Monday, April 23, 2012

Learning to be a Gearhead or Motorhead in 1958....

"The Dream" - "The Build" - "The Evolution"............When I was about 14 years old, the term "Gear-head" or "Motor-head" was already part of my existence......but when the little pages(small size magazines) of Rod and Custom magazine started to advertise "Go-Karts" for sale, my adrenaline peaked, but at $129.50 in American dollars, it was totally out of reach...it may as well have been a million.  That would have been about 3 months salary for my dad and about 3 years of allowance for me, or at least a year on a part time salary.  The first photos are of course "THE DREAM"!
Click on all photos to enlarge them!!





Dig the desert boots!!...trying to be cool at 14.
So now, "THE BUILD"..........with the help of many and of course my dad being at Kam Motors at the time, we scrounged a couple of wheel barrow tires, some angle iron, purchased a couple of semi-pneumatic tires for the front and did the gusto and bought a nearly new Clinton 3 horse motor for what I recall at about $6.00.  The whole project out of pocket was about $20.00.....and fun we certainly had. 
Finally came "THE EVOLUTION"........As time went on, and a part time job came into my life, it evolved into what you see below, with 2 used 8-hp Homelite chainsaw engines a live axle(both wheels turning at the same time on the same axle), you could smoke those tires almost a whole city block.  The tread was done on the old wheelbarrow tires so had to buy slicks. 



 It became a pretty wild machine at only about 75 lbs, a 16-hp engine, and  a 98 pound driver....right Scotty?  These pictures were taken behind Scott McCallum's home near the tracks on Wellington Street in Fort William.  Those days really did jump start my desire for speed as later years were spent at Riverview Raceways doing roundy-rounds there...and many, many more years restoring old cars and building hot rods.
The following picture is my older son Darren racing at the old K-Mart parking lot in about 1981.

My son Darren in 1981 at K-Mart on West Arthur Street.

The red line shows a typical track layout there.
The following Youtube video is an advertising film for McCulloch Engines and Go-Karts featuring none other than Don Knotts from early television and film fame.  Thanks for visiting!!
Be sure to click on all the photos above for enlargements..

1 comment:

Crystal Mary said...

You looked slick back in 1958 in your own go-cart. I can't believe the cost to buy one already made. That was a lot of money back then. Don knotts looked so well in that film. He had a like-able face and I'm sure that add sold many engines and go-carts..
We still have Go-cart track's over here, but mostly they are solely for entertainment. Loved reading this.