Sunday, January 16, 2011

You'd do it in a heartbeat.......

A couple years ago, I grabbed this photo off the Jockey Journal. Somebody posted it over there, looking for more info on it. It's a pretty well thought out go kart, powered by a BSA vertical twin. You just gotta admire a guy like this, that would build something as slick as this kart turned out. Your immediate thought when you see the photo should be "I wanna drive it!".

I'm not sure what year or magazine it came from, but from the photo itself, I'm guessing that George Barris shot it, because Barris used those two models in a lot of his photo features, and it looks like his style of photography.

Dig the owner of the kart checkin' out the blondie's push-ups. Too cool!

In the same thread, Wes From Four Aces posted up some photos of a Triumph-powered go kart he acquired, that some maniac built in the '50's. It was built to accept a pre-unit engine and transmission. Probably one of the world's first shifter karts, I'll bet.

Right hand closeup of the "business end" of Wes' Triumph kart.

Last time I was out at Four Aces, Wes still had the kart, stuck up in the storage racks, sans engine and transmission. Wes told me he stuck that engine and tranny in there to snap some photos of what it would look like. He also told me he had plans to actually power it and restore it eventually. I have no idea if he ever did, or if it's still in the rack, or if he sold it.....I'll have to ask him. I hope he still has it, because I was looking forward to taking it for a spin! Well, wouldn't you? Hell yes, you would!

And, speaking of go karts, I remember when I was 12 in '64, seeing a photo in Car Craft of a guy named "Capt. Jack" McClure, piloting a kart with a Turbonique turbine engine putting out a 1,000 lbs. of thrust, beating "TV" Tommy Ivo's Top Fueler off the line at a drag strip in Tampa, FL. The story went on to say McClure exhibition raced TF guys like Ivo and Don Garlits all over the country, and hit constant top speeds of around 150 MPH. I thought to myself "How fucking cool would THIS be to do?". Of course, I'd have probably killed myself then, but that's besides the point......

The famous " 'Capt. Jack' McClure beats 'TV' Tommy Ivo" photo.

It wasn't until years later that I found out that the whole thing was staged. On the exhibition run before McClure was supposed to run Ivo, he broke the turbine. Not wanting to waste the photo op, McClure's crew talked to Ivo, and asked if they could just line up with him on the start line, and shoot that. Ivo's crew thought if they put the kart out a couple lengths from the start, Tommy could really get the slicks smoking, then they could snap the photo when he got up next to the kart, and it'd look like a real run off the line.

Well, they put McClure out on the strip, and Tommy Ivo fired up the fueler, and smoked the tires pretty well. What Ivo didn't know, was that as soon as he started smoking the tires, they shot the photo! It looked like Capt. Jack had pulled a hole shot on Ivo, and was beating him off the line. Tommy Ivo never lived that photo down.

Early Turbonique ad, featuring an engine similar to the one that powered Jack McClure's "sit up" Kart.

Evidently, Capt. Jack felt that man could go a little quicker in a go kart, so in the early '70's, he had Arvil Porter build him a turbine engine, fueled by hydrogen peroxide, that put out over 1,500 lbs. of thrust. Now he could run the 1/4 mile a little faster than he did before.......

"Capt. Jack" McClure getting ready to make another pass down the 1/4 mile, in his hydrogen peroxide-fueled "lay down" kart.

"Capt. Jack" consistently made 200+MPH 1/4 mile runs @ 6.00 sec. E.T.'s with that hydrogen peroxide-fueled kart. Wow. Remember, this was the '70's! McClure would slow this kart down at the end of the run with a parachute, until he could hit the 4 wheel disc brakes when he slowed to around 100 MPH. Capt. Jack also wore a personal parachute just in case things got out of hand during a run (?).

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