Go Kart History
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Do you ever hear the word “karting”? Many people still don’t know what karting is. They try to relate it to the cart; the basket to take your things from the market with the wheels on it. In this situation, kart means the miniature of car racing, especially Formula One (F-1) cars. And karting means racing of using a kart. Maybe if I say “go kart”, you will know what I am talking about. Actually “go kart” is a trademark of karting. It is the manufacturing company that originated karting in 1958. The history and accessories of karting are important in order to get started in karting.
The history of the go kart is quite interesting. To begin with, there were two guys whose names were Duffy Livingstone and Roy Desbrow. They were partners in a muffler business in Monrovia, California. Both were experts in welding components. One time, they saw Art Ingle’s one off creation (model of the car). Then they were inspired to make their own versions. Duffy built a couple for their friends. And there was another guy whose name was Bill Rowles, a salesman of surplus materials in Los Angeles. He visited their muffler shop very often. He also got inexpensive engines from a failed West Bend rotary lawn mower venture. These three individuals formed a loose partnership to produce and sell kit components for go karts.
One day, when they are relaxing in the small office at their muffler shop, the postman came by with many envelopes. These envelopes brought about thirty orders for that day. The demand became constant in the following days, so they thought that they needed to change their business. They formed a corporation for the company called Go Kart manufacturing and leased a five acre facility in Azusa from AeroJet General Corporation. This corporation had six stockholders. Duffy Livingstone, Roy Desbrow, and Bill Rowles were the primary stockholders. Other stockholders were Jim Patronite (the company’s accountant, who later formed Azusa Engineering), Don Boberick, and the company’s office manager.
In 1962, Art Linkletter Enterprises wanted to buy the shares for $750,000. But Go Kart declined the offer because the proposal gave the Linkletter group management of Go Kart mfg and Go Kart didn’t trust the Linkletter group ability to manage the Go Kart mfg. However, in less than a year, Go Kart hired a very experienced, energetic and enthusiastic person to manage the sales.
Under his control, Go Kart began to send six driver and four mechanic racing teams, seven or eight karts, plus spare parts to places like Mansfield, Ohio, Rockford, Illinois, and the Bahamas. While spending increased, the company grew to become an industry. From a handful of manufacturers, the industry developed to thirty manufacturers by 1962. This company flourished until 1963.
A couple years later, Go Kart was involved in trade mark ligitimation with Fox Body Company of Janesville, WI. Fox called their kart the “Go Boy Kart” without any penalty. Then Go Kart Mfg. went through bankruptcy, Fox bought the “Go Kart” name for just a few dollars from the bankrupt estate. That was “Go Kart” from beginning to end – with a lot of fun in between.
A few years later, many go kart clubs began their business. They used the term “Go Kart” to call their karts. After they were flourishing, they thought that they needed some accessories. There are two types of accessories, engine accessories, and kart accessories. Engine accessories are about to improve the condition and stamina of the kart. And the kart accessories are about the appearances of the karts. All are about the look.
Some people called engine accessories maintenance. Some engine accessories are air filter, battery charger, gas can and funnel, kart stand, and lubricant. Those are the basic things that an individual karter needs in order to go to a race.
A good quality air filter determines the performance of the karts. When it is new and clean, it prolongs the ability of the engines. One brand called K&N filters can race several seasons before needing to be cleaned. But if you clean the air filter regularly, it makes the engine better. A better filter does not require “socks” or foam “pre-filters.”
A battery charger is also important in order to keep the batteries lasting longer. You have to charge your battery properly. For the size batteries used with kart starters, a small 10-amp charger will be sufficient.
Gas cans and funnels are also important because as a professional racer, you need to prepare for all things, included gasoline. No gasoline means you can’t drive the kart. It is a big deal if you are in hurry. I suggest that you use metal gasoline containers instead of using plastic jugs because plastic jugs are not as fire resistant and they are more likely to leak. And a long necked funnel and a filter cover are suggested.
A kart stand makes things easier because while working on your kart. You can easily bring the kart to whatever place you want. A kart stand with larger tires and wheels with a rolling stand is also recommended.
Synthetic lubricants are becoming standard in karting. The choice of lubricants (for the engine, gearbox and clutch) should be based on the type of the engines that you use. A few years ago, some karters used castor oil as a lubricant. This product was the best for many years ago, but the new crop of kart engines often create temperatures far surpassing castor’s thermal abilities and resistance to wear, so it means you need to use another brand of lubricants in order to get the maximum result.
Another type of accessories is kart accessories. Helmets, rims and wheels, steering wheels and seats are the main accessories for the karts. A helmet is not only used for safety, but it is also used for appearance of the karters. Many karters use different kinds of helmet. It all depends on the karters on which helmet they like to use.
There are two main choices of rims and wheels, aluminum alloy and steel alloy. The big differences are in the weight. Most karters prefer aluminum alloy to steel alloy because they want their karts lighter in order to go faster. And also aluminum alloy is better in preventing rust.
Steering wheels are also one of the main accessories in order to make your kart different from others. There are two main types of steering wheels: rounded and butterfly steering wheels. The rounded steering wheels look like a regular car’s steering wheel. And the butterfly steering wheels look like a butterfly or like most racers’ steering wheels.
And another thing that is subject to change is the seat cover. It not only makes you comfortable, but also makes your kart nicer. There are four basic types of cover seats. The first one is made from nylon. The second one is made from vinyl. The third one is made from leather. And the last is made from plastic fiber. The nylon is the standard one. Nowadays, the use of nylon has been replaced by vinyl because vinyl is more resistant in preventing dust. And the leather one is quite expensive, so not many racers use this type. The most popular one is the plastic fiber cover because it resists dust and water and it is easy to clean.
The history of go karts is a little bit ironic because early on, the franchise of one product was not widely acceptable. In other words, the laws for go kart franchises at that time was not fully generated. Money played a roll at that time. You could avoid the rule with money. The look of go kart is one of consideration. Your kart can be fast or beautiful or both of them. It all depends on the accessories that you have, but you need to figure out which accessories are right for your kart. Don’t spend your money on the things that are useless. And enjoy the go kart racing because it is the basis for Formula One racing.