How to Build a Vintage Go Kart

Updated April 17, 2017

You can make a simple, fast and easy-to-drive go kart with the extra wood around your garage. Go karts do not have to be made out of metal or be difficult to build. Include an engine for a fast-driving go kart, or build a gravity-powered wood go kart for fun on your neighbourhood hills. Vintage go karts often do not use engines, but small engines from lawnmowers can power their drive train if you prefer.

Cut wood for the body of the go kart. The base of the kart should be at least 2 feet wide by 4 feet long. The sides will need to be 4 feet long and you can design the shape to slope down toward the front. For a vintage go kart feel, use plywood to design the shape of it. The front piece of plywood should be shorter than the back to allow for better aerodynamics.

Assemble plywood pieces to form the go kart body. Use 2-inch screws to attach the plywood pieces of the frame to each other. This is best done by using 1-by-1 supports in the corners. The 1-by-1 wood is not necessary but will provide more stability.

Attach the wheels to steel rods that act as the axles for your vintage go kart. Use one bushing and one bolt on each end of the wheels.

Attach wheels to the body of your go kart. Using one axle assembly for each wheel, attach the axle directly to the plywood go kart frame. Tighten bolts securely to ensure the axles and wheel will not loosen.

Using a steering wheel bracket, attach the steering column directly to the front axle. The steering system is an essential part of a vintage go kart because it does not have brakes. Be certain to attach all bolts securely.

Screw in the seat to the plywood go kart base. Add a seat belt for safety and you are ready ride.

Paint your vintage go kart to add your own style to the design. Use exterior paints and add a varnish to finish the top coat and help the paint last longer.


The basic rectangle design allows for ease in attaching wheels and the seating area. If you are feeling more adventurous, consider designing it in the shape of the letter "I" with a narrow middle on which to mount your seat.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 Wheels
  • 3 Steel rods
  • 8 bushings (to fit steel rods)
  • 8 bolts (to fit steel rods)
  • 8 2-inch screws
  • 4-by-8 foot sheet of plywood
  • 16 linear feet of 1-by-1 wood
  • Steering wheel
  • Seat
  • Seat belt
  • 4 Axle bolt assemblies
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About the Author

Lindsay Zortman has worked as a writer since 2001. Her work focuses on topics about cancer, children, chemical dependency, real estate, finance, family issues and other health-related topics. She is a featured writer with the National Brain Tumor Foundation. Zortman is a nationally certified counselor and holds a Master of Arts in counseling from the University of South Dakota.