( see Moto Ski history page & Moto Ski race page )
In 1971 (mid-year) Dauphin Industries told Al Dufrane that they would build a sled with his name on it. This became "Sno-Chief" as the Hogansburg Indians were good Moto-Ski parts customers and the thought was to sell these to them also. The '71 models were Dauphins painted maroon and white with black bodies.
They were not hi-tech but they were tough and handled very well. They came in 246cc, 292cc Hirth singles and 340 and 399cc CCW twins. They were not fast but they were very dependable. (Although a little on the ugly side.)
The 1972 models (manufactured by Dauphin) ( SEE THE BROCHURE PAGES ) had a new rubber track and JLO engines - 230 Apache, 292 Mohawk singles and 340 Iroquois, 400 Cherokee and 440 Comanche JLO twins. They also had a few 440 Hirth twins. Speedometer and tachometer were standard on the twins with choice of high back or sports seat. The sled was orange and the hoods were redesigned by DMD and were actually pretty good looking. The twins also had engine covers. They were dependable but still not awfully fast and the traction from the new track was less than spectacular.
In mid 1972 Dauphin fell on hard times and the body dies and fixtures, the ski press and belly pan press was bought by DMD at Dauphin's bankruptcy auction. They also bought Ski-Pony as they used many Dauphin parts.
For the 1973 model year, ( SEE THE BROCHURE PAGES ) they were made in Malone, NY (417 E. Main St.). These machines were designed by George Dufrane (my father) and Francis "Red" Bonner. My father designed a new hood, sleeker than the 72's. They had 'trailing bogie' suspension mounted on rails as a removable assembly. They also had a new Goodyear "Pathfinder" internal lug drive track.
They were powered by all new high performance Hirth engines. The '73 models were Mohawk 290 twin, Iroquois 340 twin and Comanche 440 twin. They were called "SSHP: for Super-stock high performance. The high performance Hirth engines had everything right and the 340 was rated at 35 HP at 7750 RPM. The 440 was 46HP at 7250 RPM. Some 340's had WD Walbro Carbs (mine was the first) and they would truck. Mine would top out at 70 anytime and 75 on a good cold day.
440's had dual carbs (Walbro WD's) and it woke them up too. (My dad's
sled would run
The sleds had St. Laurence hi-rev clutches with 5000 rpm engagement and would still handle excellent and would break trail in snow.
The "73 Sno Chief Sioux 650 is up over at the machine shop at Malone Auto
is the 650.
The 74-76 sleds were much the same with cosmetic changes and Salisbury clutches. Experimentation was conducted with Kioritz engines that had 8 ports and I believe reed-valves and liquid cooled Xenoah-Fugi engines.
Production was discontinued in 1976 as the sled business was rapidly fading. There was one 1977 prototype with new hood and engine cover and liquid cooled engine.
My dad said if they would have had the '73 - up sleds 3 years earlier they could have sold in impressive numbers.
Dufrane Distributors is now and has been in the NAPA AutoParts Business since 1970.
My dad and I started George's Body Shop and used cars in 1977 after the snowmobiles ended, as that was his line of work before the snowmobile business.
I'd like to thanks my dad, George Dufrane Sr. for his invaluable help and hard work for working with the Moto Ski people to make it what is was. At the time, he enjoyed it very much. As you can see by the business card, we are now...
is now 73 years old and still kicking but not as high or as often.
photos are courtesy of Mrs. Harriet Dufrane wife of the late Al Dufrane.
She still resides at her home located in the small hamlet of Constable
only five miles south of the Canadian boarder.
would like to thank George Dufrane Jr. for creating and sending me a wonderful
selection of pictures and the history that goes behind the scenes
at Moto Ski, Sno Chief and Dufrane Motor Distributors.
Thanks also to George Dufrane Sr. and all of those who contributed valuable information.
ON MY SITE, GO TO THE BROCHURE PAGE.
CLICK ON THE PAYPAL BUTTON.
THE COST OF RUNNING THIS SITE GOES UP EACH YEAR.
A DONATION OF $ 5, $ 10, OR $ 20.00 GOES A LONG WAY.
ANY CONTRIBUTION IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
THANKS - DAVID
THE SHOW IS HELD EVERY YEAR IN THE FALL.
IT IS LOCATED IN THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC, JUST NORTH OF MONTREAL.
THE DATE, LOCATION AND ALL OF THE DETAILS ABOUT THE SHOW.
EXPOSITION DE MOTONEIGES ANTIQUES ET CLASSIQUES
ET MÉGA MARCHÉ AUX PUCES
DE PIECES ET MOTONEIGES.
PRES DE MONTREAL, QUÉBEC, CHAQUE AUTOMNE.
ESPÉRONS AVOIR PLUS DE 100 MOTONEIGES
DAVID'S VINTAGE SNOWMOBILE PAGE
RESTORING THE SPORT ONE PIECE AT A TIME.