Those of you who have been reading since damn near day one know that I’ve got a bit of an obsession with Turbonique Rocket Karts.
Those of you who might not be as familiar with my history on the karts here’s the Coles Notes: A few years ago I saw a vintage Go Kart at a local parking lot meet with two funny looking giant golf ball like things hanging off the back.
Turns out those two odd pods were Turbonique Rocket motors that were capable of propelling the fox kart from 0 to 150mph in 4 seconds before becoming uncontrollable.
Due to the fact that they were wildly unpredictable (read: dangerous) very few of them still exist today, but they do seem to pop up in quite random locales. Like say a barn in Calgary Alberta.
The story around this one reads as follows:
The kart was purchased by a local car dealership and was intended to be run as advertising. No one at the dealership had the balls to drive it so I got elected. It was advertised on a radio show for three weeks prior to a drag race in the summer of 1967. Exact date forgotten, but may be able to figure it out with time. We had the cart fueled and ready to go to the line, I had my fire suit on, and a race official came to me and said “last minute ruling by NHRA that we can’t run rocket cars due to insurance reasons.” They then announced it to the crowd. Total BS of course.
They padded the crowd wanting to see the rocket powered go cart and always knew they couldn’t let us run. I said “It’s fueled up with volatile fuel, can we run after the race?” They granted that and I made a single run after the crowd left and the lights were still set up. Only witnesses were the drivers who had raced that day. That was the only “official” run.
I drove it on a blocked off street a week earlier just to make sure it worked before we went to the race. So a partial run and a full run, me driving, were the only times it was lit up
The kart has been mothballed ever since where it was recently found fully complete save for the battery.
In the there’s also a bit more information about why these things were outlawed so swiftly, apparently if you got off the throttle then got back on it you created a bomb.
Yeah, scary stuff totally worth obsessing over.