Vintage Snowmobile Ad Tuesday: 1978 Arctic Cat El Tigre

The El Tigré was already a cool sled, but when Arctic Cat added a liquid-cooled version for 1978, well, it’s hard to even describe how cool it was. The El Tigré 6000 was arguably the fastest snowmobile of the era, it handled well and it was so-oo-oo good looking. It was the sled you lied in bed at night and dreamed about.

“The El Tigré is truly a quality, top-of-the-line snowmobile that does everything in at least as good a fashion as it’s ever been done before and in most areas of major criteria even better,” said the editors in the October, 1977, issue of Snow Goer magazine.

In a shootout conducted in the Cable, Wisconsin, area the previous spring, the El Tigré smoked the competition in every possible way – acceleration testing, handling, comfort. “From an overall standpoint, this El Tigré has to be one of the finest snowmobiles that I’ve ever been on,” one test rider said. “This is one of the best, if not the best, machine I’ve ever ridden,” another said.

The liquid-cooled 6000 featured a 440-class Spirit engine from Suzuki that created 70 horsepower at 8000 rpm, while the free air Series 5000 was bumped up to 60 horse for 1978, up from 55 the previous year. Beyond horsepower, the El Tigré grew in several different ways for ’78 – its ski stance was punched out to 32 inches (it was 29) and overall the sled got 6 inches longer and 5 inches wider than the ’77 models. Suspension travel reached 4.5 inches on the new El Tigré compared to just 2.5 inches on the old unit. Despite an aluminum chassis, it also gained a lot of weight, thanks in large part to the radiator and heat exchangers.

However, it carried its weight well. “Its ease of steering is such that you would swear you’re riding a sled that’s 200 pounds lighter,” the Snow Goer test team wrote.

Click here for a full Timeline story on the 1981 El Tigre that appeared in Snow Goer about five years ago.

Now, back to the ad – this is Vintage Snowmobile Ad Tuesday, afterall!

The dramatic image of the two El Tigré  flying side-by-side was an immediate eye catcher on the right side of the spread ad. Personally, I would have opted for “Flying Tigrés” instead of “Flying Tigers” for the headline, but it works either way. The storyboard on the left side of the spread tells a fun little story, with typical Arctic Cat swagger.

Overall, it was a beautiful ad, and one well worthy of this week’s feature. Even though it was a spread, we scanned it in as two pages so you could see each in its full glory. To see each page more clearly, simply click on the each photo below and it will blow up to a larger size on your screen. To subscribe to Snow Goer magazine, click here. And to see our past Vintage Snowmobile Ad Tuesday sleds, click here.
















4 thoughts on “Vintage Snowmobile Ad Tuesday: 1978 Arctic Cat El Tigre

  • Avatar for Dave Wells

    As a snowmobiler all my adult life, and with many years as an advertising professional under my belt, all I can say is that this is one of the best snowmobile ads ever. With a catchy and most memorable headline that directly addresses the product, excellent photography, and copy that real riders can relate to, this ad is a winner all the way.

  • Avatar for Allen

    Found ur website while doing research on my sled I have a 1983 arctic cat el tigre 6000 with an arctic cat spirit 500 engine wonder if you’d have any info on it or have any idea what its worth?

    • Avatar for Wade Wacker

      1983 Arctic Cat?? I thought Arctic enterprise was “ Gone Fishing” for the 1982-1983 season. You must have a very rare 1983 Arctic Cat🤔

  • Avatar for That Old Guy

    Yea it’s a common mistake. The build date on the 1984 models was summer 1983. Some DMV places insist on using build dates for model year. It’s hard to beat city hall. They only made two sleds that season the 440 Panther and the 500 lc Tigre. I’m
    Going to guess a couple thousand of each. Not many. Tigre that year is highly collectible.


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