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Founded in 1900, AMF, the American Machine and Foundry Corporation grew by aquisition to become one of the largest recreational equipment manufacturers in the world.  The victim of a leveraged buyout in the mid-1980s, and subsequent sell-off of divisions, all that remains of the company today is AMF Bowling.  At one time, AMF owned many leading brands including AMP and Potter-Brumfield electrical components, Voit, Hatteras Yachts, AMF Lawn and Garden Equipment, AMF Bowling, Alcort Sunfish sailboards, Vitality exercise machines, Head Sporting goods,  Ben Hogan Golf, Roadmaster Bicycles, Slick Craft boats and, of course, Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  AMF was also a large defense and nuclear contractor and manufactured mass transit systems and monorails.

York, Pennsylvania AMF Ski-Daddler Factory
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1968 Scouts being assembled.

Really cool!!>>>>>CLICK HERE<<<<< to read about York, PA Ski-Daddler factory!

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1968 Scouts randomly selected from production and "summer tested."

In the 1960s many companies, AMF included, jumped on the snowmobile bandwagon.  An internal written study for AMF Western Tool dated July 7, 1964 and titled "Proposed Specifications for the AMF Snow Sled" outlines the huge growth potential of the snowmobile market and AMF's proposed concept vehicle.  The report states, that as of 1964, twelve companies were producing snowmobiles, the most prolific being Bombardier, OMC and Polaris.  The study identified the individual snowmobiling segments as "The Work Sled," "The Family Sled," and "The Sports Sled."  It goes on to advise that AMF Western Tool should build a unit geared to the needs of the sportsman as the market with the largest potential for growth.  The sled would feature a front-mounted two cycle engine, rugged drive belt, top speed of 25 mph,  smooth and flowing styling, be lightweight, comfortable and have an overall focus on dependability.  The cost to manufacture would be $400 to the factory and retail was targeted at $895, leaving the factory, distributor and dealer gross profit to share.  Canada was explored as a huge secondary market for the new AMF snow sled and the tariff implications were discussed based on a dealer invoice cost of $742.  The Canadian duties would add $130 USD to the sale price of the sled in Canada.  On March 1st, 1965, AMF Western Tool made the decision to proceed with the new AMF snowmobile and have the product ready for the 1965-66 selling season.

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After a July 7th sales meeting in the Summer of 1965 the Western Tool Division of AMF debuted the 1966 Sno-Clipper along with the 1966 Ski-Daddler Power Sled.  Both models were similar and powered by  small JLO single cylinder engines.  Through 175 dealers, 3000 units were sold, the vast majority being the Ski-Daddler Power Sled.  The Mango Design Studio was quickly employed to redesign and restyle the Ski-Daddler line for the 1967 model year, resulting in the unique "gray line" snowmobiles that would be manufactured through 1969.  From the 1968 model year through 1972, the Ski-Daddler sleds would be produced at AMF's York, Pennsylvania factory (Only the '66 and '67 models were produced at AMF/Western Tool's Iowa, facility).  Later, after AMF's acquisition of Harley-Davidson,  the facility in York would produce Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and continues to produce the bikes there today, although in a much more modern plant building.

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1968 AMF Ski-Dadder Line

Big revisions were in store for the Ski-Daddler line in 1970, with a new orange line of sleds resembling the contemporary Ski-Doo models in shape.  But not before  the disasterous 1969 Wide Track 18 model, the 5818, was introduced.  The Wide Track 18 Ski-Daddler employed a very underpowered Lloyd engine that resulted in poor performance and a flood of complaints from unhappy owners.  AMF stood behind the WT 18 and offered unhappy purchasers a 1969 1/2 interim model with a 399 Kohler, the MK 23.  Basically a "gray line" sled with an orange paint job, this model was a precursor to the new 1970 orange/black Ski-Daddlers and is a sought after snowmobile today by vintage collectors.

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In 1970, the orange Ski-Daddler models debuted. These sleds looked great, with a retractable headlight, chrome wrap-around front bumper and a sleek, modern design.  From 1970 to 1972 over 15,000 AMF Ski-Daddler snowmobiles would be manufactured including the legendary "XX" racing sleds.  In late 1971, AMF made the decision to again redesign and rebrand the snowmobile line, dropping the Ski-Daddler name in favor of their hugely popular Harley-Davidson brand (AMF had purchased Harley-Davidson Motorcycles in 1969).  1972 would be the last model year for the orange AMF Ski-Daddler snowmobile line.

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Prototype 1970 Ski-Daddler being introduced to AMF management in 1969.

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New AMF Ski-Daddler sign being introduced at the 1969 distributor meeting.

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Peter Theodore, Advertising Manager, introducing the 1970 models at a distributor meeting.

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A handful of 1971 Harley-Davidson Snowmobiles were produced, but the 1972 model year was the first for the Harley sleds and the last for the Ski-Daddler sleds.  After 1972, the remaining Ski-Daddler inventory was sold to a mid-west distributor and liquidated directly to the public at very low prices.  Harley-Davidson dealers were offered the Harley snowmobile line as a separate product, some former Ski-Daddler dealers were also offered the Harley snowmobile franchise.  The Harley-Davidson sleds were advertised as using "Harley's own engine" which was actually an Aeromacchi-manufactured two stroke design.  Aeromacchi was indeed owned by Harley-Davidson and also manufactured the Harley Sprint, MX and Enduro motorcycles under the Harley Davidson brand. It was believed by AMF that they would sell more snowmobiles through the Harley-Davidson network with the Harley name.  The Harley sleds were assembled at the company's Oak Creek, Missouri facility, sharing production facilities with the Harley-Davidson golf cart.  But, at the end of the 1975 snowmobile model year, it was announced that production of AMF Harley-Davidson snowmobiles would be discontinued. 

The Sno-Clipper, Power Sled, Ski-Daddler and Harley-Davidson snowmobiles have remained popular with vintage collectors and have a special place in snowmobile history while the AMF name, once an icon of the recreation industry, has faded away.

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Tom's Classic Snowmobiles, Featuring and Specializing in AMF-built sleds, 509-876-6880  (Walla Walla, Washington)

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