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EVANS KARTS

'Evans Kompetition Karts, track tested, trophy proved, the finest, fastest, and best handling karts ever built'; so proclaimed the 1961 Evans sales brochure.
Photos: Frank Weir or as credit.

In 1958 Walt Strange owned a successful lawn, garden and pet supply store located in Highland Park Illinois, a suburb approximately 24 miles north of downtown Chicago on the edge of Lake Michigan. His younger brother Herb helped in the business and their mother Lois came in a few days a week to assist with the bookkeeping. The company was known as the Evans Garden and Pet Supply Store.

Whilst on vacation Herb saw a kart, took a ride and enjoyed the thrill. A few months later a sales person from a lawnmower manufacturer called at Walt’s store and casually mentioned a kart that his company was manufacturing. Walt was unimpressed; after all his shop was a lawn and garden store, not a toy shop. Nevertheless at Herb’s insistence Walt bought a couple of karts just to have at the store should someone ask about them. Even though the two karts were on prominent display at Walt’s premises no one showed any interested in the karts. After a few months Herb cajoled Walt into taking the karts out to a parking lot to provide Walt with his first experience of karting.

Herb was already a kart addict after his vacation ride and an authority by karting standards at that time. The two karts were packed into the back of the business delivery truck and off went the brothers in search of a parking lot to try the karts. They soon found a suitable venue, got on the karts and before they had made two laps they had attracted a gallery of potential buyers.

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