Every so often you stumble on some real great YouTube gems—like an exceptional explainer video of what karting is that came directly from 1960s Britain. Buckle in, race fans, because this is the most unintentionally hilarious thing you’ll see all day.
I don’t even know where to begin here. You’re just going to have to take a look for yourself:
We start off with an exceptional scene: one man working on the underside of his car (“he loves it,” the voice over proclaims, in case we were unsure) in what must be the most appropriate automotive tinkering outfit possible; a button-down shirt and a tie.
The big conceit here is that all these fellas working on the family car or stuck in traffic are secretly dreaming about One Thing: working on a racing team. Young or old, everyone wants to to be a race car driver.
Well, they’re in luck! All it takes is a little money and some ingenuity, and you, too, can buy your very own super-fast racing machine: a go-kart!
We then move into scenes on the track which I have to admit are really damn cool. Karts back then were no-nonsense pieces of equipment. All you really needed was enough frame to hold a seat and an engine. There were no protective measures taken. All you needed was just a couple of welded pipes and a speedy engine, and you were ready to hit the track.
Seriously. That was it. At one point, the voiceover mentions that you’ll need all the proper equipment to be able to race. The video includes a track official rotating someone’s head, checking they have gloves on, and zipping up their jacket. Great news, kid: you’re good to go!
It was a more innocent time. In the video, karting is referred to as one of the last truly amateur sports in Britain, with father-and-son or husband-and-wife teams showing up to the track with their kart stuffed into the back of their station wagon. I can’t imagine that’s quite as true nowadays, given that karts have become pretty damn expensive and are one of the talent scouting fields for big-name series like Formula One.
Which is why it’s nice that we have these old videos to remind us of the old days.