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History 1960s So Cal Go-Kart Home Movie

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gaters, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Gaters
    Joined: Dec 29, 2007
    Posts: 566


    As Hot Rodding grew in Southern California, it branched out into different outlets of racing and expression. One avenue was go-karting. What started as a couple of guys welding some tubing together to have a bit of fun, grew into more than a fad but an industry just like Hot Rodding.

    My dad, Ken Eichert, was heavy into go-karting back in the late 1950's to the early 1960s. His garage was filled with Model A Parts and Go-Karts. My mom just gave me a reel of some 30-40 minutes of 8mm film they took out at a few tracks in Southern California. Tracks in Palmdale, Riverside and Moon's Cafe on Bloomfield Ave. in Norwalk, CA. (Later to be Moon Eyes, moving over to Norwalk, Blvd.). You'll notice the Moon track because of the oil derricks in the background. The early home shots are in Downey, CA and the house I later grew up.

    Dig the kart set up on the Rancheros parked out front of the house. I believe my dad hauled his around in his 50 Ford.

    My Dad and his friend Sandy Rainey later went on to design what would be the first lay down go-kart (see attached picture). As the driver was reclined and the motor was set off to one side. It was heavily protested when it was brought out to the track, but from what I understand it met all the rule book criteria. Later kart designs still follow some of their early ingenuity.

    I had to laugh, as one of my dad's ideas was to make a kart for the driver to go head first. Sandy was dead set against it and called my Dad crazy. He called my dad Craze as a nickname until my dad passed this year. Then I came across an eBay sale for the Batman go-kart that was made for the TV Series. My dad was not that far off,was he (see attached photo). Maybe bad for racing but what a great ride!

    I am usually capable at computer stuff but for the life of me, I can't embed the freakin video.

    From Karting World Magazine 1963. That's my dad in the driver's seat.

    Fiberglass body mold was first formed out of paper mache and chicken wire. Gas tank was in between your legs. Fins at your calves kept your legs from creeping out too far.

    Some ideas are better for look than show. My dad's idea for going head first wasn't all that outrageous for this show. Batman TV series was 1966-68 (IMDb).
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  2. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    Absolutely freakin' AWSOME!!!
  3. No_Respect
    Joined: Jul 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,171

    from So-Cal

    Your dads kart is beautiful!!!! Is it still in the family?
  4. Red Dragon Racing
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 146

    Red Dragon Racing
    from Indiana

    As a kart racer, that is awesome. I'm always amazed at where the sport started. Those guys were nuts!

  5. casper
    Joined: Apr 27, 2005
    Posts: 974


    Truely bitchin !!! The video was bad ass. Thank you sooo much for posting this. Way cool pedals on the Kart, the way they loop around the tie rods. I think this style was started by Art Ingles, who quit his job at Kurtiscraft (building Kurtis midgets, Indy cars and quarter midgets) in 1960-61 to start "Caretta".
    I hope many more pictures get posted on this thread.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  6. Stu Padasso
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 476

    Stu Padasso

    Those pedals are called "Faye" pedals, named after Faye "Ladybug"Pierson, co-founder of Bug Engineering, still making vintage karts in Azusa, Ca.
    Those interested in vintage karting in So Cal should attend the big vintage Kart meet the weekend of 2-2 thru 2-4-12 at Adams Kart Track in Riverside. Usually about 150 vintage karts, much like those in the film
  7. Gaters
    Joined: Dec 29, 2007
    Posts: 566


    Don't want to mislead anyone. The Batman kart was produced for the TV Series and not my dad's doing at all. I only posted it because someone actually did a heads first kart!

    Sandy Rainey (in the video w/ Moon t-shirt at end coming from off camera) was still active in Karting until this last year with champions of motorcycle racers Eddie Lawson and his son, Wayne Rainey. They pulled em into the pits the last year I believe.

    Stu, I'd love to come out to the races this next year. Would be great to see the vintage stuff run.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  8. Gaters
    Joined: Dec 29, 2007
    Posts: 566


    Dog gone it, no! I wished it was. He got out of racing when my brother and I were born. I barely remember them being around the garage. I was born in 64 so I am not sure how long he had them around after getting out of racing them.

    I still have a fiberglass body that was either marketed or produced by Duffy Livingston. I'll have to post a picture. It looks like a (Speed Racer) MACH V. Sorry, that is what it always reminded me of.

    He knew a lot a folks at McCullogh, AirHeart, Bug, etc. They also raced at a track in South Gate (not in film). A lot of movies stars used to come out to that track as I was told. They raced down in Mexico too.

    I'd love to rebuild one just like the one in the film.

  9. Buddy Palumbo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,871

    Buddy Palumbo

    What a fun video - the music is cool too . thanks for posting .
  10. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Way cool! Man, I haven't been karting in a long time. Thanks.
  11. Thanks for sharing that Gaters, that was great! I bought a go-cart for my sons earlier this year, they are a lot fun!
  12. Rolleiflex
    Joined: Oct 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,084


    Great story and video! Thank you for sharing with us.
  13. Road_Rat
    Joined: Sep 23, 2007
    Posts: 187


    awsome video!! i rember seeing the bat side car/kart on the sifi channel on the hollywood treasure show,what a cool kart!
  14. shoprat
    Joined: Dec 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,109

    Member Emeritus
    from Orange, CA

    Very cool stuff. Those days you could do anything was great .
    They were crazy fuckers for sure
  15. Gaters
    Joined: Dec 29, 2007
    Posts: 566



    The cart in the article was sold out from underneath my dad and Sandy. As I was told, the fellow who did the fiberglass work was going to show it to someone down in San Diego. He sold it while down there for a good sum of money at the time. My Dad nor Sandy had ever seen a stitch of the money or the kart again.

    Could still be out there...I don't know if my memory has served me wrong but I want to say my Dad thought it went out to Texas.

    What cool find that would be huh?
  16. go-twichy
    Joined: Jul 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,650


    great video! nice open spaces, not everything was developed. i wish things were still like that. now everything has to make money. i looked like a nice lazy day to goof off and have some fun.
  17. nice vid indeed, thanks for sharing.
  18. Bert Kollar
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,085

    Bert Kollar

    Boy, that brings back memories. I was involved with Karting from 1960-66 with the gang that hung around Wiseco Piston. We had the first ever (for this area ) non-sprint type race at Nelson Ledges road course. My alky Super A Mculloch ran the 1.1 mile course in 54 seconds. Great racing experience
    Joined: Aug 7, 2009
    Posts: 2,069


    Who remembers the go-kart track in El Monte on Valley Blvd. off the 10frwy? I was a little mocoso & loved that place.
  20. D-fens
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 369

    from Huntsville

    One of my neighbors has an old Kart like the ones in the video.

    Couple weekends ago they had it out ripping around the block. Made me laugh till I about cried.
  21. Gaters
    Joined: Dec 29, 2007
    Posts: 566


    As I understand it, Moon Cafe had a kart track next to it when it was located on Bloomfield Ave. The current Moon Eyes shop is located down the road and around the corner on Norwalk Blvd as it has been for years.
  22. We had a Kart track just outside of Tulare (behind were Shirley Shahan lives) used to go watch there all the time when I was a kid. They tore it up just about the time I got my own go-kart. Now it's a mini storage.
  23. Rick Sis
    Joined: Nov 2, 2007
    Posts: 710

    Rick Sis
    from Tulsa OK

    That's as cool as it gets!
  24. paddybuilt
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 137

    from SoCal

    Brings me back, very cool, those guys running duals in the movie were haulin ass! My dad bought my brother and I a 1960 Bug kart with a mac 10, i remember pushing it with a lil dolly to lift the rear wheels off the ground then pulling the dolly dropping the rear wheels to start it, No cluch, direct drive! We ran at a track in Agoura, now the Canyon Club, good old days, remember waiting all week just to drive that kart
  25. Elmo Rodge
    Joined: May 12, 2002
    Posts: 2,339

    Elmo Rodge

    Yeah, Duffy designed that body and they were produced at Contemporary Fiberglass in Azusa. I worked there and made a number of those bodies. There is one at the NHRA Museum too. We also made the number panels for Bug. We had a bunch of molds for them on a long board and whenever we had any resin left over from a batch we mixed we'd lay up a few panels. My brother and I raced at all those places mentioned in the late 50s and 60s. He was really fast and I was just a little brother. Wayno
  26. Elmo Rodge
    Joined: May 12, 2002
    Posts: 2,339

    Elmo Rodge

    Oh yeah. The MOONZA was a 1/5 mile oiled dirt oval. Wayno
  27. Rs2
    Joined: Dec 12, 2009
    Posts: 59


    That was a really cool video, Thank you for sharing it with us ;)
  28. Art Ingles did leave Kurtis to build Carettas, but not in '56. He was still working there in 1960 when he made the aluminum hood, and headers for my RPU. Art also punched the louvers on my RPU with Frank's louver press. He came up with the go kart idea while working for Frank building Kurtis 1/4 midgets. Frank didn't think it was worth making the investment in jigs to build karts, so Art built a few in his home garage. The response was so overwhelming, Art left Kurtis Kraft to build Carettas full time. I guess even the great ones miss the boat sometimes. :eek:
  29. Awesome vid, the tunes were perfect. ;)
  30. Matts 55
    Joined: Aug 6, 2011
    Posts: 5

    Matts 55

    My brother went to look at a car for sale about 4 years ago and the guy had a old Vintage Kart in the corner of his garage. I bought the kart and restored it for fun. Then I found out there is a huge Vintage Kart Racing movement out there. We attend events in Iowa, ILL, KS and Indiana. The karts are
    just as much fun as they were when I was younger.

    Car Craft magazine was a big promoter of karting back when it first started. The magazine had their own kart custom built and did an article on it in about 1961. A talented friend of mine built a beautiful replica of it complete with moon hub caps. It all is pretty cool stuff.

    You are never to old to have a second childhood but if you mess it up this time it's your

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