"Where the history of snowmobiling comes to life"
1970 Chaparral

1970 Chaparral

1970 Chaparral: Sled was built by Steve DuCheney, Don Brown's nephew and this was written by Steve DuCheney. I Started with a 1970 Chaparral Executive with a 493 Hirth motor that I purchased about 1992. Same year/model sled our family had as kids growing up.

Mice built a nest in cooling shroud causing motor to burn up first couple years of owning. Hung it from the rafters in my barn where the red squirrels made it their residence for about 20 years packing it with walnuts and nesting materials.

Don Brown, 1970 I-500 winner, is my uncle. I was 8 years old when he won that race and it left a lasting impression on me. I still remember to this day the sound of that old triple on the final stretch as they aired it live on the radio that night.
This is a project I had wanted to do for MANY years. After last year's Soo race (2018) I decided with the coming year, being the 50th year anniversary for Don's win, and none of us getting any younger, it was now or never to do this build. I had great reference with the photos that Don had saved, along with much other memorabilia. As Don recalls, there were only two of the Chaparral factory built 1970 race sleds in Michigan. Both being in Traverse City. The sled that Don drove was owned/sponsored by West Bay Distributors, a Chaparral dealer in Traverse City. The other sled was owned by the late Jerry Payne who also owned a Chaparral dealership in Traverse City.

Interesting facts:
Set a new record leading 186 consecutive laps. Qualifying speed 60.1 mph. Too big for tech shed, had to tech outside. Win from furthest back in starting field. Largest margin of victory, 18.7 laps. Broke previous race time by 2 hours, 11 minutes. Average race speed just under 50 mph. 1 hour, 38 min red flag for track repairs as a sled caught fire on south end.

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
Hours: 906 477-6298
Appointment: 906 477 6192

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