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Early Cyclekart racing?

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WesR Wes Raynor
Leicester, Leics., UK   GBR
These cars were called 'Art Smith Baby Cars' apparently. Built in San Francisco, raced in Japan, with replica Fiat, Peugeot, etc. bodies.
Lots more info on The Old Motor.com

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Huvius Avatar
Huvius Ben Hill
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA   USA
Miloschmitty Avatar
Miloschmitty Todd Manoff
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
These were amazing little machines, i have been collecting history on these for a number of years.
I am surprised more of them haven't survived. Note the "AS" (Art Smith) on the right shoulder of the cover-alls. All of Art's "baby boys" had this logo on there outfits.
I saw a body of one of these at a swap meet a few years back. Was pretty rough and fellow wanted to much $$ for what was there. I'll try to dig out photos of it and post. They say these baby cars cost $2000 back in 1920. Model T was about $400, so they were a pricey machine. What would that calculate in today's dollars ??
Guess that's why we're all building the economy model version today with our cyclekarts.
Todd
Santa Cruz, Ca.

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Woodysrods Silver Member Brian Woods
Westbank B.C., Canada   CAN
These look way to cool.
What powered them?
Brian














t

Huvius Avatar
Huvius Ben Hill
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA   USA
Motorbike engines.
I am pretty sure that most used Indian Powerplus engines eventually.

Woodysrods Silver Member Brian Woods
Westbank B.C., Canada   CAN
Reading more about them on the net, finds that they had a 60" wheelbase, 40" track, and 30" high.
Sound familiar?
Brian

Miloschmitty Avatar
Miloschmitty Todd Manoff
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
Yes that is correct. They used early motorcycle engines from Harley Davidson, Indian, some had Henderson 4-cyl motorcycle engines.
I imagine it was quite toasty inside with your legs wrapped around that 71ci air cooled V-twin.
Todd
Santa Cruz, ca

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Miloschmitty Avatar
Miloschmitty Todd Manoff
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
Here is the miget racer body I saw at a swap meet in 2010. Body is similar to the Art Smith/ Wing Miget chassis style. So likely had a V-twin originally. Unfortunately this is all that was left of it. Not sure if the Model T steering was original to this car or not. Seller had no history about it.
Todd
Santa Cruz, ca.


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Huvius Avatar
Huvius Ben Hill
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA   USA
I noticed the dimensions too.
I think using a similar layout is doable and it certainly would be easy to duct air through the front of the car and shroud the engine to keep your feet from touching the engine. Wouldn't really be any hotter to your feet than a motorcycle or mini bike.
Sure would be fun to build one like that.

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moto-klasika Avatar
moto-klasika Zoran R. Pualic
Bern, Bern, Switzerland   CHE
Hello there,
Attached is photo with one of baby-racers (Baby Vanderbilt racers) from 1914-15 with Harley- Davidson engine - quite well visible wooden chassis with steel reinforcements. I couldn't be sure, but such engines could have some 30-35 HP giving speeds well over 100 km/hour? In spite of simple construction, they were quite serious and fast racers? Look as grandpas of CycleKarts, but on steroids? Maybe a way to "develop" CycleKarts in to real racing machines, with modern motorcycle engines of course? They didn't need serious brakes - should we?



Attached is a pair of photos with something more modern micro-racers, from thirties...

Ciao,
Zoran

P.S.: Short film that fired my imagination about building one soap-box racer (with engine if opossible):



"This film, named ‘Kid Auto Race‘, set a couple of significant milestones in cinema history. It was the first time the world ever saw Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” character, a character who would go on to feature in over a dozen films and be remembered as one of the great icons of 20th century cinema.

It was also the first time that a camera crew were filmed actually filming, during a film. Chaplin had 2 camera crews on this shoot and both were shooting real film, he alternated by using one of the crews as a prop (when he stands in front of the camera, annoying them).

Perhaps most interestingly, this was all filmed at a real auto race. It was the 1914 Junior Vanderbilt Cup, a baby-cart race in California. There were no stunt doubles or extras, it was all filmed in real time and as you can see in the film, Charlie Chaplin nearly gets hit on more than one occasion by a speeding cart.
"



Zoran R. Pualić
(mostly living in Bern, Swiss & happy in my Belgrade, Serbia)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-01-08 10:40 AM by moto-klasika.


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Topper2011 Avatar
Topper2011 Roland Young
Los Altos, CA, USA   USA
Nice find! Thanks for posting the pictures of the girls, oh and the cars were nice too.smiling bouncing smiley



"Man plans, God laughs"

Miloschmitty Avatar
Miloschmitty Todd Manoff
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
Thanks for posting the film clips. Great stuff.
Interesting how he flips the baby racer on its side to change a wheel and it doesn't stall out. How did that engine keep running with the carb on it's side I wonder ?
Another I always wondered was how they started the baby racers. These V-twin engines in the original early "Cyclecar's" , During testing, in 1913 & 1914 were difficult to start when hand cranking to start.
It wasn't till the Atwater Kent Unisparker system was incorporated on the V-twin engines were they successful in hand cranking to start the engines. Remember the early motor cycles used a stand to lift the rear wheel off the ground then you would climb on, peddle like a bicycle as you engaged the clutch to start the engine.
Perhaps they towed or push-started to get them fired up.
Regards
Todd
SC, Ca.

Miloschmitty Avatar
Miloschmitty Todd Manoff
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
In the Charlie Chaplin film. The second smaller of the two cars racing could possibly be a Browniekar made in Newark, NY.
Todd
SC, Ca.

CmdBentaxle Avatar
CmdBentaxle Dave D
Federal Way, WA, USA   USA
1950 CycleKart Italian "1950 Ferrari 166 F2"
I believe I see the Kickstart lever right above where gas pedal would be.

Dave

Miloschmitty Avatar
Miloschmitty Todd Manoff
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
You may be correct. I noticed the pedal and assumed it was either an accelerator or brake pedal. Perhaps a gear reduction.
Thanks.
Todd
SC,Ca.

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