Back in 1980, a friend’s big brother purchased a brand new Kawasaki Invader LTD 440. He kept this machine in a heated, well-lit shop and it was always shined to perfection. We were in complete awe of this sled and looked up to this guy like he was dating Cheryl Tiegs or something. To us, the Invader LTD was possibly the most attractive machine ever built. It seemed especially exotic as there were very few Kawasaki’s in our part of the world.
Kawasaki was itching to get into the snowmobile business in the mid-1970s and found their opportunity by scooping up the troubled assets of Quebec’s Sno-Jet (1964-1976). For the first model-year (1977), the machines were actually called Kawasaki-Sno-Jet. Although designed by Kawasaki (and headquartered in Nebraska), actual production was handled by Arctic Cat in Minnesota. Kawasaki’s foray into snowmobiles was relatively short-lived as they abandoned this division in 1982. As Arctic Cat declared bankruptcy in 1982, one is to assume that losing their production arrangement was the final straw for Kawasaki to discontinue what was apparently a money-losing operation. But Kawasaki did make a splash in the industry and their snowmobiles still have a cult following to this day.
Specifications For The 1980 Kawasaki Invader LTD 440
- Engine: Kawasaki TC440C, liquid-cooled, two-stroke, twin-cylinder, two spark plugs per cylinder
- Displacement: 436cc
- Bore X Stroke 68mm X 60mm
- Carburetor: twin 36mm Mikuni VM36
- Ignition: CDI
- Horsepower: 78
- Top speed: 95-plus mph
- Fuel Capacity: 8 US gallons
- Injector Oil Capacity: 2.5 US quarts
- Weight (dry): 440 lbs.
- Overall Length: 103″
- Overall Width: 40.5″
- Overall Height: 35.5″ (with windshield)
- Ski Stance: 31″
- Suspension Type: Adjustable slide rail
- Ski Suspension Type: Monoleaf with shocks
- Track Length: 121″
- Track Width: 15″
- Brake Type: Caliper disc
- Instrumentation: Speedometer, tachometer, temperature gauges
- Headlight: Pop-up quartz
- Price: $3499 US
Remember this Kawasaki Invader commercial from the late 70s?
Here is a Kawasaki snowmobile promotional video for the 1980 season.