One of the Committee members of the Midwest Ride-In hosted a special guest in his memorabilia-laced basement snowmobile man-cave. The special guest was an old guy — Matt Riesgraff, President of Normatt Products Inc. from 1968 – 1974.
Normatt designed& manufactured plastic snowmobile toys – almost exclusively snowmobiles. Uniquely, he got the manufacturers to “sponsor” (read: finance the R&D) on his models, and they were reasonable replicas. Today, they are coveted and expensive.
First up, Polaris. Their initial order was for 30,000 units to be sold to snowmobile dealers as a promotional item. The first model was the 1969 Polaris Mustang replica toy.
Matt Riesgraf then sold the toy promotion to Arctic Cat in 1970 – with their iconic Panther. Not far behind. Ski Doo joined the frey in 1971 with their TNT toy.
In 1972 Normatt added the design and production of toy snowmobiles for John Deere. Normatt gained the exclusive license to produce the John Deere replica toys. Over 100,000 John Deere toys were sold.
Also in 1972, Yamaha joined with a replica of their GP433 model. Rupp was also sold and their Rupp Nitro replica was delivered.
In a lone departure, Normatt expanded its toy line beyond snowmobiles to produce the replica of the Winnebago Chieftain Motor Home in 1972. Over 37,000 units were delivered. Normatt did sell locally to Ace Hardware, Sears, Dayton’s, and continued to sell to snowmobile dealers on a regional level through the mid-1970s.
Wow — a total of 459,700 toys were sold. So why are they so expensive now? Because most were worn out by kids and eventually thrown away. Coveted, these days, are pristine originals —- in the box
Check out the Normatt history website, including yearly production numbers: