Cool Photo

futuristic kart

This bubble top futuristic dream kart appeared on the cover of Karting World magazine (June 1963). Called the X.T.K. (for Experimental Turbine Kart), it was built by 21 year old Bob Horn of Cincinnati. The futuristic pearlescent fiberglass body atop 69" wheelbase frame is only the beginning of the story.

The kart was powered by an experimental turbine producing 13 HP at 32000 RPM. All functions on this kart could be remote radio controlled including start, stop, reverse, and operating the bubble top. For purposes of demonstration, Bob used an interchangeable battery powered electric motor (the turbine being the "racing" engine). Framework was 4130 chrome moly birdcage space frame, brakes were modified Bendix, and tires were special Hoffco whitewalls.

When demoing this kart, Bob would operate it via the radio control (using CB frequencies circa 11 MHz) with range up to about 300 yards. An Air Force bomber seat motor powered the steering, while the bubble top was raised and lowered by a bomber window system. For sound effects, he used a small turbine engine - not hooked up to anything - for effect. Remember, the demos were run using the substitute electric motor. A tape of the orchestral theme from "Ben Hur" provided the background music for Horn's commentary while running the kart through its paces and describing aspects of the kart's construction. About $8000 had been invested in this kart, with future plans cited as installing a sound mechanism so that the kart would do its own talking. I never heard whether this came to be.

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