KFA100cc & Co.: heroic karts and a growing business

Columns: Zoom
Interest in 100cc karts is growing and groups of enthusiasts are flourishing on social networks. A thriving second-hand market has given new life to karts long forgotten in garages.

The recent rebirth and the ever-increasing appeal the evocative categories of 90s-era karts are exercising reminds us in some ways of the phenomenon of "L’eroica", a famous cycling event established around the vintage or historical racing bicycle, and to the same extent, not only in Italy, home of manufacturers and plenty of history as regards both these means, many have now returned to the second-hand market with added lustre. In this case, however, we are not talking about a classic second-hand vehicle. It is not the kind of vehicle anyone can just buy to go have fun on any given Sunday.
 
Often it is the basis of a long and painstaking restoration work until, in some cases, the creation of a mechanical and aesthetic masterpiece is complete. We met Augusto D'Antinone, aged 40, a former driver, now manager and recreational driver, in his atelier in Monza; in addition to showing us his prized “jewel” collection, he shared with us some “musts” as regards the choice of chassis and engines, considering that “being from the 90s” is not enough to make it a gem. On the contrary: it could be, in fact, simple decades-old scrap metal.
 
First of all, there is a basic distinction to be made between vehicles that have already been restored or that need to be restored. The primary aspect to consider when buying one of these frames, as with kart frames in general, is that the frame is not 'crooked', since it may not work as expected on the track. Very important in these terms are the seat-connecting tubes and, above all, the distance from the spindle to the rear support. If possible, for a frame to deserve attention beyond how it looks aesthetically, the difference between one side and the other should not exceed 2mm.
 
As for the body, another obvious assessment that should be made - this purely indicative of how “used” the vehicle actually is - is on the underside: many scratches, dents, obvious paint strips on the underside (if it has not been replaced with a new one ) clearly tell us something more about the level of wear on the frame.
 
Concerning the strictly more functional part of a vehicle not used for years, what requires a complete overhaul is the braking system, at least in the components most affected by a long stop: pump and hoses as well as the pads, of course. The KFA Series, where the rules are extremely strict on compliance with the old regulations and homologations, grants exemption to the braking systems, as it is a matter of safety, pure and simple. And in fact, there are several compatible brake pumps that allow the brakes of these little "monsters" to be restored to full efficiency.
 
Pods and supports are not always in excellent condition. Still a leader in the sector, KG still sells the KG02 model fairings which make it possible to refurbish even the most eye-catching part of the kart, which could then be enriched with vintage stickers including, unfailingly, that of Vroom. Indeed, Augusto, proudly showing us his thirty-year collection of Vroom, issues he jealously preserves, revealed to us how often it is the old photos published in the magazine's issues that provide the inspiration for a perfect reproduction of the stickers and race numbers. And if, as in the case of some karts we have seen, there is a sticker with the original name of the driver, well, certain things are priceless. And timeless.
 
As for the engine, we enter the field that in Italy we call "a closed box", in the sense that the unknowns are less easy, compared to the chassis, to identify. A bad external appearance could lead you to think the worst (broken cooling fins, dirt and grease, etc.) but it is the internal measurements of the piston to be really important - ask, if possible - and in any case, where there is no certified and documented intervention, a full overhaulunder/over of the entire engine (piston, cage, bearings, connecting rod, oil seals) should be budgeted in.
 
That done, lights on in the tool shed, music loud, work begins

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Created by: scorradengo - 08/02/22

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