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 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