"Where the history of snowmobiling comes to life"
Polar Manufacturing Company-Birth of the Cat

Polar Manufacturing Company-Birth of the Cat

The 500 was powered by a 9.5 horsepower Kohler four stroke engine with reversing transmission, and electric start on the Model E. Early models had stamped steel sides on the power platform, handlebar steering and a wrap around windshield. Later models used a more open slat and tube supported platform, steered with a wheel, and had a flat windshield. Wheel /ski kits were available and a bogie wheel suspension replaced the standard skid frame on the Model A. Weight was under 700 pounds and they sold for about $1300. The Polar 200 was a smaller version with a seven horsepower Kohler and the side-by-side seating of its predecessor. Reverse transmission, lights and brakes were options. Constantly changing and improving, the red rear-engined Polars were shaping the future Arctic Cat models. At least one Polar 500 offered the 16 horsepower Onan engine that was later used by Arctic Cat. It was nearly impossible to distinguish a late model Polar from an early Arctic Cat without a serial tag or decals. Most Polar serial tags were located under the steering linkage and began with 62. An exception, a brown 500, had a XXI (experimental) tag in the typical location. A 63-2 Polar tag was on the seat riser, the common placement for later Arctic models. Polar Manufacturing Company became Arctic Enterprises in the spring of 1962. The first American made front engine snowmobile was also the first Arctic Cat, the Model 100. Arctic contracted with Eugene Roy Limitee, of Quebec, to make three models of the Roy Skimobil for the Canadian market. Of the 100 total machines produced in 1962, approximately 40 carried the Polar name. By: Steve Pierce

Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum News Release-2023 On September 22, 2023 the Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC) in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced it would be generously awarding the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway an $8750 grant for operational support during 2024. MACC uses a peer review process to award grants. More than 700 organizations across the state applied for funding. Each grant application is competitively judged; awardees are chosen to ensure Michigan residents and visitors have access to the most authentic aspects of local arts and culture. Organizations receiving a grant award from MACC/NEA are required to match those funds with other public or private dollars. The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum receives a great deal of donated monetary support through its memberships and visitors and plans to use these funds to match the MACC grant award. There are 141 active museum members not including lifetime members and more than 7000 visitors just last year.

The museum has plans to bring more local art-related activities to our conference room and develop a program for groups with special needs. This support will go toward the cost of wages and advertising for these activities. On Sept 20, 2019, The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum was awarded a grant of $12,500 for Operational Support from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA – ART WORKS). The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of 561 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2019 funding. The grant requires a 1:1 match and helped the museum leverage the $12,500 of support from its annual income and the many donations from supporters. In particular the museum has received grants from the Graymont Community Economic Development Fund and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. It has also received significant donations from the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, The Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows, Inc., many snowmobile clubs, several recreational and snowmobile shows, the museum’s internal $1,000.00 Challenge, and many museum members. The grant funds will be applied to museum operating costs. Applicable costs include internal operations, marketing, travel to shows within the State of Michigan and cost of employees. The MCACA peer review process allows for each grant applicant to be competitively considered by a panel of in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. This ensures the taxpayers, who support this project through legislative appropriations, and all other visitors or residents in Michigan will have access to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences. A complete list of grant awards around the state is available by contacting MCACA at (517) 241-4011, or by visiting the MCACA website at
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Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum
P.O. Box 2
W11660 US-2
Naubinway, MI 49762
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