Vintage go-karts are a classic whether you want them for your collection or for racing. Moreover,  you can earn up to $2500 by selling them in the exhibition held by Vintage Karting Association. Here are the 5 factors of vintage go-kart identification:

  • Brand and manufacturer
  • Date and Age
  • Components (engine, tire, & brake system)
  • Materials 
  • Design 

To learn about these vintage go-kart identification factors, stick with the article. You will get to know a lot more.

Key takeaways 

5 Factors of  Identifying Vintage Go-karts 

Go-karts have been a craze since the 1950s. To this day it is one of the most sought-after sports. There are also great indoor options like K1 speed.

Vintage Go-karts
Source: Shoppok

Here are 5 factors for vintage go-kart identification:

Date & Age

First, check the date and age to identify vintage go-karts. 

Go-karting has been going on since the 1960s when Duffy Livingston publicized the simple model of a lawnmower. Since then it has grown in popularity among generations. Models from the 1960s-1990s are quite different from each other. 

Now let’s have a look at how models varied from decade to decade:

Year Age Key features Power supplyEstimated Price 
1960s63 years Wood or alloy bodies Plank seats Centrifugal clutches Drum brakes Rubber tires McCulloch Mc-10 Powered engines or 2-stroke gasoline engines  $180-300
1980s43 years Advanced Machinery Disc brakes and clutchesUpholstered seats High-speed rubber tires Water-cooled engines Up to $1000
1990s33 years 60V batteriesUpholstered seatsRubber-coated steering Steel or metal walls Springs and torsion bars Soft rubber or tube tires for reducing friction.Run on electricity Up to $400

These are the identifying factors of vintage go-kart models for 3 decades. Now some vintage go-kart serial numbers are more valuable than others depending on their age.  

YearAgeSerial NumberValue Estimation
198241 yearsMargay Karts- 90425, B90125, or 87542 $150 – 300
1990s33 yearsHurricane Karts- US #105 $500 – 2000
1990s33 yearsGolf Karts- A94 $300 – 1700

Vintage Go-Kart Brands 

Art Ingels created the first-ever go-kart in 1956 in LA. However, they didn’t invest or publicize it much. Some vintage go-kart manufacturers are Go Kart Manufacturing Co, Rupp, Margay,  Bug Scorpion Go-Karts, Fox, McCulloh, Coyote,  and so on.

Vintage Go-Kart Brands 
Source: Pinterest

You can get valuable ideas on vintage go-karts’ history and values by identifying their manufacturers. Here are key features of some vintage go-kart brands:

Brands Year Key features Engines Cost
Go Kart Manufacturing Co. 1958First official go-kart brandFounded by Duffy Livingston and Roy Desbrow.Sturdy and durable built As the first go-kart brand, they used inexpensive engines from failed West Bend rotary lawnmower ventures. N/A
Rupp industries 1960s and 1970s Unique fiberglass bodies. Sporty and stylish appearance Eventually introduced 4-wheel karts.Single or dual-engine models $2000- 5000
Margay 1960sRear-mountedAdjustable castersFiberglass bodyFor racing 4-stroke engines $1000-3500
Bug Scorpion Go-Karts1962Hydraulic disk brake Fiberglass bodyRecreational purposes 2 134cc (8.2 cubic inches) West Bend 820 2-stoke singles engine N/A
Fox Manufacturing & Co. 1950Go-Boy series High powerengines Double cycle engines $600- 400
McCulloh1940sDrum brakes Spoked wheels Mc-10 engines $300-1000
Coyote 1960s High-qualityChassisRacing pedigreeHigh voltage motors $500-1500

Vintage go-kart brands are not only limited to these 4. For more options for vintage go-karts refer to Vintage Kart Registry.


Components include the type of engines, brakes, and tires a go-kart has. 

Go-karts from different eras used different engines. 1960s go-kart modes used a 2-stroke engine. The 1980s models mostly used water engines while the 1990s go-karts were electric go-karts. 

You can identify vintage go-karts by the type and brand of their tire. For an antique, ribbed tire go-kart, typical Carlisle or Goodyear tires were used. But, for racing and speed, Dunlop tires were used. Some key features of these tires are mentioned below:

Tire brands Average SizeKey features Cost 
Carlisle tires11 X 3.5-5, 11 X 4.5Classic car tire, round profiles and ribbed threads$30- 40
Goodyear tires11 X 6Grooved threads, blue stripped sidewall and single sidewalls $40-50
Dunlop tires11 X 5, 11 X 7.1Slick threads and ribs and black sidewalls$45-50

Coming to the brake system, most of the old go-karts didn’t have any brakes. In the oldest models, drum brakes were used however those brakes were not much reliable or efficient. Users back then relied on flat landings to reduce their speed.

Only from the 1980s, the brake system started to be better. Hence, if you find a go-kart with disc brakes, it might be from the 1980s.


Vintage go-karts were mainly formed of 3 types of materials:- wood, metal, or vinyl. These 3 types of go-karts have their own features.

You can identify these materials by checking the walls, chassis, wheels, and hubs. Here are the features of each of these go-karts:

  • Wooden go-karts: Wooden go-karts were pink or mahogany. They had composite frames, iron wheels, hubs, and engine mounts with rubber seals. They can cost you $500 – 1700.
  • Metal go-karts: They were made of thin aluminium or steel walls. They had bronze brushings, rubber tires, and engine mounts. They have a rather expensive price range of $900 – 4000.
  • Vinyl go-karts: They had fiberglass or vinyl bodywork, rubber grips, vibration, dampeners, and plastic seats. They’ll cost you $240 – 1000

Chassis Design 

The chassis design of vintage go-karts will evoke nostalgia with their low-to-the-ground and steel tubing frame. Vintage go-karts have unique bodies. Often they were found with fiberglass bodies or sleek designs

In an old go-kart, you will find ladder frames, angle bars, and channels. The oldest models were often simply glued or lashed. However, over time, more refined chassis designs were found in go-karts like welded joints and channel bars.

These days building a go-kart by yourself can be cheaper than buying one. The market of the go-karts chain is heavily condensed, so choose wisely.

If you want to restore your vintage go-kart, follow the video:

In case you want to buy a go-kart, Segway Ninebot Electric GoKart Pro- 4 is a good choice. 

Segway Ninebot Electric GoKart Pro- 4Check Latest Price One Amazon

Tips for Identifying Vintage Go-Karts

Even though you might understand the factors of vintage go-kart identification, it is still confusing where to start. It’s hard to understand technical terms about engines, brakes, and tires.

So, here are some tips for identifying vintage go-karts:

  • You have to run in-depth research on the brands that sold or manufactured vintage go-karts. This research will help you to identify and understand vintage go-karts.
  • You can seek opinions from different forums and experts who have extensive knowledge about vintage go-karts. You can seek help from social media groups or online forums.
  • You can join vintage go-kart clubs and attend shows like Vintage Kart Association. You can learn a lot about vintage go-karts by taking part in different shows, events, and competitions.

Joining a vintage club or planning to race? Get a retro vintage go-kart t-shirt to fit right in.

Vintage Retro Go Kart Driver Racing Gift Go Karting T-ShirtCheck Latest Price One Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Is The Average Price of A Vintage Go-Kart?

The pricing of vintage go-karts may vary from model to model. The range of price of vintage go-karts is from $200-$1000.

What Are Some Popular Vintage Go-Kart Manufacturers?

Some popular manufacturers of vintage go-karts are – Fox, Rupp Industries, Manco Products Inc., Bug Kart, and as such. For more manufacturers, you can refer to the Vintage Kart registry.

What Are The Dedicated Events for Vintage Go-Karts?

Vintage Karting Association is the best option for events and shows. However, you can also follow Rock Island Grand Prix which features a special ‘Vintage Karting Grand Prix’. Also, GoPro Motorplex hosts different vintage karting events.

Closing words 

Vintage go-kart identification can be hard with all the technical factors and features. However, with proper research on brands and vintage go-karts’ history, it will be easier to identify vintage go-karts.

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