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Quite coincidentally, given the recent SIA Flashback on Brooks Stevens, we recently heard from Dan Flanders of the Vintage Karting Archives regarding his Excalibur Formula Kart Experimental, a one-off kart designed by Stevens and built and raced by Roy Besasie Jr., the son of Stevens’s body builder. Dan wrote:
Ray Sr. formed the bodies for a number Brooks early race cars as well as the Excalibur. From what I can gather, Brooks designed several go kart chassis during the early 60’s. The most common is called the Excalibur was designed for the Gilson snow blower company and was produced sometime in 1960 or 1961. A couple years later, Brooks designed two additional chassis, one based on a King Kart frame and a second totally unique frame of his own design. Both karts were at the Stevens Museum, but at some point were sold to a collector in Texas. The King Kart derived chassis went to a karting museum in Holland and the second is in my collection.
The kart was powered by twin West Bend 820 (8.2 cu/in or 135cc) 2-cycle motors each with dual carburetors ported to run methanol. The motors probably put out about 20-25 hp each which would give the kart a top speed of about 130mph (!!!!!!!!!!). The collection tanks under the steering column and behind the seat kept the motors from fuel starvation under braking and on banked turns.
The karts were built by Ray Beasise Jr. when he was 17. Ray Sr. was a master sheet-metal man and Jr. obviously picked it up as well. I spoke with Ray Jr. about a year ago and he told me that the tanks are hand formed aluminum and welded with oxyacetylene, a technique that was used during WWII in the aircraft industry. The oxyacetylene annealed the aluminum and prevented the weld from becoming too brittle to form like it would with MIG or TIG welding. This technique allowed him to form the radical tank shapes.
Dan also sent us a couple videos of him racing his vintage karts, which we’ve included after the jump.
First, Dan in a 1969 Margay New Breed Sprint kart at Virginia International Raceway.
The motor is a McCulloch 91mc (100cc) running on rock hard 60 durometer tires. Top speed was about 65-75mph (but feels like 150mph)
Next, Dan in a 1966 Dart Chapparal Enduro with a West Bend 820 at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Georgia.