1981 Kawasakis: Celebrating Nebraska Sleds

1981 Kawasaki snowmobile brochure
1981 Kawasaki snowmobile brochure

This week, the attention of grassroots organizers of the great sport of snowmobiling will be turned on the state of Nebraska, which will host the 53rd annual International Snowmobile Congress. This event is vital to snowmobiling – it pulls together grassroots organizers from far and wide to exchange ideas to protect, improve and grow our sport.

While getting ready for the drive to Omaha ourselves, we started thinking about Nebraska’s role in snowmobiling’s history.

Specifically, our thoughts drifted (pun intended) to the Kawasaki sleds that were produced in Lincoln, Nebraska – an hour up the road from Omaha, which will host the Snowmobile Congress this year. We thought it might be interesting to swing by the Kawi factory while in the general neighborhood so we did a little research and were SHOCKED to see that the “History” page for the Kawasaki Lincoln plant website never even mentions the word “snowmobile.” There’s information about the first motorcycles and ATVs they build there, and details on Jet Ski benchmarks, but nothing about the Invaders, Intruders, Drifters, etc. that caught our attention in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

So, we did the next best thing and dug into the Snow Goer file cabinets to unearth a 1981 Kawasaki Press Kit. Inside the folder, it explains, “Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Kawasaki Snowmobile Division includes marketing, service, product distribution control and management offices. New product research and development takes place in Shakopee, Minnesota, where Kawasaki maintains a multi-million dollar testing facility. Snowmobile manufacturing is maintained by the Company’s Lincoln, Nebraska, manufacturing and assembly plant.”

To help celebrate Nebraska snowmobiling with us, enjoy the following pages from the 1981 Kawasaki brochure, and then tell us in the comments box about your favorite memories with Kawasaki snowmobiles.

1981 Kawasaki LTD
1981 Kawasaki LTD
1981 Kawasaki Invader snowmobile
1981 Kawasaki Invader
1981 Kawasaki Intruder 440 snowmobile
1981 Kawasaki Intruder 440
1981 Kawasaki Drifter snowmobile
1981 Kawasaki Drifter

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4 thoughts on “1981 Kawasakis: Celebrating Nebraska Sleds

  • Avatar for Patrick Paul-Hus

    Kawasaki bought Sno-Jet and put this popular brand name under the carpet. For me it was a big mistake and this makes Kawasaki lost a lot of good clients to stay for a long time in the business. Guess what, Kawasaki give-up after some years !!

  • Avatar for Michele Zinke

    I am looking for 1981 kawasaki invader 440 snowmobile for sale that runs, I do not expect mint condition. Also looking for 1982/3 john deere liquifier 440 snowmobile for sale should also run or be priced accorddingly . Iam a fan of these older sleds mainly because I could not afford them when I was younger . All sales would be straight cash.

    • Avatar for Leonard Eakin

      Are you still looking for an older Kawasaki? I have a 1981 Intruder 440 for sale. Runs and drives well. Located in Custer, SD.

  • Avatar for That Old Guy

    Kawasaki lost millions in the sled market. They never got the return on their investment even though they made a good sled. Some claim they never turned a profit on the sled division for any model year. It’s a raw deal they got. They sure tried hard. I think it’s the bad timing cause they came out when the market was shrinking faster than a load of wet cotton shirts in a hot dryer. So probably that failure still stings after all these years.


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