1978 Fun Wheels Inc. Subaru BRAT Promotional Go-Kart

Status
Not open for further replies.

The Professor

New member
Messages
20
Reaction score
1
Location
Cascadia
Hello everyone, new member here with an old kart.

I got into the vintage Subaru game about 14 years ago (Real Subarus, not karts). The idea was to find a cheap 4WD car that could get me up to the ski slopes and maybe some light off-roading. One day I stumbled across the USMB and it was as if Pandora's box had opened and I dove head first into Subarudom. I came across an old "Subarus of the 80's" webpage and the moment my eyes locked onto the Fun Wheels BRAT go kart, I knew that one day I would own one, if I could ever find one.

So I started searching. They would pop up every now and again; "BRAT Kart body for sale," "BRAT kart, no engine," "I have this neat fiberglass BRAT kart body, but it's been cut up into pieces, FOR SALE OBO." And so it went... Most of those karts that did come up for sale were stupid expensive, or were on the East coast. And so with a heavy heart I pushed the BRAT kart dream to the back burner, where it would simmer for years.

Fast forward to last week and I find not one, BUT TWO brat karts for sale, and one of them was in Washington state! The description said that it ran and drove, but needed some work. The only two photos in the auction showed what looked to be a pretty well preserved barn find of a kart! After a brief email exchange with the seller, it was clear that this was going to be my kart. A few days later the auction was over and I was the proud new owner of the kart. When I took delivery of the kart the seller informed me that he had been contacted by a local scrap dealer. She told the seller about a running BRAT that she had for sale and he agreed to buy it from her, thinking it was a full-size BRAT and not a kart.

After I took possession of the kart and had a chance to look it over I was impressed with how well cared for the kart looked. Some spider cracks in the gel coat, a few small cracks in the fiberglass body. Somebody used the original seat as a step and broke it, but I still have the shell. The kart is powered by a Briggs & Stratton Model 90702 3 hp engine that doesn't appear to be original (build date is 02/23/1987). The only thing I can tell that was missing were a few of the body-mounting bolts.

I cleaned and lubed the drive chain, rewound the starting rope, replaced the body hardware and lubed up all the bearings and cables. Despite having horribly cracked tires and a piece of wood for a temporary seat, this thing is a blast! Easily my finest Subaru purchase to date!

There doesn't seem to be much info out on the web about Fun Wheels and, although limited by the "four-or-more character" search function, I haven't found any references to this brand of kart on this forum.



 

Hellion

Disc brakes are for cowards
Messages
4,884
Reaction score
34
Miss Hurst Shifter 1979 welcomes you to the club, and to the forum!

 

Attachments

  • Miss Hurst Shifter 1979.jpg
    Miss Hurst Shifter 1979.jpg
    103.4 KB · Views: 26

Hellion

Disc brakes are for cowards
Messages
4,884
Reaction score
34
Those tires you have are commonly referred to as "sawtooth" and are the closest one can get to the old bias-ply or early all-season radial automobile tires of days gone by. Still available too and are a nice compromise between slick and knobby tires.
 

chancer

ɔ ɥ ɐ u ɔ ǝ ɹ
Messages
9,358
Reaction score
3
Location
COMFORT, TEXAS
The tires are available at MFG supply.

Pretty much, from what I've seen on the forum, Fun Wheels seem to be the prominent makers of gokarts with bodies." IIRC they are usually a simple manco frame underneath.
 

Hellion

Disc brakes are for cowards
Messages
4,884
Reaction score
34
Are you gonna leave it as-is (as a sort of time capsule) or do a little touch up like reconditioning the rims and refurbishing the decals?
 

chancer

ɔ ɥ ɐ u ɔ ǝ ɹ
Messages
9,358
Reaction score
3
Location
COMFORT, TEXAS
By the way I just read that fun wheels Karts under the Body are "streaker" karts. At last some were:thumbsup:
 

The Professor

New member
Messages
20
Reaction score
1
Location
Cascadia
Are you gonna leave it as-is (as a sort of time capsule) or do a little touch up like reconditioning the rims and refurbishing the decals?

For the time being, I think I'll leave it as-is. I'm taking it to the West Coast Subaru Show in August in August, so it might get a nice polish, but not much else.

Before I go crazy restoring this thing (If I ever do) I'd like to fix the damage to the fiberglass body, then pull a mold of the body so I can pop out a few spares. After that I might refurbish the frame, figure out a seat, larger engine, etc.

It runs and drives as it sits, so for now I will just enjoy it for the rest of the summer, then perhaps it will become my winter project.


Chancer, I will have to look up the Manco Streaker, see if I can find a parts list or service manual. The brake seems to need some adjustment, it will lock the one wheel, but is far from progressive (Maybe more due to the ancient tires?)

The centrifugal clutch is REALLY slow to grab, so it is most likely out of adjustment. When you push the kart with the engine off, the clutch housing rattles something fierce and really limits how quickly you can push the kart around.

The other issue is the pull starter. Once the engine starts there is an awful, loud screeching noise that seems to coincide with the starter cord not recoiling right away. Once the cord recoils, the noise is gone.
 

Hellion

Disc brakes are for cowards
Messages
4,884
Reaction score
34
Chancer, I will have to look up the Manco Streaker, see if I can find a parts list or service manual.

If you look up "Manco Streaker", you will find that that's a mini-bike. I think he was just trying to be cheeky in saying that underneath the car body the kart is naked.

However, Streaker is also the model name of a Ken-Bar go kart. Maybe that's what he meant? You just can't tell with certain forum weirdos sometimes...

 

chancer

ɔ ɥ ɐ u ɔ ǝ ɹ
Messages
9,358
Reaction score
3
Location
COMFORT, TEXAS
No My first post said "If" I recall they are a Manco.
My second post (after some looking) said some are a "Streaker" Yes made by Ken bar.
Never did I say Manco Streaker.
Sorry for the confusion.
 

The Professor

New member
Messages
20
Reaction score
1
Location
Cascadia
So what is my best be for finding out what kind of kart this is?

I'm not sure how much play is supposed to be in the wheel bearings, and if they're not too damaged I can probably pull the information off the housing, but it sure would be nice to find a scanned owners manual somewhere.
 

landuse

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
18,577
Reaction score
133
Location
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
I am not sure if you are ever going to ID it. I have googles and failed, and the fact that nobody is even trying means they have probably failed too. You are probably just going to have to go generic
 

Mikegtrxu1

(Non) qualified hack
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Location
Nsw, Aus
Thats actually so cool! I love old car memorabilia like this. Never heard of car firms building promotional go karts though. Id keep it as a time capsule. Maybe make it safe as far as the running gear, tires, ect. are concerned but yeah leave the patina.
 

Hellion

Disc brakes are for cowards
Messages
4,884
Reaction score
34
More photos, please Professor. Preferably "naked" photos of the chassis and engine with the body lifted off.

Your screeching noise may in fact be the starter clutch. Briggs recommends a drop or two of oil in the hole on the end of the starter clutch 'boss'.

This video produced by a mumbling teenager actually mentions oiling the felt pad (@4:20) that is located in the end of the starter boss but he also mistakenly leaves the interior and the balls wet with WD-40 when it needs to be dry. Six seconds later he blasts the felt pad out with his trusty WD-40... just a comedy of errors.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz7RUU_-YSc
 

The Professor

New member
Messages
20
Reaction score
1
Location
Cascadia
Last weekend I took the BRAT kart to the West Coast Subaru Show and entered it in the show 'n' shine. In the 18 year history of the event nobody had ever brought a BRAT kart, and suffice it to say, people were impressed!

I wasn't sure what class to put it in; BRAT, Other, etc., so I was quite surprised when they announced that the little BRAT kart had won the Judge's Choice award! Not bad considering I didn't even wash the thing before the show, hahaha!

Award winners:


Judge's Choice:



Not only that, but I also found the original promotional TV commercial on youtube!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top