Looking through the remaining parts inventory, molds and half-finished prototypes, Bob Hueppchen of Plymouth, Wisconsin, can see where the Redline snowmobile company went astray before its bankruptcy in 2004.
He’s noticed an imbalance of parts that likely put production off schedule — there are a lot of gearboxes, but very few hoods and rear suspension parts. There’s the pipe that had a tendency to melt close to the gas lines, and an engine that was at least 20 hp underpowered.
“They needed to work the bugs out of the machine,” he said. “If they had another year and some extra money, they maybe could have done it.”
Hueppchen doesn’t just have a passing interest in Redline snowmobile: he is Redline snowmobiles. He purchased the entire snowmobile inventory from Redline Holdings in April. An assortment of gear boxes, frames, molds and miscellaneous parts are now in his pole barn.
He and his son, Joshua, inventoried the stock over the summer and plan to sell parts to Redline owners. The company delivered 50 units, and they’ve since become somewhat of a collector’s item. So far, he’s shipped parts as far as Norway, but also to more local areas.
“They’re holding their value pretty well,” he said of the available sleds. “There are a few at dealerships still in the crates at the $8,500 to $9,000 mark. I don’t see the price dropping on them a whole lot.”
He has his own plans for some of the partially built prototypes he acquired, which includes a 1300cc triple machine. He figures he can build about 10 more machines and use them for display. He and his son also have a more personal goal.
“I’d like to build some sleds that look like the Sled Storm machines,” he said. “My son and I were kidding last winter that it would be cool to build one, and then I was contacted [by Redline Holdings] in March. That would be a long-term goal for ourselves.”
Hueppchen can settle one question for good: barring major monetary windfall, the Redline snowmobile will not make a revival.
“I wish I could [bring it back],” he said. “I’m a single parent. I have two kids. I don’t have the money to do it.”