Trading chicanes for slaloms.
In 1971, the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) announced a ‘request for proposal’ from Husqvarna and Hägglund. Both companies previously supplied motorcycles to the Swedish military, but the new brief called for an off-road model that could handle Sweden’s often snow-covered terrain. Hägglund won the military contract with an innovative removable ski design.
When deployed users placed their feet on two platforms just over the skis. Mounted on a pivot, the skis retracted or extended in a similar fashion to suspension. There was one hitch, though. Hägglund didn’t have the facilities to manufacture the 3,000 commissioned motorcycles quickly enough, so SAF ordered them to work with Husqvarna on the project.
Gallery: 1982 Husqvarna Model 258 Military
While Hägglund won the contest, the design needed to undergo considerable changes to fit Husqvarna’s current manufacturing processes. Husky engineers augmented the blueprints to suit the brand’s existing catalog. Thus, the Husqvarna Model 258 Military was born. Despite that parts bin approach, the 258 didn’t start delivering until 1980, nine years after the initial proposals.
In the field, however, the 258 met all requirements. It was powered by an air-cooled, 250cc, two-stroke, single-cylinder engine mated to an automatic transmission. As part of the brief, SAF ordered automatic gearboxes due to new recruits struggling to shift gears while traversing difficult terrain. By equipping a centrifugal clutch, the 258 reduced crashes and clutch burnouts without sacrificing performance.
Speaking of performance, drum brakes at both ends brought the snow sled to a halt and long-travel dual shocks soak up ruts and rocks covered by fresh powder. A high-mounted exhaust kept the pipe away from flying debris and the large rear sprocket provided all the off-road toque anyone could need.
The owners of this 1982 Husqvarna 258 hardly exploited those abilities though, as the odometer only reports 47 miles. The unit isn’t only in impeccable cosmetic condition but still wears the original army tires as well. Mecum Auctions will host this 258 Military at its Las Vegas auction from March 28, 2021, through April 1, 2021. Whether it snows in your region or not, the Husqvarna Model 258 Military would be a unique addition to any motorcycle collection.