheme and graphics as well.
Prototypes and Experimentals
Here are a few pictures of what appears to be a 1976 Evinrude twin track snowmobile. From what I have gathered it was
designed by Brooks Stevens Designes, an industrial design firm that worked on a lot of OMC projects. If you
have any additional information on this sled please let us know.
Here is anothe prototype Evinrude also attributed to Brooks Stevens. This model also appears to be a twin track sed with
side by side seating and a single ski in the front.
You can also see it here in the background of this shot of Pegasus.
The End of OMC Snowmobiles
I have a great article from JXNut that I need to scan and post that explains the reasons that OMC pulled out of the snowmobile