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Second Chance: 1970s Margay Go Kart

If this vintage go kart is a familiar sight to you, you’re not seeing things: we featured it last year for a higher price tag, and it looks like not much has changed. However, we do have a bit more info courtesy of Barn Finds readers who commented on the original post and helped to identify this no-name kart as a 1970s Margay model. You can read the original post here on Barn Finds, where it’s clear our readers were correct that the original four-figure asking price was a non-starter for even the most committed go kart enthusiast. You can find the new listing here on eBay where the asking price has been dropped to $900.

One of our eagle-eyed readers helped identify the nameless go kart as a Margay, and included a link to the full model range here on Margay.com. It’s clear this one has been modified and sports some cool in-period modifications, but it’s also suffered a bit for all of its time in storage. Namely, there’s no engine and the likely irreplaceable fiberglass cowl has been damaged. The single racing seat shows signs of wear, and the seller notes that it only comes with “part” of the exhaust. The kart is a very cool piece that was likely used in competitive events back in the day, but it’s more of a parts rig now or a total restoration project.

I briefly dabbled with go kart ownership, and even mentioned that I had an old-school replica of a Chevy G20 van wearing marketing livery from Wrangler Jeans. I’ll be honest: I didn’t even remove it from the shipping crate before deciding to sell it, as my lifestyle was simply too overwhelmed (and still is) with vehicles of the four wheeled variety. Still, I see the appeal of restoring one of these karts, as they’re not all that different from a vintage period sports car, with a wide assortment of period-correct hop-up parts and an enthusiastic audience of owners who will both help you restore one and chase you down at the local karting course. It looks like a fun hobby, and vintage karts like these get lots of thumbs up.

The trouble with them is that like any other slightly obscure obsession, it’s not really a hobby you get into for the money. Yes, there are outliers in terms of preservation-grade vintage go karts that will command four figures, but those are few and far between. The rest of them often end up like this, half restored or partially torn apart. This one is still priced a touch too high at the moment, especially considering the seller just found it as part of an estate clean-out. I am never one to waver in my asking price, and I will never hold it against anyone for holding out for top dollar – but I managed to squeak out $500 for a cart with a motor of unknown health and an undamaged body, so the asking price may still be a touch high.


  1. JimmyJ

    I bought my kid one of these a couple years ago ,no motor or seat but wheels,brakes and steering I think $80 cdn or so pretty cheap.
    Long story short he bought a 77 Yamaha yz400 and him and 2 buddies actually jammed that motor in there and got it running,shifting and kinda stopping they were 15 years old
    I couldn’t be more proud!
    He said it’s the fastest thing he’s ever been on and he’s had lots of fast bikes including the ninja 650 I saved for him after I bought my new Honda cb650r.
    He’s a gear head and I taught him well.

    Like 11
  2. JimmyJ

    I just read my old reply apparently I paid $160 and he did start with the 200 panther but that went in his mini bike after he bought the yz
    He has one YouTube video of his build but not of it finished ,I’ve been bugging him to post it running but he hasn’t yet.

    Like 1
  3. BigDoc Richard Van Dyke Sr

    Asking price is ridiculous.

    Like 0
  4. Snafuracer

    I started off with a Margay cart with a Mcullough chainsaw engine back in the early 80’s. Dad would chase me in his fancy Hartman/Yamaha but couldn’t catch me! Weight was a factor, since I was 12 but boy did we have fun!

    Like 4

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