By Ron Kregoski
No one would disagree that the car hobby is growing by leaps and bounds. Just look at how many more cars you see every year at the classic car events and all the new products being offered. The hot rod and classic car hobby is not only growing, it is also very fluid, as can be witnessed in how it morphs into new areas. Now that the cruising season is off and running, I started thinking about what’s really new. Well, it’s not a new color, kit car or set of billet wheels. It’s personalized golf carts!
Now, you may ask, what do golf carts have in common with the car hobby? Well, for one they have four wheels. Two, they are motorized. Three, they are cropping up at outdoor car events in increasing numbers.
Why carts? Well, one reason I suppose is that they offer a more manageable vehicle to customize. That is, they are more simple and their parts are cheaper. Another reason is that they are increasingly becoming a necessity as car enthusiasts continue to age. Also, they are cheap. That is, they can be cheap. You can pay big bucks for custom cart that looks like a Dodge Ram truck, Viper, Lamborghini or an Escalade with AC, custom paint and an AM/FM/CD radio.
Also, golf carts do offer a more manageable vehicle, in terms of cost and complexity, in which to express one’s individuality. One look at Woodward on Dream Cruise Saturday should answer that. I witnessed more variety and outlandish golf cars whizzing down Woodward than I did customs or rods. A couple of years ago there was that one red and white 55/56 Ford cart that matched the owner’s car. At last year’s Cruise, I saw it and a couple of blue and white ’55, ’56 and ’57 Chevys cruising together. Could this be the making of a new club?
When you compare the cast for a set 20” wheels for your street ride to a set of fancy wheels for a golf cart, well, there is no comparison. While maybe you can’t get 20” wheels, there are a growing number of suppliers making larger, billet wheels for golf carts. A perusal of the Internet will reveal several sizes of custom wheels, suspension upgrades, lifts, more powerful electric motors, and final gear changes. This may portend the dawn of electric vehicle rodding.
Finally, there is no doubt about it, golf carts offer practicality if not fun. Either car event organizers are adding more acreage to a show’s venue or I’m becoming increasingly invalid. Well, there’s probably some truth to both. But seriously, having a golf cart to take you to review the cars all day sure keeps the dogs from barking at night. There are so many cars appearing at show nowadays that there is not enough time to see them all. Having something to take you to them makes it possible, especially when you want to go back and take a second look at that special car or talk to the owner. As someone who writes articles, I find myself doing the grounds 8-10 times in order to interview owners or check facts.
All in all, the future looks bright for golf cars, both electric and gas powered. The following represents just some of the carts I’ve seen this year. And who knows? Someday we may even be hearing. “Gentlemen, start your carts”