OMC stands for Outboard Marine Corpration. OMC brand snowmobiles had three different brand names on the market. The OMC company made Evinrude, Johnson, and Snow Cruiser. These three brands used the basically same snowmobiles but with different colors. They were all owned by the OMC company. OMC snowmobiles continued into the early 70’s.
Most people do not think about snow in June, except the OMC company. In June of 1964, OMC made plans for their first snowmobile. Their first snowmobile would be the Evinrude Skeeter. By September, they had their first snowmobiles ready at the dealers. The Evinrude Skeeter was equipped with runners in the front to steer and a track in the rear. The Skeeter was designed for recreational purposes although some were made for commercial purposes such as farmers or ranchers. A 14 hp opposed twin engine was made specially for the Skeeter. It also has the Eas-A-Matic rewind for starting and a disc type brake. It futured a 5.4 gal. gasoline tank which was considered a long travel tank. The Skeeter weighed a total of 369 pounds.
In 1966, Johnson came out with their model, the Skee Horse. The Johnson Skee Horse came in three different sizes, a 15 1/2 inch wide track, 20 1/2 inch wide track, and a 20 1/2 inch wide track with electric start. The wide track models were made for greater stability. They used “Snow Track” traction system and came with the new Torque Senstive Drive. The Skee Horse was equipped with a New Soft Suspension and a disc brake. It also had lock-out neutral gears and a hi-lo beam headlights. Owners of the Johnson Skee Horse could buy replaceable ski runners for this model.
In the early 70’s, Johnson bought the Golden Ghost to the market. Weighing 560 pounds, it was on the heavier side of the market. Johnson claimed that they could make a snowmobile quieter than 73db. The average sled at the time was around 83db. They’re proof was the Golden Ghost. Yet not only had it change the sound, Johnson made a process of thinking that many other snowmobile producers would follow. It is engine mechanicals, inlet and cooling air, exhaust, and driveline. Limiting the air flow by a large cowling also reduced the airflow. The Golden Ghost was priced at $1,650. The Golden Ghost, unfortunely, was not a good marketing sucess.
There wasn’t a who lot you could do performance wise to a rotary engine. So, OMC made their engines bigger from the factory. It had a 20 1/2 in. track with a bogie suspension. It had a unbelievable 45 horsepower engine but wasn’t all that fast. It actually was clocked at 50 MPH.
In 1974, OMC made big changes in their snowmobiles. Johson made the JX snowmobile line and Evinrude made the Skimmer line of snowmobiles. They came with three different size engines. They came in 400cc, 440cc, and 650cc sizes. They were both twins and fan-cooled. The Johnson JX lineup came in a new color, orange and black. While Evinrude stayed with their original colors, blue and white. Here is a video of a 1975 Johnson JX 650. The 74 models had the common carbs. But in 75, OMC switched to the Fuel Miser carbs. They are said to had 58% more gas usage over the common carbs.
The World’s fastest snowmobile was a Johnson. This snowmobile, the Pegasus set a record in 1971. This sled reached the speed of 140.625 mph. This record took place on Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The old record that this snowmobile broke was a speed of 125.9 mph. This record continued for the next ten years. The pilot of this snowmobile was Dick Hansler, a former policeman.