i have posted a Carnival Racer in the classifieds and would appreciate any information that anyone may have ...i have searched the internet and have not found much info and only a few references and photos of similar "racers" ...this appears to be "dated" in 1930 thru 1937 era and is described in some "kart" history as being manufactured by 2 companies ...1 in Texas and 1 in California ...oddly the companies are not named ? the frame is of hardwood construction and is of quality design with symetrical features and machine cut joints ...the fasteners are mostly square head bolt and nuts and wood screws of ample size and uniform length ...front suspension is center pivot with radius rod ...spindles appear to be model T that are re-machined to necessary axel diameter , tie rod / drag link also appear to be modified ( cut and welded or brazed model T components)...maybe someone here on the Forum has one of these racers or has seen or knows of some details ...just an interesting piece of history ...always an optimist...Gene French
will try to add another photo of a similar racer from internet ...this is from a Marx bro. movie ...similar but not quite the same ...still is a front engine type unlike the Maytag racer ...always an optimist...gene frnech
The Marx Brothers appear to be driving Maytag racers.
When I was a kid, a member of the Minnesota Region of the AACA owned one so I saw it quite frequently.
Whoops - I re-read your second post and now realize you included a Maytag reference.
thank you for the info ...i have seen the Maytag club info. ...all the photos i have seen of Maytag racers are rear engine , mostly the larger 2 cyl. motor type ....this racer is front engine as appears in the Marx photo ( exhaust pipe exits at radiator shell ) ...this motor is on a slide way to allow tightening of the drive belt ( it appears )...there are 2 wood bearing blocks beneath the cowl that probably were for a cross shaft used in the drive system ...there is no rear axel present ,so it is all guess work as to how the final drive system worked ...hopefully someone has info or possibly photos of this type "racer" ...this may have simply been some RICH KIDS toy in 1930 ...they would have been the coolest kid in town !always an optimist...Gene French
FWIW Is the motor in your cart a Kohler by chance? I'm thinking someone could have improvised from what may have originally been a Maytag? Or, what motors were used on the front engine carts? Speaking of Maytags, I had visited the Lakeshore Livesteamers railroad in Kirtland,OH a guy had built a neat little "doodlebug" type machine on a 4 wheeled frame
using a Maytag for power. Had a nifty canopy type "roof" like you see on some steam traction engines. It wasn't real fast, but it was cute as a bug! I only wish I had a photo to share.
As an afterthought, I should mention this machine does run on rails. These being 7 1/2" gauge. I did look at their website hoping to find a photo but no luck. Among many fine models, there is a nice shot of a Nickel Plate Road Berkshire. Amazing locomotive.
i removed the engine from the slide mount to be able to read the tag ...this is a Briggs and Stratton model Y ...type 60215 serial # 55539 ...i will try to look up info on engine to possibly determine some possible manufacturing date range for the racer ...assuming this engine is origional ...always an optimist ...gene french
engine is a 1934 model manufactured between Feb and March ...is 2.25 bore by 2.25 stroke ...this info from Old Engines site ...this is inline with the styling and construction details evident in the "remains" ...somebody must have seen one of these before ...before my time , but certain styling and build details are typical of the 1930-1937 era ...many pieces are missing and there is no "build" tag or manufacturers identification , but i would bet that this was a "store bought" unit and not a home build ...i will continue to research and appreciate any info ...always an optimist...gene french
Interesting! By the size proportion to the body of the cart in your photos, I made the assumption the motor was much larger. That made me think of Kohler.
I will try to post a photo of a Y type I found on a Briggs&Stratton site. I saw this, then realized the spark plug is visible in your photo. (horizontal)
The 2.25" bore and 2.25" stroke motor is rated a whopping 1/2 hp. WOW!
that is exactly the motor in the kart frame ...1/2 HP ...from what info i am able to find , it seems that these karts were intended to be just fast enough to be a "thrill" for a child ...as a carnival ride i am sure that it would have seemed as though you were on the track at Indy ...not much info available ...probably several different body styles and colors to add to the "racer" image at a carnival ...always an optimist...gene french
I myself thought "That ain't no Y".
8 horse Kohler.....
Nope! It's a Y!
Awfully cool little car!
this is a cool little kart ...not much info showing up ...possibly the old carnivals were not well documented ? i have had this for 3 years and have only had 2 "old guys" that remembered seeing these in the old traveling carnivals and at county fairs ...these may have been an expensive carnival ride for an owner to purchase and maintain and may have been used by larger circus/carnival outfits ...i don't have any real documentation on builder(s) , but this is a well built and designed kart ...probably not "cheap" when new ...
regarding the small horsepower/displacement Briggs-Stratton model Y ...this seems to be origional , since the existing engine mounts and tensioning slide all match existing frame holes and the front radius rod assembly ...still looking for info ...always an optimist...gene french
Shoot. I missed (entirely) the first pic of the blower housing on that Y.
I have a pair of Y's (a '34 and a '35 - 60,102 and 139,636) on my Undone Tractor Company old time tractor.
I sure wish I had some leads for you on info...
Gene, Just stumbled across this and think you might find out more by Googling Junior Vanderbilt and/or Baby Vanderbilt races. Even mentioned a moveie with Charlie Chaplin.
thank you for the info ...i looked thru those links and a bunch of others yesterday evening ...i didn't find this particular kart , but was a bunch of interesting reading and films from the early racing days ...the Vanderbilt /Ascot racers were much more powerful and faster racers than this Carnival racer ...the engine in the Carnival unit is only 1/2hp ...would probably run this kart at 15-20 mph max. ...seems that the available info on go karts start around mid 1950's , with what i would consider a modern go kart...will keep on searching and asking questions ...always an optimist...gene french
Off Topic, But pretty darn neat! With the mention of the Maytag motors earlier, I was able to find a couple photos of the Maytag 'on rails' Enjoy!
I want to thank all who offered info. on this racer ...i have placed this kart on ebay with a starting bid at $350 ...crateing for shipping would be a problem and a person would have to pickup at my site in northern colorado ...always an optimist...gene french
Here's the link:
thanks for posting the link ...there have been many lookers , so far no bids...hopefully someone buys the kart and is able to restore it for display ...is a very cool piece of early kart history ...always an optimist...gene french