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

 

Plymouth Duster – 1972 Graphics

If you read the title you might have thought that I’d be giving you some information on the graphics that were available on the Plymouth Duster, but it’s just the opposite.

I’m looking for some information on the graphics for the car pictured below to restore a similar car.   What were the factory graphics options on Plymouth Dusters?  In the picture below, is this an option or custom work?

 

Thanks in advance.

Tim

#ProjectSportsRoof

#ProjectBeepBeep

Project BeepBeep – Gets Re-Hinged Part 2 – Curse of the Coyote!

Bill continues on with the swapping out the hinges on the 68 Road Runner. Excellent tips in this one!!

You gotta love ACME – if only the coyote could have gotten replacement devices for ‘do-overs’ that might have changed his fate.

Thanks Bill!!!

Thanks for reading!!

Tim
#ProjectBeepBeep
#ProjectSportsRoof

Average Guy’s Car Restorations, Mods, and Racing

Bill tries out a custom set of spark plug wires for #ProjectBeepBeep. Bill has more coming up on his 68 Road Runner and I might just have something to post of …

Project BeepBeep – ’68 RoadRunner – Door Panel Tips

Feb 12, 2017 Ready for some more #ProjectBeepBeep? Bill takes you through a few tips for restoring your B-Body door panels. Take a look: Great stuff!!!

Project BeepBeep – A look at the Brakes

Mar 10, 2017 Introducing #ProjectBeepBeep – Code H 1968 Road Runner. I’d like you to take a look at one of my constant readers classic muscle car.

Project BeepBeep Gets Hinges – Prt 1

Welcome back to Average Guy’s  Car Restoration.

Bill’s 68 Road Runner get a new lower door hinge. Some great tips here!

 

A close up of the hinges.

The upper hinge.

Door gap.

Part 2 is coming up and check in on the other article on AVG Car Restoration.

Thanks for reading.

Tim

#ProjectSportsRoof
#ProjectBeepBeep

 

Introducing #ProjectBeepBeep – Code H 1968 Road Runner

Feb 2, 2017 I’d like you to take a look at one of my constant readers classic muscle car. First let me say that Bill has been an a long quest to find a car to …

Average Guy’s Car Restorations, Mods, and Racing

Bill tries out a custom set of spark plug wires for #ProjectBeepBeep. Bill has more coming up on his 68 Road Runner and I might just have something to post of …

Project BeepBeep – ’68 RoadRunner – Door Panel Tips

Feb 12, 2017 Ready for some more #ProjectBeepBeep? Bill takes you through a few tips for restoring your B-Body door panels. Take a look: Great stuff!!!

Project BeepBeep – A look at the Brakes

Mar 10, 2017 Introducing #ProjectBeepBeep – Code H 1968 Road Runner. I’d like you to take a look at one of my constant readers classic muscle car.

 

Update on Transmission for Project SportsRoof – ’73 Stang

Spend a few hours on this 2017 Labor Day, laboring over #ProjectSportsRoof and I wish that labor paid a bit more dividends.

The goal was to mate the transmission back to the engine but unfortunately that just wasn’t going to happen today.  The engine is set back a bit too far and tilted (on purpose).  Problem is if I bolted them up the engine hoist would be able to lift the engine and trans due to the height I needed the car to work on the transmission.

So I pulled the transmission out from under car and placed its wheels back on the concrete.

 

It was a major effort to get the car up high enough to get the transmission out.  I pushed the boundaries of safety with a floor jack and a couple of jack-stand.

As I stated in the video I may just take it down the street and have them get that straightened out for me.

More to come on #ProjectSportsRoof.

Thanks for reading.

Tim

 

1973 Mustang Project SportsRoof – Exterior Walk-Around

Welcome back to #ProjectSportsRoof.  I run my car projects much like I run my IT projects.  You always have to know where to start and know the end game.   As with any project that isn’t being built from scratch, in other word, you have to work with what you’ve got, …
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 – Project SportsRoof – Compression Test Part II

This is the wrap up on the compression testing for the 1973 Mustang w/ a 1972 351 Cleveland power plant. You’ll might have notices that I referred to the remote tester, which is my code for remote starter…yeah…that’s it!!! All of these tests were dry test and I should have done a …

Project SportRoof – Transmission Update

It’s been a while but the new career is smoothing out and I’m hell-bent on getting back to my Mustang project.

Here is where we are with the drive train…going backward is necessary sometimes to get moving forward again.

 


 

HEY FOUND THEM:

 

 

More Coming Up on #ProjectSportsRoof.

Thanks for reading.

Tim

 

 

projectsportsroof

73 Mustang (Project SportsRoof) Engine Dress Up and Venting …

Mar 15, 2017 Did you think I sold #ProjectSportsRoof? Nope. I’ve been busy and I’ve been serving as editor to another cool project – my constant reader Bill’s …
Average Guy’s Car Restoration, Mods and Racing – Rebuild Them …

#ProjectSportsRoof has been…languishing a bit but I have a new transmission jack and I’ll be back to it in the next week…right now it going to be about 120 …

Neighbor George’s 1979 El Camino

While I’m still adjusting to my new career (putting work on #ProjectSportsRoof on hold) Bill is helping a neighbor with his El Camino.

 

 

Sand is a hazard here the great southwest and your engine isn’t going like that!!!

A good fuel filter can save your engine.

When Bill called me to chat about the sand issue, we discussed where that sand might have originated, after all we do live here in the desert of southern Arizona and sand has a habit of getting in to just about everything.  We thought that a Seafoam treatment might be in order, although I think that might be a long shot.  So Bill and George changed the fuel filter and George is going to add the Seafoam to about a half a tank of gas and drive until almost empty, then pull the filter, check for sand and replace with a new filter.  If the sand is still an issue, I suggest dropping the tank for a good cleaning.  

The 1979 El Camino was the second year for the more compact design, based on the Malibu platform.  The standard engine choices were a six cylinder and the 305 and 350.   They had a cost of around $5000.00.

A HUGE, thanks to Neighbor George for sharing he awesome ride!!

 

Thanks for reading.

Tim

 

#ProjectSportsRoof

#ProjectBeepBeep

 

Project BeepBeep – 68 RoadRunner Disc Brake Conversion – FINAL CHAPTER!

Welcome back to the #ProjectBeepBeep.  We are still following Bill’s progress on the front disc brake conversion for his 68 Plymouth Road Runner.

Did I say this is the final chapter?   Well….

 

 



Sometimes during a project you just can’t afford the time to do a video, especially when you have a friend coming by to help out.  Lets have Bill tell you how it all ended:

“I had to call in an expert; fellow I work with is a Mechanical Engineer and used to work as a Porsche/BMW mechanic before and during college. Together we got the wheels on the ground in about two hours. He recommended a last-ditch effort with the brake lines; we tightened all lines until the tube nuts were deformed. Also found an off center flare on one of the brake lines and he had a machine that fabricated the new line. Difficult to bleed; we bled the system 11 times (I counted) and went through lots of brake fluid (almost two quarts).

Took BeepBeep to the MOPAR show at Larry Miller Dodge almost immediately after getting the wheels on the ground!  Car stops on a dime and gives you nine cents change. Don’t miss power assist at all. This car will STOP!

Check it out:


 

I need an alignment next, but otherwise I really have no other problems to report. Everything working; oil PSI is 35 at idle, 55 at running down the road, and temp was a tick under 195F all day long.

Time to enjoy this ride!”

 

Bill,  thanks for the all the video and the tips you given the reader! 

Looking forward to your next ‘little’ project on BeepBeep.

 

Tim

projectbeepbeep

Introducing #ProjectBeepBeep – Code H 1968 Road Runner

I’d like you to take a look at one of my constant readers classic muscle car. First let me say that Bill has been an a long quest to find a car to replace this car:   Back in the day. It was a long search with lots of phone calls with many …
Project BeepBeep – ’68 Road Runner – Drum or Disc – The Decision

1968 Ply Road RunnerProject BeepBeep Welcome back to #ProjectBeepBeep.  Bill is looking at the brakes and gets some professional assistance to help him make a crucial decision.  You know if you’ve got a lot of GO…you need a lot STOP. It not an easy decision to alter a car’s originality, especially …
Project BeepBeep – ’68 Road Runner -Disc Break Conversion Part 2

Thanks for checking back in on #ProjectBeepBeep. Having made the decision to convert the front brakes from shoe to disc Bill gets started with this major project for #ProjectBeepBeep. He went with a kit from Dr. Diff and here’s a brief look at some of the contents.   Nice shiny new rotors!! Spindle …
Project BeepBeep – ’68 RoadRunner – Door Panel Tips

Ready for some more #ProjectBeepBeep?  Bill takes you through a few tips for restoring your B-Body door panels. Take a look:     Great stuff!!!  Thanks Bill!!! Have a few Mopar tips – Post them up or drop me a note @ agcarestoration@cox.net and we get you video/tip posted on the site. Thanks for reading Tim                 Introducing …
Project BeepBeep – 68 RoadRunner – Disc Brake Conversion Part 5 and Some Dash Work

Welcome back to #ProjectBeepBeep. Bill is working on finishing up the brake conversion. Here is a progress update. Note:  I forgot to add the credits for these videos:   Starring Bill B as himself; BeepBeep as ’68 Road Runner; Wild E. Coyote in effigy Camera Production; Mrs. Bill B and SamB Editing Tim …
Project BeepBeep – 68 RoadRunner Dash Update

Welcome back to #ProjectBeepBeep.  Thanks for checking in on the progress of Bill’s 1968 Plymouth Road Runner. If you recall mixed in with some brake updates,  Bill mentioned that he had sent out the circuit board for a restored.  Here is an update on the status of the dash.     Next up an …

Where The Heck Have You Been?

That’s a question I’ve gotten on other social media avenues and there is a good answer.

At this age I made a decision to make a career change.  Up at age of 58 and after 20 plus years as information technology guy (last position as Director of IT) I resigned and began the quest to make a move that I’ve always wanted to make.  So, it was back to college for a few courses and heavy-duty studying to pass certification exams – passed on the second attempt.

That’s where I’ve been.  Now I begin my new career as a High School teacher and that kicks off with my first teaching position at a charter school.  Things get rolling mid-July.

Now that will be a busy time but I’m comfortable with having spare time to keep working on my projects.

So, here’s what is coming up:

Bill has finished #ProjectBeepBeep disc brake conversion and we even have a video with it in motion!!!!

#ProjectSportsRoof has been…languishing a bit but I have a new transmission jack and I’ll be back to it in the next week…right now it going to be about 120 degrees, so not idea weather for working on the beast.

More #AutoFactoids coming up and some new stuff I have planned.

Thanks for checking back with us!!!

Tim

 

68 Ply RoadRunner (ProjectBeepBeep) Dash Update – YouTube

May 11, 2017 Bill sent out the circuit board that supplies the power to the all dash components on #ProjectBeepBeep.

Average Guy’s Car Restorations, Mods, and Racing

Bill is getting soooooooooo close to having ProjectBeepBeep on the road again. This update takes a look at the brake actuator rod. The Rod. Bill mentioned 303 …

Auto Factoids for the Week of May 21, 2017 – Goodyear, Sloan and Rose

Light week this week but here are your #AutoFactoids  for the week of May 21, 2017.

May 22, 1929 –  Goodyear Blimp took its maiden flight.   Still provides some of the best auto racing coverage!!!

Goodyear Blimp.

First Goodyear Factory

Mr. Goodyear

 

May 23, 1875  – Alfred P. Sloan Jr. was born in New Heaven Conn.   He headed up GM as President and guided it through some iconic car designs.  He was instrumental in establishing the idea of make styling changes annually and planting the idea of  (something we consumer dislike) planned obsolescence. He also established a pricing structure by sub-brand (Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Caddy) —referred to as the ladder of success, so that they did not compete with each other, and buyers could be kept in the GM “family” as their buying power and preferences changed as they aged.   

 

Alfred P. Sloan – Time Magazine Dec 1926.

Alfred P. Sloan

 

May 26, 1906 – Mauri Rose born  in Columbus, Ohio.  This Racing Hall of Famer driver, placed second in the 1927 Indy 500. Actually won the Indy in 1941, but that was a tough victory, spanning two Maserati-powered Elgin Piston Pin Specials cars, after the first one had mechanical issues. He tossed a fit and the car owners pulled one of the other drivers from the race and give Rose that car.

 

The Pin

The Elgin Pin

 

What powered that thing? The Elgin’s  “Power Plant”

The Pin’s power plant.

 

Mauri in the Blue Spark car!

 

Thanks for reading.

Tim

Auto Factoid for Week of Nov. 30, 2014

Hope you all had a great Turkey Day!! Here is the line up of Auto Factoids for the first week in December!!!   Nov 30 1960  De Soto ceases production.  The last De Soto produced were really the Chrysler Windsor, most did not sale, even though dealerships continued to received cars after the …

Auto Factoids – Week of May 31, 2015 – Ford, Olds, Model T

Here are your Auto Factoids #AutoFactoids for the beginning of June, 2015. May 31, 1927 – Ford produced the last Model T.    There is some debate as to actual date and it’s said that the 15th million Model T rolled off the production line on May 26th, 1927 and the Henry …

AUTO FACTOIDS & C.N.N for Week of 7/26/2015 – Studebaker to Viper

Kaiser-Fraser formed July 26, 1945 – The Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was the result of a partnership between automobile executive Joseph W. Frazer and business man Henry  J. Kaiser. In 1947, the company acquired the automotive assets of Graham-Paige.  Interesting enough, Kaiser had no automotive business experience.   In 1953 the company became …

Auto Factoids and C.N.N for week of Sept 6th 2015 – TBird and Studebaker

Here is your #AutoFactoids and Car News Now for this first full week of September 2015. Auto Factoids Sept. 7, 1954 – Production of Ford Thunderbird begins 1955 T-Bird 2002 Thunderbird             Sept. 8, 1903   Preston Tucker was born in Capac, MI. While dubbed “Tucker Torpedo” during production no ‘Torpedoes’ were produced. Beautiful …

Auto Factoids and C.N.N for week of Sept 6th 2015 – TBird and Studebaker

Here is your #AutoFactoids and Car News Now for this first full week of September 2015. Auto Factoids Sept. 7, 1954 – Production of Ford Thunderbird begins 1955 T-Bird 2002 Thunderbird             Sept. 8, 1903   Preston Tucker was born in Capac, MI. While dubbed “Tucker Torpedo” during production no ‘Torpedoes’ were produced. Beautiful …