This is the first kart ever, built by Art Ingels, the father of karting in late 1956. Art, who was a veteran hot rodder and a race car builder at Kurtis Craft (where he built many a winning Indianapolis car) picked up a surplus West Bend 2-cycle engine and devised a rugged tubular chassis that was simple but strong enough to withstand his 210 lb body weight.Mounted on a set of semi-pneumatic tires, and driving one rear wheel via bicycle chain, he surprised himself and his friends when his little creation took off like a banshee across a neighborhood parking lot. Wherever Art drove his little car, on back alleys, parking lots or around tennis courts, he attracted crowds of interested onlookers who wanted to know where they could get one.
This is a rear shot of Kart #1. The West Bend - made surplus lawn mower engine drives one wheel via bicycle chain drive.
Three interested Californians, Bill Rowles (a surplus dealer), Duffy Livingstone (a hot rodder and driver-builder of sports car specials) and Roy Desbrow went on to form the Go-Kart Manufacturing Company in 1957. Ingels in turn left Kurtis Craft to co-found the Ingels-Borelli Kart companyand produced the spectacular Caretta kart. Innovations they brought to endurance racing via the Caretta kart in 1961 at Tecate were in large part responsible for the enduro kart as we know it today.
Check out an early group of karters in the Rose Bowl parking lot.
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