John Deere designed & built snowmobiles from 1972-1984. The initial design & testing phase came in 1970-1971, when engineers tested other popular snowmobiles, and found ways to improve them. The machines were produced by the John Deere Horicon Works of Horicon, Wisconsin along with Lawn & Garden products. Lawn & Garden equipment is still manufactured there.
The slogan "Nothing Runs Like a Deere", still used today by Deere & Co., started with the John Deere snowmobile line in 1972. From 1978 to 1980, JD used the slogan "Big John - Little John." In 1980, another new slogan was introduced: "Ride the new breed of Deere".
In 1982-1984, the snowmobile market was in a downward slide, and the driving force behind the snowmobile program (Executive VP Robert Carlson) had left the company. This made ending the snowmobile program an easy decision for Deere. The parts supply and all snowmobile-related resources were sold to Polaris. There was an understanding that Polaris would continue where Deere left off, selling snowmobiles and parts to the Deere dealers that were interested. This never worked out.
The Snowfire was the last production snowmobile on the market to have a free-air engine, and the last snowmobile in production for John Deere.
Enduro Team Deere
In 1974, a factory sponsored cross-country race team was assembled to go along with the introduction of the 295/S, Deere's first purpose-built snowmobile for cross-country racing. The team would eventually be known as "Enduro Team Deere". The team had many wins, the most notable being the 1976 Minneapolis - St. Paul International 500. Brian Nelson brought home the trophy on his Liquidator. His sled is currently on display at the Snowmobile Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Germain, Wisconsin. 1977 was the last year for the factory program. Instead, Deere offered support and incentives for independent racers.
A total of twenty-one models were produced:
|300||1974–1977||Kohler K295-2AX (Walbro)|
|400||1972–1977||CCW KEC-340/4, /5, KEC-340/22 (Walbro, Bendix)|
|500||1972–1974||CCW KEC-440/4, /5 (Walbro, Bendix)|
|600||1973–1975||CCW KEC-440/4, /5 (Walbro, Bendix)|
|800||1975||CCW KEC-440/22 (Walbro)|
|JDX4||1973–1975||Kohler K295-2AX (Walbro)
CCW KEC-340/22A (Walbro)
|JDX4 Special||1974||CCW KEC-340/5 (Bendix)|
|JDX6||1974–1975||CCW KEC-400/22 (Walbro)|
|JDX8||1973–1975||CCW KEC-440/21 (Walbro)
|JD295/S||1974||Kioritz KEC-295RS/2 (Mikuni,2)|
|JD340/S||1975||Kiroitz KEC-340RS/2 (Mikuni, 2)|
|340 Cyclone||1976–1978||Kioritz 340/22A, 240/22B (Mikuni)|
|440 Cyclone||1976–1978||Kioritz 340/22A, 240/22B (Mikuni)|
|340 Liquidator||1976||Kioritz KEC-340rs/24LC (Mikuni, 2)|
|340 Liquifire||1976–1978||Kioritz 340/23LC (Mikuni, 2)|
|440 Liquifire||1976–1978||Kioritz 440/23LC, 440/23ALC (Mikuni, 2)|
|340 Cross Country||1978||Kioritz 340/23LC (Mikuni, 2)|
|Liquifire||1980–1984||John Deere/Kawasaki TC440A (Mikuni, 2)|
|Snowfire||1982–1984||John Deere/Kawasaki TB340A (Mikuni)|
|Spitfire||1978–1982||Kohler K340-2FA (Mikuni)
John Deere/Kawasaki TB340A (Mikuni)
|Sprintfire||1983–1984||John Deere/Kawasaki TC340E (Mikuni)|
|Sportfire||1980–1984||John Deere/Kawasaki TA440B (Mikuni)|
|Trailfire||1979–1984||John Deere/Kawasaki TA340A, TA440A (Mikuni)|
- Kioritz made engines for CCW, so they are the same.
- Kawasaki produced the John Deere-designed Fireburst engines.
- Comet first started making snowmobile clutches for John Deere. The 94C Duster clutch and the 102C clutch were developed exclusively for John Deere.
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