Go-karts are awesome. Some parts and a lawnmower engine can generate a ton of good times for kids and even adults. In fact, for many kids this is how they get hooked on hot rodding. But what if the kid’s a bit ahead of the performance curve?
Well, then you end up with this insane LS-powered Vector go-kart. We’ve seen some crazy LS swaps, but this one has to be near the top of the list. It also tops the “Why didn’t we think of this first” list. Making this more amazing is that it was imagined, and built, by two teen kids!
Yep, Travis Flannery and Joseph Blum went to Tractor Supply, grabbed a Vector go-kart, reengineered the back half, and stuffed in a Vortec mill from an SUV. They got the idea at a prior LS Fest where they saw another LS-powered kart and wanted to see if they could do something similar. Eleven months later, and they had this crazy kart.
The wheelie bars aren’t just for laughs. Given the hp-to-weight ratio, short wheelbase, and rear weight bias, they are most certainly required. And it does drive. They drove into the 2020 Holley LS Fest, and the duo has had it up to 40 mph, but it was a bit sketchy at that speed. Ya think? We’re pretty sure the Vector go-kart was never designed to go that fast.
Power from the LS feeds the kart directly off the crankshaft, which is mated to a pulley on the rear axle. The pair fabricated an idler pulley with e-brake linkage to make it all work. Tightening the belt moves the kart forward, while releasing the belt allows it to slip and idle freely.
Version 1.0 had a solid axle, but like a drag car with a spool, the kart was hard to turn. So, they added a custom manual locker. The exhaust manifolds are from a Chevy SSR and a C5 Corvette, while custom copper piping moves coolant from the engine to an Acura-sourced radiator. The brakes came from a Honda Civic. They told us that there’ve broken three axles so far, but to be honest that might be more of a safety feature than a problem.
The pair of junior gearheads are working with the mayor in their home town to get this approved for the local roadways, so don’t be shocked if you see it pass you by some day. It’s nice to see the next generation of hot rodders out there wrenching and turning automotive fantasies into reality.