Boss Cat I: 1,000HP of Turbonique Fun in the Snow!

By now you all should be familiar with the paste-eating, babbling, straightjacket-worthy insanity of that legendary purveyor of turbines and turbine accessories, Turbonique. Lest you think that the egregiously dangerous rocket drag axles were limited to dry conditions, may we present for your eye-rubbing, stupefied enjoyment, the Boss Cat I, a Turbonique-equipped 1,000 HP rocket drag snowmobile.

The second in a long and increasingly more adventurous line of racing sleds from Arctic Cat, Boss Cat I took the world speed record in 1971 at a hair-raising 126 MPH in Boonville, NY (the Bonneville of snowmobile dragging?) by an adventurous man named Dale Cormican. Sporting a smooth fiberglass body, the Cat had a theoretical top speed of 200 MPH. The motivation for all that speed was a complex, engine plus turbine (not a thermojet, motor geeks! Although that would have been awesome too) setup. Just to move around and get the Cat off the line, the sled utilized a 800cc 2-stroke 4-cylinder Kawasaki engine that took it up to about 30 MPH. At that point, Turbonique’s Rocket Drag Axle was flipped on, and its 5” rotor began to gorge on a mixture of n-propyl nitrate and pure oxygen, converting that intensely volatile mixture into approximately 1000 ft.-lbs. of torque. That was channeled in turn through a complex set of chains and rollers to power the tread.

As might be expected, the Boss Cat I was not long for this earth. During a 1972 run, Cormican made the serious mistake of backing off the turbine throttle momentarily to regain traction, and then opening the throttle wide open again. This had the chilling effect of filling the turbine housing with unburned propellant, which promptly exploded when the throttle opened back up. It should be said that this throttle blip was standard procedure in the world of sled dragging when the tread lost grip, and considering both this and the fact that I’ve never so much as sat on a snowmobile, I can’t really censure the guy. Dale got out, but the Cat was incinerated. Arctic Cat sensibly stopped putting Turbonique products in their sleds, and went onto build several followup drag sleds, which you can read about at the link below. There’s also a heap of images of the Boss Cat I at the site.
Boss Cat Legacy

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  1. CptSevere Avatar

    A one thousand horsepower million RPM rolling bomb that runs on poison. On snow. Hell, the 800CC Kawasaki 2-stroke that gets it moving is scary enough. Mr. Jayhawk is right, this is just batshit insane.

  2. muthalovin Avatar

    Can you picture the roster-tails of snow? Probably like 30 feet tall. Awesome.

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      Lit from the inside by jet exhaust. Awesome cubed!

  3. engineerd Avatar

    I hate winter. Driving to work on this every day would make me love winter. Hell, I would move to Siberia if I had this. Crazy. I love it!

  4. rovingardener Avatar

    I saw one of the Boss Cats run on Anchor Bay once when my dad took me to oval races in the 70's. All they could do was idle what was one of 2 800cc 2-cycle engines. The clutching allowed one of the tracks to roll freely if the one of the engines wasn't running.
    The four expansion chambers for each were chromed. I think Olav Aaen made them. To this day, GT40 bundles of snakes look like child's play compared to that.

  5. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    That certainly qualifies for bat shit insane…

  6. Tomsk Avatar

    That is bananas, therefore, I love it.

  7. Meltdown Avatar

    It has been recreated. Check out

  8. Boss Cat I Avatar
    Boss Cat I

    There are two being built. The one not on VS has my vote. that one will be shown in the near future. The one on VS was started a year ago but the one being built in MN, that was started 4 years ago, has more than just money behind it.

  9. Meltdown Avatar

    The completed one on VS is the only one that will ever be completed. The supposed builder of the other one in MN has admitted to many people that he has absolutely nothing except an incorrect fiberglass body that does not even match the original at all. He has no chassis, no engines, nothing. He has scammed people for years about his so called real sleds which have all been proven to be fakes. The only person who seems to still believe this idiot is the guy who has the Boss Cat Legacy site. That is a real shame because that guy worked hard building a great website, but he has lost all of his credibility in the vintage snowmobile world because he continually backs the idiot from MN.

  10. PhotoRipOffArtist Avatar

    Th "2nd" alluded to by "Boss Cat I" above is a joke, and nothing of it exists. They guy who was going to build it is well known for building really crappy clone machines, then swearing up and down that they are real, even when proven wrong by factory experts. He was lying about his progress on this machine, which is nothing more than a bad piece of fiberglass that he never paid for! Get your head out of your ass! And what do you mean it as "more than just money behind it"? This one was researched, and done as close as anyone will ever get to the original which completely burned and there was nothing left. This one looks great, and the same family has taken the time, resources, and care to insure all the boss cats were researched, rebuilt, restored and then shared with the world. It takes one idiot to make lame comments like that on the internet and they will go into permanent storage where no one will ever see them. If they did restore one of the Boss Cat's to your specifications, get over it. They have the real machines and they have the approval of everyone from Arctic Cat that has seen them!

  11. Dominic Avatar

    I saw Boss Cat One blow up. I used to have a piece of it lying around for years.

  12. RICK MEINE Avatar

  13. jeff Avatar

    i also saw it blow up not more than 75 yds away i was standing with the artic cat team they ate in my dads diner and iwas the kid that got ride to the track with and hang out with them it was allot of fun it was tragedy of what happened to the machine and the driver but still my favorite was boss cat II had to love it being a chey fan!

  14. Dean-o Avatar

    The boss cat 1 didn't totally burn up…I was there when it happened and it was rebuildable. I was 14.

  15. Dean-o Avatar

    Wish I could find it. Someone knows where it is. Maybe the guy out in horse heads.