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.

COSTS
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.

IMPORTED KARTS
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.

ATVs
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.

PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCE
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
Avenger
Bird
BKS
Brister’s Design and Manufacturing*
Brister’s Thunder Karts
Clark Karts
Chief Karts
FKL
Fun Karts LA
Hamilton Brothers
Hang 10
Hoffco
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)
Murray*
Moto Machine
Performance Industries
Polaris (never made karts but had Brister make karts to test the market)
Robron
Simplex
Scat Fun
Tiger Industries
Trampolking
USA Industries
Yerf-Dog*

* Ceased fun kart production in 2005

Current US Fun Kart Manufacturers:

Carter Brothers
KartCo
Ken-Bar
Manco

 

Thanks for reading.

Tim

antique kartsantique karts

 

Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction – Scottsdale, AZ 2017 Videos 2 & 3

Here are a couple more videos. Quality is not great in spots but it was the live feed through Facebook.

These videos take place at the entrance.  I imagine that Ford pays good money to have their offering right up front.  In these you’ll see the new Mustang and the Focus RS….both nice looking cars.

In this video you’ll also see the Eco-Boost Ford GT race car and the GT 350!!

There are more videos coming up including a discussion with one of the sellers as his car heads to the stage, a good look at a rear all aluminum Cobra and a clarification on what the stage works kept throwing to the side when the cars came up on stage.

Thanks for reading.

Tim

#BarrettJackson

#ProjectSportsRoof

barrett jackson 2017

Barrett Jackson 2017 Walkthrough with Justin Bieber Ferrari …

2 days ago This my version of the 2017 Barrett Jackson out here in Scottsdale Arizona. Its a mind blowing experience if you’ve never been before! There’s …

 

73 Mustang Lifters Adjustment

Welcome back to #ProjectSportsRoof.  My goal to get the engine by Christmas is in jeopardy, so I need to get cranking on getting it all back together.

There’s been a few set back – like losing a couple of bolts that had to be ordered.  A career change has slowed me down some as well.  But I’d like to have the engine in by Christmas and driving it by the end of Jan. 2017.

So, as my self-imposed deadlines are coming fast, I picked up with the adjusting the lifters.  Here how that looked:

 


These will have to be adjusted several times when after it’s run a bit.

Coming up next I have to put the intake on, carb, distributor, fuel pump, so check back and see the progress. Grab my feed and you’ll get notified when I up date the progress.

Thanks for reading.
Tim

projectsportsroof

1973 Mustang – Engine Bay Work

If you look back at #ProjectSportsRoof post you’ll see the condition engine bay.  During those videos I mentioned that I was going to clean it up and hit it with a rattle can.  Again this isn’t going to be a concours restoration, it’s going to look nice and it’s going …

1973 Mustang Original Invoice and Window Sticker – Marti Auto Works

Oct 22, 2016 I didn’t purchase the window sticker for 1970 Mustang but I did for # ProjectSportsRoof. Check it out: 1973 Mustang SportsRoof Window Sticker.

73 Mustang 351 Cleveland Rebuild – Removal 4 – YouTube

Aug 1, 2016 I’m So close to getting #ProjectSportsRoof engine pulled and starting the tear down.

1973 Mustang 351 Cleveland is BACK!!!

We interrupt this Heater Box restoration for an important announcement.

THE 351 CLEVELAND IS BACK!!!

postmach-1 postmach-2
postmach-3 postmach-4

The main piece of this project if finally complete. 

Here’s what we have now:
351C bored .040
Crank .020 and Stock cam
Flattop pistons
Double Roller Timing Chain

Here’s what I’m going to add:
Edelbrock 4bbl CARB 800 CFM ELEC CHOKE
Edelbrock Performer 2750 Intake Manifold

Heads have been restored and upgrade as follows:
Bronze valve guide, stainless 1 piece valves,  MATCHING retainers, a proper 3 angle valve job,
springs matched to cam and set up to proper height and pressure checked and hardened seats.

Here a more complete look:


The change in the bore only increased the CID (Cubic Inch Displacement) from 352 – 358 and that’s not a lot.  But keep in mind that this is a 1972 engine and the 351C with a 4bbl carb was rated at 285 bph @ 5400 rmps (The Boss 351 was rated at 330bhp @ 5400).    So I’m guessing with the Crank .020 milled, Edelbrock 4bbl  800 CFM, Edelbrock Performer 2750 Intake Manifold and the slight change in displacement that the horse power of this 1972 Cleveland will be about 300 hp – maybe.

Keep checking back as I have to finish the heater box, engine bay and the top half of the 351C.  Lots of fun coming up!!!

Thanks for reading.

Tim

projectsportsroof

Average Guy’s Car Restorations, Mods, and Racing

While the block is out for machining I can turn my attention to one of the MANY other sub-projects on #ProjectSportsRoof. If you’ve followed the blog you know …

restored-cars | Tumblr

Thanks checking back in with the 1973 Mustang (#ProjectSportsRoof). I’m moving right along with getting the progress on the 351C tear down posted up.

73 Mustang 351C is Out – YouTube

Aug 9, 2016 Finally #ProjectSportsRoof gives up it engine. Thanks to my neighbor Dan Thomas for helping me getting this out.

Great American Muscle Cars – muscle cars – Community – Google+

Welcome back to #ProjectSportsRoof. With the floor pans welding, sealing and coating finished the next step was to apply the heat and sound barrier. This is …

Car News Now (C.N.N. ) – Mustang Beats Corvette – WHAT!!?

Sometimes the Automotive Journalism world is so off track – pun intended – that they cross the line where “reporting” becomes “tabloid babble”.

Take the headline  “MUSTANG BEATS CORVETTE!!!”  “America Meet Your New Sports-Car King”.

Front-Mustang-GT350 2014C7

That is quite a statement gracing the cover of the Feb 2016 issue of Car and Driver.  But their criteria by which they obtain their conclusion is as lame as comparing the Corvette C7 with the Mustang GT350 cars.   With misleading emphasis placed on things that are just plain ridiculous like ‘The Corvette’s seats are not as supportive…as the Mustang’s GT350’s Recaros.” they arrived at a score of 202 to 200 in favor of the Mustang.

It’s true that in ‘their’ numbers that matter to car guys the Mustang bested the Vette in 30-50 mph and 50-70 mph and tied in the 0-150 mph.  That’s it!!  Even by their numbers the Corvette spanked the Mustang in 15 areas including acceleration, chassis, weight, fuel, and sound level.

In what they call the ‘final results’ both cars are tied in the category they titled ‘VEHICLE’.  This included such vague terms as “Driver Comfort” and “Ergonomics”.  But the kicker was the Features/Amenities where Vette scored 10 out of 10 and the Mustang 2 out of 10.  Combine this with a “as-tested-price” where Mustang got a 20 out of 20 and the Corvette received a 15 out of 20.

Am I the only one that realizes if you have more “Features/Amenities” the cost will be higher?

Even with that huge swing Corvette still wins by one point when you include their Power Train numbers (49 Stang – 51 Vette) and Chasiss (56 Stang to 55 Corvette). Total score at this point is Corvette 178 and Mustang 177.

To push the Mustang over the top they added the all important “Fun To Drive” category, where they give the Mustang the full 25 available points and passed out a 22 to the Corvette.

This is such a stretch and so subjected that making such a declaration and then gracing the cover is like reading a cheap tabloid new article – The “Kardashian’s” are extraterrestrials stranded here when their Bentley Bentayga got a rip in one of the $5508 rear folding bucket seats. (Insert grainy pic of an over priced cross-over with a Kardashian look-a-like screaming at the site of the defective upholstery.)

Shame on you Car and Drive!!  I have half a mind to return that super cheap “free” cap you sent me for subscribing!!!!  (But I think my German Shepherd chewed the visor off.)

Thanks for reading

Tim

Classic Mustang and C6 Corvette owner

www.agcarrestoration.com

#CNN

In-depth Tech: Valuable Tips For Selecting The Right Crankshaft

Cast, forged, billet? Straight-shot or cross-drilled? Experts from Eagle, Lunati and Scat offer tips and advice on selecting a crankshaft for your engine.

Engine builders are often conditioned into selecting crankshafts based solely on the expected horsepower output of the engine, or at least that often-optimistic number carries the most weight in the decision process. But savvy builders — whether assembling an honest street engine, rogue weekend warrior or a savage race-only bullet — will recognize the importance of analyzing other factors before choosing between cast iron, forged steel or billet steel.

Chase the link for the rest of the article:    Source: In-depth Tech: Valuable Tips For Selecting The Right Crankshaft

Thanks for reading.

Tim

racing crankshaftsracing crankshafts

Bryant Racing High Quality Custom Crankshafts | NASCAR …

It was a great weekend in Atlanta for Bryant Racing Crankshafts, as the winners for the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup Series all use our cranks! We had a 1-2-3 finish in the Sprint Cup race with …

A Look At Drifting Clutch Technology With Spec

Thought I’d share this technology.  I have a Stage 2 Spec in my Corvette and has served me well on the street and auto cross.  Chase the link below to get all the details.

For most of us, we like our Mustangs to be well-rounded. Many of us can only afford one, so it needs to be able to do a few things other than just getting us from Point A to Point B. Fortunately, we can make a Mustang be good at a couple different types of performance without making wholesale changes. It’s pretty hard to make it great at several things at the same time, but we’re willing to make concessions in order to make it more than a one trick pony. We can take it to the drag strip, that’s easy. We can also take it road racing – which isn’t as easy – but we can still have a blast provided we have outfitted it accordingly with the right brakes. We can even take it drifting.

SPEC Clutches is a company that knows after the act of drag racing, drifting is something that comes natural to a Mustang. SPEC’s David Norton has been involved with drifting since the sport’s beginnings, and knows V8 power mixed with a tail-happy suspension, getting a Mustang to drift isn’t difficult.

Spec/s Drift clutch

Spec/s Drift clutch

via A Look At Drifting Clutch Technology With Spec.

Thanks for Reading.

Tim

spec clutches

2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 – The Bird Doc

… the track kicking butt and taking names. Big thanks goes out to London Chassis Dyno, Kenne Bell, Lund Racing, Revan Racing, Trucarbon, TruFiber, Viking Performance, SPEC Clutches, Jack Hart Body Shop, Bischoff Engine Service, and Bivins Racecars.

1965 FIA World Manufacturers’ GT Championship – Bob Bondurant

You no doubt know about Ford and Carroll Shelby’s Cobra winning the 1965 FIA World Manufacturer’s GT Championship – breaking Enzo Ferrari’s reign on the in that event.   But this short video tells more about what Bob Bondurant endured during those races.   He is a true racing icon.

 

I’ve had the thrill of running Bondurant course here in Phoenix, AZ., include the F1 event held at Phoenix International Raceway.   All great experiences from a well run organization.

 

Check out the story of how the U.S. Team (with Bob and two English drivers) took home the win.

 

 

Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Tim

1965 ford cobra gtcarroll shelbybob bondurant

Los Angeles street racers aim to bring drag racing back to Terminal Island | Hemmings Daily

The old drag strips are disappearing.  I have an article coming out about an abandon drag strip right in my backyard.

 

Terminal Island in the Port of Los Angeles didn’t play by the typical drag strip operations manual. Intermodal shipping containers surrounded the strip and served as the basis for some of its structures. It had no national drag racing organization affiliation, and everybody pretty much run what they brung. It opened and closed nearly a dozen times over the course of three decades, and now, in the midst of an LAPD crackdown on street racing in the city, fans of the drag strip are working to bring it back.

“Our main goal is to keep everybody off the streets,” said Donald Galaz, a lieutenant with the International Brotherhood of Street Racers and the founder of Project Street Legal, an initiative to return racing to Terminal Island. “But you know the way politics is – the wheels go very very slowly.”

Read the rest via Los Angeles street racers aim to bring drag racing back to Terminal Island | Hemmings Daily.

 

Vette at Terminal Island

Vette at Terminal Island

 

I remember my first drag strip experience, it was in the middle of a corn field in the middle of Texas (just outside of San Angelo).  I recall thinking how awesome it was to have a place to test your skills – legally!!  I wonder if it’s still there?

 

Thanks for reading.

Tim

Police: Pair Caught Drag Racing Friday

Two men were charged late Friday with drag racing on East Andrew Johnson Highway, Greeneville police Officer Joe Prokop said in a report. Charged were Justin E. Aiken, 21, of 127 Sam Aiken Road; and Kieffer L. Keller, 20, of 1500 John Graham Road.
West Chester’s Nikki Bennett has passion for drag racing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The dragster is all black, and its driver is dressed in all black, too, from the top of the helmet right on down to the shoes. For a long time, no name was displayed on the sides like there are on other machines. It goes to the line

Carbon-Fiber and Red Pagani Huayra! – Auto-Hype

Awesome looking, yes?

Crazy Exhaust!!!

Crazy Exhaust!!!

With Huayra’s  mid-engine placement, heck that exhaust is much more then just headers!!!

What the hell is up with those mirrors?!!??

What the hell is up with those mirrors?!!??

 

The mirrors are just a ‘NO BUY’ for me.  If I’m going to spend over 1mil for a car it wouldn’t be with those…..what?  Look at the spec before making that statement?  O.K. let’s look at ’em.

 

MY MY!!!

MY MY!!!

 

O.K.   I’d buy it and rip the mirrors off…that ought to be good for 100th of a second off that 3.0, 0-60 timing.

See more here:    Carbon-Fiber and Red Pagani Huayra! – Auto-Hype.

 

Thanks for reading.

Tim

Beautiful Pagani Huayra Unloaded at Monticello

The Monticello Motor Club in New York was built for the purpose of testing drivers and cars, but also designed to be safe for the novice first-timer. The road course has over four miles of track and is set on 175 wooded acres. This club puts on many