Introducing Karts to Europe

by Burton Reinfrank, June 2004

In 1959 I was the Sales Manager of McCulloch International Inc. I had an interest in motor racing and heard of the Go Kart Manufacturing Company from one of my colleagues who dealt with the supply of McCulloch chainsaw motors, at that time the best to power karts. I visited the Go Kart company in Azusa and had my first drive in a kart and thought about its future potential. At that time I was organizing a meeting in Paris for our European chainsaw and outboard motor distributors to take place in October 1959. As part of the event, to show our line of outboard motors I had taken a large stand at the Salon Nautique (Paris Boat Show) which was held on the left bank of the Seine near the Eiffel Tower at the same time as the Paris Salon d'Automobile (Paris Motor Show) which was held at the Grand Palais and which was covered by the automobile press worldwide. My idea was to introduce the go-kart to Europe by showing it at the Salon Nautique. I contacted the head of the Go Kart Manufacturing Company and proposed to introduce their kart, powered by a McCulloch engine, to Europe by showing it on our stand if they would provide the kart. I made the same proposal to one of their competitors. Both companies agreed and delivered their karts to me, which I then shipped to Paris with our chain saws and outboard motors. The two karts were displayed on the McCulloch stand and created a large amount of interest. The two top French automobile journals sent photographers and did full page stories on the karts with color photos. Other European motor publications also covered the presentation.

This was the start of the kart in Europe and from this point European karting took off.

Read about McCulloch's Entry into Karting

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