The bodies may have been '80s vintage, but they handled as though they were just out of the shop.
Wauconda's Cook Memorial Park was the site of the 6th annual Vintage Snowmobile Ride & Show, held by the Northeastern Illinois Association of Snowmobile Clubs.
The president of the association, John Lindberg of Wauconda, said at least 20 sleds registered for the event. The roster represented a good mix of snowmobiles from the 1970s and 1980s, some from manufacturers no longer in business.
The weather, 15 degrees and sunny, pleased the participants. Prior to taking the snowmobiles out on Bangs Lake, you could hear the grinding of their engines and see them plowing through the snow, leaving graceful trails in their wake.
Children also had fun, engaging in snowball fights on mounds of plowed snow in the parking lot.
Jon Bertolino of Hampshire, who said there are a lot of snowmobile clubs in his area, was a first-timer at the event, although he's attended others like it throughout the country. Accompanied by his soon-to-be stepson, Adam Nemunaitis, 12, he brought vintage Yamahas from 1984, 1980 and 1993.
The difference between vintage and modern snowmobiles can be seen in the ergonomics, the suspension and reliability, as well as better mileage. But one thing the new vehicles don't have are the memories.
He said he is interested by "the excitement that the people have, getting new people like Adam involved and just the fun and camaraderie of being around a lot of people with similar interests."
For Lindberg, the fun part is riding on the trails, going through the woods and catching the scenery.
"Today's (snowmobiles) are so smooth. Like Cadillacs," he said. "The old ones are just really bumpy. No suspension."
Peter Barker from Barrington brought two Yamaha Exciters with him, late 1980s vintage, including one he brought back from the dead. The snowmobile, formerly owned by a friend, had been damaged after falling into a river.
"I put in a new engine, did all the work to fix it up, and it's a beautiful machine," Barker said.