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Go Kart Company General information
History: The GoKart Mfg. Co.

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The History of Go Kart Mfg. Co.
as recounted by Don Boberick (9/18/98):
As to Go Kart Manufacturing, Co. Inc., it came into being in 1958. The principles, Duffy Livingstone and Roy Desbrow, were partners in a muffler business called "GP Mufflers," in Monrovia, California. Both Duff and Roy were experts at fabricating welded components. After seeing Art Ingles' one-off creation, Duffy and Roy fabricated their own versions and then improved on them. And, Duffy built a couple for friends (including Bill Jeffery who did the upholstery for everybody - that's Bill in the above racing photo). Bill Rowles, then a salesman of surplus materials in the L.A. area, was a frequent visitor at the GP Muffler shop in Monrovia. Bill had located a source of inexpensive engines from a failed West Bend rotary lawn mower venture. The three individuals, operating out of GP Muffler's facilities, formed a loose partnership to manufacture and sell kit components for karts. They called them "Go Karts" after the name Lynn Wineland, a commercial artist, had coined in an ad referring to GP's products. "Dart Kart" was another Lynn Wineland creation. The kits GP produced were offered mail order for $129 and the business grew like Topsy.
I can remember one day lounging in the small office at GP Muffler with Bill Rowles and Duffy Livingstone when the postman came by with a handful of envelopes addressed to "Go Kart Manufacturing" and saying "It looks like another thirty orders today, guys." That kind of demand became constant and it became apparent that the business had to be elevated several levels. I formed a corporation for the company and it leased a five acre facility in Azusa from AeroJet General Corporation. The company had six stockholders. Roy Desbrow, Duffy Livingstone and Bill Rowles were the principal stockholders. Jim Patronite (the company's accountant, who later formed Azusa Engineering), myself and the companiy's office manager were the three minor stockholders. Go Kart Manufacturing Co. Inc. continued to thrive in its Azusa facilities into 1963.
In 1962, Art Linkletter Enterprises made an offer of $750,000 for purchase of the shares. The offer called for $250,000 up front with the ba1ance of $500,000 to be paid at the end of one year. Go Kart declined that offer because the proposal gave management control to the Linkletter group prior to final payment and we did not trust their ability manage the company. Unfortunately Go Kart had, less than a year earlier, hired a very experienced, energetic and enthusiastic individual to manage the sales end of the business. To promote the product, Go Kart began to fly the six driver and four mechanic racing team, seven or eight karts plus spare parts to places like Mansfield, Ohio, Rockford, Illinois and the Bahamas. As spending escalated, sales hit a plateau industry wide. From just a handful of manufactures in 1959 the industry had grown to over thirty manufacturers by 1962. Go Kart failed to accommodate the recession in sales of its products by cutting back on spending. It went into bankruptcy.
One bit of irony in the demise of Go Kart Manufacturing Co, Inc. is that for a couple of years Go Kart was involved in trade mark litigation with Fox Body Company of Janesville, WI, over the trade mark "Go Kart." Fox called their kart the "Go Boy Kart" which we said was akin to calling a cola drink "Coca Boy Cola." Fox, on the other hand filed a petition to dissolve our trade mark "Go Kart," claiming it was generic. After Go Kart Mfg.. went through bankruptcy, Fox bought the "Go Kart" name for just a few dollars from the bankrupt estate. That was "Go Kart" from beginning to end--with a lot of fun in between.
Jim Patronite went on to make Azusa Engineering a success and it is still going strong with his son and nephew at the helm. Roy Desbrow has since passed on. Bill Rowles is enjoying life in southern California.
Before the company went into bankruptcy I gave up karting to get back into aviation. Then I got into aviation law and moved out of Pasadena. Duffy Livingstone spent several years operating a specialty welding company in Costa Mesa. He is now retired and living in Grants Pass, Oregon. I just talked to him tonight and he is in the process of restoring his original FKE kart, "the Mole." He was able to recover all of the original parts except for the body shell. The original shell hangs in someone's garage in Monrovia but the individual (despite having obtained it for nothing from Jeff) refuses to now part with it.
History: 1959

Karting History
as recounted by Don Boberick (9/18/98):
Duffy Livingstone and partners, Roy Desbrow and Bill Rowles, built a new Go Kart Mfg. facility in Azusa, California, for manufacturing karts. The facility included a test track in which we tried to incorporate a variety of turns from sweeping corners, to tight turns and even a high bank turn. It incorporated one straightaway of sufficient length to allow the karts of the period to reach speeds of 55-60 m.p.h.
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This is the old Drone (now a more reliable "B" class kart with West Bend engines) testing on the new "Azusa" track in early 1959. In July of that year, the GKCA put on its first "Grand Nationals" at the Azusa track. At that date, no current kart manufacturer was fronting organized racing teams;we were all still running with our own "colours." Several weeks prior to the race someone (I don’t remember whom) contacted me, told me that Jim Rathmann wished to enter a McCulloch powered kart constructed by him, and asked whether I would consider driving the kart in class "B" in lieu of my own. I, of course, knew of Jim Rathman, but had never met him. I agreed that if they brought the kart over (from Texas) for the practice days before the races, I would test the kart and then decide whether I would race it. They brought it to Azusa and I made a number of practice laps with the kart. After efforts (through changes in tires and tire pressures) to get the Xterminator to handle to my satisfaction were without success I opted not to drive the Xterminator.
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This photo was taken in the course of those tests. The man to the right of Rathmann was a person whose name I can no longer recall but he was a VP of Sales for Cushman. The man to Rathmann’s left, whom I also cannot recall, was a VP of Sales for McCulloch engines. At the time I knew both men fairly well as I was also on the board of directors for USKA, a fledgling organization that was trying to become the USAC of karting with representation of the manufacturers and kart clubs in one hopefully giant group. All it ever really did was provide a source of liability insurance.

History: 1960-61

Karting History
as recounted by Don Boberick (9/18/98):
1960: By now, we have "factory racing teams." GoKart Manufacturing and Bug (which was just down the street from Go Kart) both had bus transporters which each used to haul their teams and karts around California. GoKart sent its racing team east to Rockford, IL, for the NAKA (North American Kart Association) National Championships. At that time I was competing in class "C" again on a GoKart model 800 with a 250cc Villiers Mark 33A (English motorcycle engine) on the back. The engine produced 23 H.P. on alcohol, which was quite potent at the time. This is a picture of that kart being readied to start for the NAKA Class "C" champion ship races at Rockford.
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On the left is Duffy Livingstone. On the right is Tex Bell, one of GoKart Manufacturing Company's class "B" drivers. The folowing is a photo of me taking the checkered flag at Rockford in the finals of the class "C" series.
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1961: The following is the cover of the February 1961 issue of "The Karter" magazine published by GKCA, which is now "IKF" As a final note, it you wonder how GKCA later came to be IKF (International Kart Federation) here it is. I was GKCA President in 1961 and felt that (now that the sport had factory racing "teams") it was important to divorce the kart Club from the manufacturer, GoKart, which had earlier acquired a trademark on the name GoKart. The Club had also acquired some affiliated clubs in other countries.

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Attached Files Thumbnail(s)

Original Go Kart Decal

This is an original Go Kart water-slide decal.
Tom Medley did the original drawing.


This is the Go Kart Racing Team bus (ca 1959) with the  "Fun on Wheels for Everyone" slogan. Go Kart and Bug were intense rivals in those days and their respective racing team buses were known to often race each other on the way to the track.

(photo from the Duffy Livingstone collection)

This photo appeared on the cover of "Racing Karts" magazine (November 1961 issue).
Pictured is a Go Kart 800 off all fours at the Go Kart Raceway.
here is a jig created years after Go Kart company was gone to create new Go Kart 800's not sure of the builder but the Jig though crude is dead on the money for exact replicas.

go kart 800 reproduction jig (wood0
Thanks for that Dave, it's very interesting. Wish there were a few more shots of the other parts but that is a great start.
Wonder where the jigs for Scott Wigginton's repop 1200's are. TJ
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