Continuing our celebration of 50 years of publishing Race & Rally/SnowTech Magazine, here is one for the collectors out there. Which copy of Race & Rally/SnowTech Magazine is the rarest of all?
Most would answer the very first issue, the 1968 Yearbook, or maybe the 1969 Yearbook, but neither one is correct. The rarest issue of Race & Rally happens to be the November/December 1974 issue with an oval racing photo of Yamaha legend Lynn Trapp on the cover. This issue was in extreme high demand at the time of printing, and over the years we depleted our stock of back issues lower than any other issue. To our knowledge there are less than 10 copies of this exact issue still remaining, as we only have three of them in our possession. One we look at, the other two are sealed “mint” copies.
Another issue that is almost as scarce would be the November/December 1979 Race & Rally, as there are also less than 10 copies of this magazine known to exist. This one shows a 1980 Ski-Doo Blizzard 9500 flying through the air, but that’s not what makes it so rare – this issue featured the 1980 Sno Pro sleds and was a special “Racetime Edition”. Also featured was Yamaha’s first TSS front suspension on their all-new SR-V 540 for 1980. Perhaps even bigger news was the 1980 Polaris TX-L Indy, truly one of the most revolutionary production snowmobiles to ever be offered as it combined Sno Pro racing’s most successful independent front suspension with the famous 333cc SuperStar Fuji liquid-cooled engine for an incredibly smooth machine.
Here’s one more – which magazine was published by Race & Rally but was not called Race & Rally? That would be another rare issue, the 1977-78 Sno Pro Magazine. Printed as the “Official Race Program” and collector’s edition for the Sno Pro race series held that winter, Race & Rally published this separate magazine that focused on the race sleds, the drivers and all of the sponsors of the big time Sno Pro series. Inside were color features and advertisements of each of the factory and many of the independent race teams, providing us with a glimpse into one of the most epic times in snowmobile race history.
If you happen to have a copy of this 1977-78 Sno Pro Magazine, it is also quite rare. We have very few of them left here in our archives, and about the only one we have shipped out in the past twenty years went to our Vintage Editor Hal Armstrong at SnowTech Canada for his personal reference library for researching vintage racing. He asked for a copy of this special edition many times, and it wasn’t until we discovered a couple of extra copies stored away with some other back issues of the time that we let one get away from us.
Which leads us to the next tidbit of trivia; which copy of Race & Rally does not exist and was never printed? That would be the Winter 1983-84 issue, it was never published. Times were extremely tough for the snowmobile industry in that period and there simply was not enough advertising revenue dedicated to that issue, so the decision was made to skip the printing of that specific issue. This drives the vintage collectors nuts as they try to locate a copy of the Winter 1983-84 issue, but it simply does not exist. Never did. Now that’s rare!