WTF Friday: Rocket Powered Go Kart!?

17

I go to a lot of car shows, as you probably already know from my event coverage, and doing so I see a lot of crazy things: insane and interesting motor swaps, slammed International trucks, and lots of scantily clad women are pretty much par for the course.

However what is not par for the course is what I saw at last Saturdays Street Classics Cruise In.

While slowly making my way outward from the ice cream truck I saw an older looking go kart sitting on the ground beside a Jr Dragster.

After studying it for several moments, trying to piece together what I was seeing in my head, the owner with a bemused look on his face asked me if I knew what I was looking at. My short answer was no (my long dumb answer was jet).

Would you do 12s on this?

The Kart you see above is said to have been built early to mid 1960s by now defunct company known as ‘Turbonique’. From my research it seems that this company only existed to strap rocket motors on cars and go karts to see how fast they could go down the track.

The rocket kart above is made up of the following vital components: two oxygen tanks, two capacitors, two spark plugs, a fuel tank, and a 60s go cart frame with a drum brake.

The rocket propulsion system (words I never thought I would type) is a closed system which the owner says could theoretically run underwater and in space since it doesn’t require fuel from the atmosphere.

When I asked the next natural question ‘how fast is it’ the owner told me that each of the rockets put out 300 pounds of thrust and the car would rip down the 1/4 mile in around 9 seconds at about 150 or so MPH.

Sounds fun? Well it probably was if you stated on the ground. To quote one of the sites I read to get a little more info:

According to all accounts this kart went from zero to 150mph in 4 seconds before becoming airborne and sliding out of control.

600 pounds of thrust no safety gear

The owner went on to say that the motors were on or off and that they were designed to burn all of the fuel in one 1/4 mile pass.  The drum brake the kart is fitted was more or less for show and so you had to make sure that the track you were running on had enough run out to keep you from pancaking into something.

The drivers wore a flame suit,helmet, and gloves and tossed their common sense out the window and held on for the ride.

So I believe those are the 2 oxygen tanks on either side with the capacitors in the midde which spark the plugs

Here’s the real kicker about this whole thing, the now owner says that he got it at a garage sale after several people passed it up, and while he wouldn’t say how much he payed I am guessing it was a lot less than what it’s currently worth considering they sold for about $1500 back then and there were only 5 or 6 said to have been built with only 3 or so remaining.

For those interested in learning a bit more about this cart and Turbonique check out the following links:
Rocket Karts
Vintagekarts.com
Turbonique
The Real Acme

I have reason to believe this same cart has been spotted before in Florida as well damn.

Site Updates

It’s been pretty quiet week. I’ve been slowly rolling out slight functionality/seo tweaks to the over all site but other than that nothing to out of the norm has happened.
I’ve sent a draft off to a photographer for approval and scoped out a photo shoot location for an upcoming featured ride yesterday was well.

Basically just keeping it rollin.

Flashback Friday

While not anywhere near as crazy as the kart posted above the last twin motored vehicle I posted was the Evolution Racing Twin Motor VR6.

Other than the amount of motors the only real similarity here is that I have never seen either move under their own power in person.

If you know where this car is holler.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I got a couple old pics of that V Dub on film. It was from Importfest when it was still in the dome. I myself never saw the car run at all. I also believe I got a old OLD performance auto sound with a article on it. If I find it I’ll send ya a copy

  2. HOW DO I DO IT? i know of a nother rocket kart that was sucsesful sported airo! it was piloted in the erly 70s by a guy from florida named cpt Jack McClure (i know kick ass name for a guy who’s day job was a fisherman right) it made more than 75passes making more than 3G of acselaration with 1000lb of thrust and hit 200mph in 6seconds with his feet placed foward of the front wheels it cost him 1000us$ to build and made him 2000$ a week sorry i dont have i digital pic 😉

  3. Unfortunately the go-kart is not one of the ‘original 7’ actually built by the company Turbonique and
    therefore it’s owner should not refer to it as such.
    It is in fact a Fox Kart that has had some turbonique parts attached to it.

  4. DaveT – The original Turbonique karts that used the Fox Kart chassis had a solid metal accelerator pedal welded to the frame…the cart shown still has the Fox Kart pedal and accelerator linkage attached. The original Turbonique karts that had the saddle tanks used fin type metal brackets welded to the frame…the cart shown has had some brackets (aluminum?) made that bolt to the floor pan. The cart shown also uses pod mounts that bolt to the frame…the original turbonique karts had pod mounts designed for and welded into the frame. The cart shown also has no anti-backfire valves in the fuel lines.
    While many pods were sold seperately and used to construct turbonique powered creations, only seven karts were build by the company Turbonique and used at exhibitions nationwide to advertise their products.
    Don’t get me wrong…this cart is a great find..! The pods are as rare as hen’s teeth..!
    I’ve owned one of the ‘original 7’ for the past 37 years now and recently started to restore it to it’s previous glory..:)
    Check out the forum at http://www.vintagekarts.com for a few pics.
    While the above info is…to my knowledge…as correct as I can remember, it is based on what little memory I have remaining..:)
    Katsu

  5. Katsu… I am the owner the kart that is being discussed here. When I purchased the kart from the best friend of the original owner, Dave Crowhurst, he told me that Dave ordered the kart new from Turbonique and had raced it from the mid 60’s until 1969. The kart was then mothballed as the NHRA banned them from the tracks they sanctioned. Without naming him here, the owner of a local speed shop has also confirmed, without my prompting, that Dave was the original owner and that Turbonique supplied the kart. This gentleman has also seen this kart in action back in the day. I do not doubt his credibility. Not to counter your expertise, but is it possible that the karts built for the “public” differed perhaps from the karts built for their in house marketing program. Also, there are in fact checkvalves in both the fuel and oxygen lines on my kart. The mounting brackets for the engines and the tanks also seem original, not something machined to fit parts onto the Fox frame.
    I certainly welcome more discussion on these topics.
    Rod

  6. Hello Rod

    Congratulations on such a great find..! Your cart does indeed have orginal Turbonique pods,
    tanks and ignition coils…my confusion lies with the frame and why it has a throttle control rod
    and clevis pinned to the throttle pedal. As I am sure you know, the pods have no throttle control
    and were ‘all on’ or ‘off’ by electrical switch activation.
    Here is some info…the best I can remember…about the frames used by Turbonique. (if and when
    I find my history folder I’ll supply more details)
    When Turbonique decided to sell the model FJ-2-A go-cart to the public, they outsourced the
    construction of seven Fox Kart frames. They would then assemble them…in house…with the pods
    and tanks as they were sold.
    Here is were the confusion of how many were build and how many still exist comes from…the
    company that was contracted to build the frames went out of business so it is unclear if all seven
    frames were delivered to Turbonique. And, at that time the Turbonique FJ-2-A karts were selling for
    almost $2000…about the price of a new Ford or Chevy…so it’s unclear of how many were actually
    assembled and bought by the public. Then, to top things off, Turbonique had some legal troubles
    and went out of business. Rumors have it that Turbonique and its distributors started to destroy
    their inventory to avoid any possible further liability and any unused frames met their demise.
    Therefore, my thoughts are that possibly a distributor built your kart instead of Turbonique in an effort
    to use up parts in inventory or perhaps to fulfil a purchase contract after Turbonique had already gone
    out of business.
    I am very interested in pursueing the history of your cart further and any info you can provide to help
    me document the history of these carts (or to correct any info I may already have) would be greatly
    appreciated..!

    Katsu
    katsu_miyao(at)yahoo(dot)com

  7. hello all

    neat stuff. i have a peroxide rocket kart with what looks like a rupp body but with what looks like a stronger / more complex frame setup, looks like stainless or chromolly. it looks like it is from the 60’s or 70’s and was known/painted as the “peroxide baby” cart. it had been on and off ebay for about the last 5 years with an insane price at first (45k!!!), thru the years the price came way WAY down to the point where i was able to get it. the old owner just did not have a lot of info about it, other than they bought it from some guy a few years back who was clearing out his property or warehouse or lot some time not too long after 9/11 and not too far from the towers. the kart was in new jersey. i have been having difficulty finding out any information on the car, but i got a pretty good lead, as there was a sponsor painted on the car which is still in business today. i will check with them, but in the meantime if anybody is interested or has any info on it, please email me at tuggytuggboat@yahoo.com

  8. I was shredding documents for the City of Ormond Beach last week. After shredding about a 150 boxes in their Vehicle Support Warehouse I noticed a go cart and then noticed the tanks, round engines, etc. I did a little research and it is an original Turbonique cart with twin thermolene motors on it. According to the city workers the fire deparment confiscated the cart from a boy going down the street with it. I offered to buy it, but according to the city the fire department would not permit the sale.

  9. I went to Orlando in the late 60’s and bought a turbonique c-2-a supercharger . I was going to use it on my 65 chevelle drag racer. Before I installed it , a garage fire destroyed my racing equipment. I still have the unused supercharger. I have the tech manuals , the sale catalog too. I paid $600 for it. I would let it go for the same dollar value today. This one may be the only one left that was never fired up in the U.S.

  10. Hello T J Fortner

    I would be interested in your supercharger.
    Send me an e-mail and we’ll talk.
    Thanks

    Katsu
    katsu_miyao(at)yahoo(dot)com

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