Kart Graveyard – Death of an Industry

While wandering around a small town in Southern Arizona my wife and I came across this kart display which I dubbed “Kart Graveyard”

Some of these cars in the pictures above had complete brake systems and somewhat refined steering.

Finding this graveyard got me thinking about the manufacturers of these cool play things and I ran across this website and shared it here.

http://www.e-kmi.com/ArchivesPost2005/ft/THE SLOW DEATH OF AN INDUSTRY Opinion by Darrell Sitarz.htm

THE SLOW DEATH OF AN INDUSTRY Opinion by Darrell Sitarz

In the 1990s, the American fun kart industry was churning out nearly 200,000 units annually by nearly 3 dozen manufacturers. Today, there are only a handful of fun kart makers still remaining.

So, what has caused the downfall of what was one of the largest portions of the go-kart industry? Some cite the high cost of liability insurance, some say it’s the imported karts or the ATVs while others think it’s because of cost of mandated safety features which added to the overall cost. It may be one or two, or it may be all of the above; so let’s look at it item by item.

In the mid-1990s, the US Consumer Products Safety Commission targeted the fun kart industry and asked it to look into setting manufacturing guidelines and to increase and standardize safety features. With those as goals, the American Fun Kart Association (AFKA) was formed by the manufacturers and suppliers and standards were subsequently set. The AFKA was commended by the CPSC on their ability to take on the problem and do what was necessary to help insure public safety. The solution to the safety problem however led to another, that of increasing the cost of manufacturing a kart, the cost of which was, of course, passed onto the consumer. At that time, a few manufacturers decided to cease production feeling they could not compete in the marketplace due to the increased manufacturing costs.

With costs rising, some manufacturers went overseas with an eye to reduce costs by importing karts.

“The problem was that the overseas manufacturer would make three vehicles. One was for their customer in the states and two for them to bring over here and sell under a different brand name,” an industry source said. “This would give them a foot hold in the US with a proven design that had historically sold. They could sell it cheaper because it came with their own engine that looks very much like a proven US motor and they don’t pay product liability insurance.”

So in essence, the manufacturers that went overseas were now competing with themselves. The results: more manufacturers went down the tubes.

And here’s a strange twist of fate. Back in the late 1980s three-wheel ATVs were banned because of safety concerns in the US. Suddenly wham!, the fun kart industry began it’s upsurge in sales again topping out at nearly 200,000 units annually. So now what’s happened? The resurgence of the “new” ATV, a four wheeled version with more features and major off-road capabilities has also had a hand in the downfall of the fun kart industry. In 2004 for example, 817,000 ATVs were sold which is 4 times the amount of go karts in the industry’s best year.

The slow death in the industry was caused by several factors, the main one may have been the tremendous cost of product liability insurance. It got to the point that most of the kart makers could not afford it.

“The manufacturers were not supported by the insurance companies that would accept premiums and not fight the cases but would make settlements and in turn would raise the rates for all kart manufacturers,” a reliable industry source told e-KMI. “Lawyers would represent the karts owners because they knew there would be a settlement and they would get paid. Getting hurt today is like winning the lotto but even better because it is tax free! People don’t have to accept responsibility for their actions because there are lawyers that will represent you know matter how stupid your action was because “we will get you something”.”

One or a combination of all of the above have taken their toll with the fun kart industry. But whatever the case may be, the industry appears to be in serious difficulty and is looking for answers, if there are any?

The following is a partial list of US fun kart manufacturers which have gone out of business or have ceased fun kart production since 1990.

Action Fun Karts
Brister’s Design and Manufacturing*
Brister’s Thunder Karts
Clark Karts
Chief Karts
Fun Karts LA
Hamilton Brothers
Hang 10
Karts International
K-C Manufacturing C., Inc.
Klipper (not producing fun karts but still making promotional go-karts)
Midwestern Industries (acquired by T & D and now producing promo karts)
Minati (Brave Industries)
Moto Machine
Performance Industries
Polaris (never made karts but had Brister make karts to test the market)
Scat Fun
Tiger Industries
USA Industries

* Ceased fun kart production in 2005

Current US Fun Kart Manufacturers:

Carter Brothers


Thanks for reading.


antique kartsantique karts


Mini Car Show – TMC

It always cool to stumble upon a car show regardless of size.

TMC (Tucson Medical Center) opened up a new office just down the road.  My wife is a commercial interior designer and does a lot of work through her company for at the TMC facilities.

We were aware of the Grand Opening for this new building but we weren’t there’d be a car show.  Here a few of the cars that showed.

You just could walk past this 1959 GMC 100 Pickup.  So nicely restored.


Love the steel painted rims!!!

Lots of Chrome on that front end!!

Still being powered by the straight six! The golf club hood prop is a custom touch!

Sparse interior but 100% effective.

Here is a great looking 1962 Ford pickup  – still sporting its original V8.

Are you kidding me?  Look at this beautiful 66 Malibu!!!


327 Engine (245hp) with Factory Air!!!

Back end jacked up just right!!

There is a lot of tire on that back axle!

That’s all original interior folks!!!


Here are a few more Chevy’s

Beautiful Super Sport w/vinyl top

Wow…is that a BLOWER on top of that power plant?

And another BLOWER!!

56 Chevy Sporting a huge radiator

1980 El Camino – In great shape.

Beautiful Impala…OH…YES..that a Corvette LS3 engine!!!

If you are going to have only one Mopar show up, you want it to be the GTX!!  Take a look:


Plymouth Belvedere GTX.

Yes that is a 426 Hemi….going to find two carbs under that air cleaner.

Clean and original interior.

Here a few more of the cars that showed up.

Thanks to my wonderful wife who didn’t mind an interruption in our errands to spend a few minutes at this show.

Coming up more on #ProjectSportsRoof and #ProjectBeepBeep and keep an eye out for our first Facebook Live event.

Thanks for reading.



Studebaker Avanti Coupe – In the Paint Booth

Ok…so it’s not a full-size Studebaker Avanti, but it was affordable.    This is a 1960’s model kit which I picked up on the Internet.

This was partially complete.

This was partly complete.

This is a motorized model, which is unique.  It was a complete kit and was partly assembled  when I purchased it.


The bottom half of the car (rocker panels, etc.) was glued on and the electric motor was installed by a previous owner.

IMG_20150619_184926352 IMG_20150619_184933588_HDR

A little motorized action – just add a fresh AA battery.


I decided to paint the body and top first before continuing with the build.  These are being sprayed painted.

IMG_20150627_191737983 IMG_20150627_191750557_HDR
IMG_20150627_191803240 IMG_20150627_191818097

I masked off the chrome (way harder than on a full size car) and any excess paint will come of with an exacto knife.   I masked off the interior opening as that will get hand painted.

After looking at the second coat, I can see there’s going to be the need for a bit more sanding and  another coat of paint applied.

More to come this model project.

Thanks for reading.


We Want These Mad Max: Fury Road Model Cars So Badly – Photo Gallery

I’ve said it before; the Doof Wagon does it for me; I’m a music maniac, and I am a sucker for the repurposed 8 x 8 MAN Missile-Carrier packing heavy Watts cabinets. As if that wasn’t pure madness already, they also had a musician from Hell playing a
‘Dukes of Hazzard’ model cars shut down due to Confederate flag

As the debate over the Charlestown shooter spirals into a tangent on displaying the Confederate flag, private companies are beginning to stop selling it. A few days ago, Walmart and other retailers announced they would stop selling Confederate flags.

Ferrari LaFerrari | BleuCartel

963 horsepower from a combined combustion/electric engine?!!!  Yes!!

Farrari Combo Combustion-Electric

Farrari Combo Combustion-Electric

It has been long-awaited for the day we see the successor to the mighty Enzo supercar. After its debut this morning at the 2013 Geneva auto show, the automotive world is in uproar over the new Ferrari icon, LaFerrari. Producing a combined 963 horsepower through a 800 horsepower combustion engine and a 163 horsepower electric motor, the new LaFerrari is the most powerful and efficient Ferrari built to-date. 0-62 in under 3 seconds and achieving 205 mph top speed. Body & chassis structure is similar to the multi-material used to in the Scuderia F1 racecar. Like its predecessors, LaFerrari will be a limited production vehicle. Though just 499 copies will be made, that’s much more than the Enzo 24 copies. Price has yet to be announced, but expect it to be north of the $1 million dollar mark.

Enjoy the video.  I DID!!!

via Ferrari LaFerrari | BleuCartel.

Thanks for reading.



Model Cars, or How I Spent My Winter.

I happen to live where the weather is nice nearly year round.  You could almost always work on your car.  But even here in Southern Arizona, we get a cold spells….HEY…36 degree (morning temperature) is cold!!!!

Ok…enough whining. There are many of you that live a bit North of here and driveing much less working on your project car  is more like Man vs. Wild in the Antarctic – I know I’ve lived in Nebraska and up-state (way up) New York.

So one cool way to spend the winter it collecting model cars (actually you can do that any time).  I wrote a piece about 3 years ago (Yikes I’ve been writing this blog for that long!!!) about collecting model cars.  Here  a link:  When You Just have to have that Classic/Muscle Car?…Think Small!!!!        http://wp.me/p2YxYx-1rV

As you can see (compared to 3 years ago) my collection has grown a bit.

The Mustangs

The Mustangs

The Vettes

The Vettes

Few others

Few others

More of the collection.

More of the collection.

These are only a few that I have room to display. Of course these were all purchased and unless you are big in to dusting, this isn’t really going to help those winter months speed by.

But building your own can be rewarding.  Here are a couple I have on deck for building.

This is a 1963 model kit of a Stutz Bearcat and a Model T

This is a 1963 model kit of a Stutz Bearcat and a Model T

IMAG1725 IMAG1726 IMAG1727 IMAG1728

The Stutz model pieces are not there, but yes I’m gong to but the Model T together.

After that I have this one coming up:

1930 Packard.  This is a 1960's model - the original box is long gone

1930 Packard. This is a 1960’s model – the original box is long gone

IMAG1731 What am I working on now?

How about an Edsel?  Yup love those cars.

Here’s the body in the first stage of painting:

Edsel in paint

Edsel in paint

This is an experiment.  It’s the first model car I’ve painted by spraying on the paint.  This is the first coat and it will be sanded and re-sprayed.    I want this two toned with the rear quarter panel inserts will be black or white.  So I experimented with some liquid masking that my wife uses when she is doing her rendering.


Art Masking Liquid

Art Masking Liquid

This actually worked very well.  After it’s applied it rubberizes  and protects the area from paint spray.  It comes right off when you are done.  I used a pencil eraser (exactly what my wife uses on her hand rendered drawings and I used a tooth pick to get around the lettering.

So spend you winter building a classic, or a hot rod, or a muscle car!

Thanks for reading.





Auto Factoids for Week of Aug 12, 2012

Back by popular demand (Ok, not really, I just like doing them.)

But I’m going to add a  give-away on the end of each one.

On Aug 14 in 1877, Nicholas Otto gets a patented for his 4 cycle combustion engine.

From the ZweiRad Museum Otto’s 4 cycle engine.

On the same day Paris, France creates the first every license plate in 1893.  Or was it?  Sources agree that it in fact Paris, France but the date isn’t clear as some sources say it was Leon Serpollet of Paris, France, who obtained the first license plate in 1889.

License plates were first required in the United States by New York State in 1901.

There ya go.

A sad note on the very next day (Aug 15) in 1956 an early car manufacture ceased production.  Packard closed its doors.

It was a Packard Caribbean

In 1984 on Aug 16, John DeLorean was acquitted of cocaine charges stemming from an alleged deal to help raise funds for the car company. He worked at Chrysler, Packard, GM (responsible for the GTO) and then his company producing the now famous Delorean DMC-12.

Back to the Future.The company still exist – original parts were purchased and now lives in Humble, Tx. Find them here on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/deloreanmotorcompany

Finally, in 1905 on Aug 18, Cadillac got it’s crest trademarked.

Caddy Crest Chart from http://www.cartype.com/pages/1051/cadillac


Add a relevant comment to this Auto Factoid and you be entered in the monthly Auto Factoid Give Away.

This month:

1/32 scale 1969 Dodge Coronet Super Bee (new in the box)

1/32 Scale 69 Super Bee.

Thanks for reading.


Model Car 1965 Ford Thunderbird

If I were able to collect any number of cars, I’d need 3 football fields just to park them side by side and end to end (length and width).  Since I don’t have that kind of acreage, I collect a few die-casts, mainly from the Danbury Mint and 1/8 or 1/24 scale.

Here are a few pics of my 1965 T-Bird:

1965 T-Bird


Love the white walls and red stripe tires.


Tails lights are great.


The detail is pretty good.  In the first image you can see all the trunk hardware.

I’m not a photographer and got some tips from my son.

Drop a note if you have a die-cast collection.

Thanks for reading.


Bloomington Gold moves again | Hemmings Blog: Classic and collectible cars and parts

All Corvette Show

Bloomington Gold moves again | Hemmings Blog: Classic and collectible cars and parts.

The world’s most significant all-Corvette show is moving back to central Illinois. After nearly a decade of being held at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Bloomington Gold will be moving about 115 miles south to the town of Champaign for 2013, near where it first began nearly four decades ago.

According to Bloomington Gold CEO, David Burroughs, “Although it will be hard to beat the beautiful fairways of Pheasant Run, input from Corvette-owning customers wanted more opportunity for socializing and driving events as part of the entire Corvette show experience. It needed to become more dynamic.”

David went on to say: “Our customers own Corvettes because they are fun to drive. So, we needed a venue that not only served our exhibitors and customers who buy/sell and certify Corvettes, but also a venue that makes it easy and fun to navigate to/from and around the community before, during, and after the show. Therefore, we needed a small-town atmosphere with big-town hotels, great facilities, and quick escape routes to miles of country roads. Champaign, Illinois, has the smaller-town atmosphere, and the University of Illinois Assembly Hall grounds have everything else.”

So mark your calendar for June 27-30, 2013. Not only will this be the first year for the new venue, but it will also be the show’s 40th anniversary. And if you’ve ever attended one of the Bloomington Gold shows, you’ll know that there’s something very special planned that every Corvette enthusiast will not want to miss. In the meantime, the 2012 edition of Bloomington Gold will remain in St. Charles and take place June 21-24. For more information, visit BloomingtonGold.com.

COPO IS BACK!! The Camaro As it was Meant to Be!!

I just recently picked up a copy of GMs new Performance catalog and all I can say is WOW!!  But we’ll dive into that in a future post.

Gracing the cover was the latest and greatest COPO Camaro.  You remember those special order packages.  Well they have brought it back and factory racing just jumped up and shouted “LET DO IT!!!!”
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COPO IS BACK!!, posted with vodpod