Bird Baja Go Kart

#1
My dad helped me drag out my old go kart. It is a Bird Baja, rode this all over our yard growing up. As far as I know it is mostly original except for the the steering wheel, which I modified as a teenager, so I could keep riding it even though I'd technically outgrown the kart. And possibly the front wheels and engine are not original. I've seen a few others on line with different front wheels, but it is kind of hard to find information on them. It has 5 hp Briggs that has been on it since we bought it at a auction back in the mid 90's. My plan is to get it fixed up, maybe repaint the frame in the future. I'll have to see if a local upholstery shop can replicate the molded foam seat. None of the ones I've seen online have a seat like mine.
 

Attachments

Last edited:
#3
@toomanytoys thanks, I had a blast with it growing up. The only reason I stopped riding it was I got my license and started focusing on cars and motorcycles at the time. But I wouldn't let my parents sell it. Too many good memories of power sliding around the yard and blasting through the harvested fields in the fall. I was pretty hard on it growing up but it took all the abuse and asked for more. We had a dirt dam around part of our yard to keep out water from the fields. I used to use it like a ramp and would jump the kart. Only broke 1 steering spindle bracket which we had re-welded. I don't think my back could take that anymore with no suspension. Ha ha
 
Last edited:

pomfish

Well-Known Member
#7
That kart is Bad Ass!
The pic from the front looks like Don Garlits could be strapped in ready to make a pass.
Love how the rollbar is real/welded, not some wussy pretend bolt on over sized but under built one like carter used.

Anyway thanks for the pictures and backstory.
Later,
Keith
 
#8
That kart is Bad Ass!
The pic from the front looks like Don Garlits could be strapped in ready to make a pass.
Love how the rollbar is real/welded, not some wussy pretend bolt on over sized but under built one like carter used.

Anyway thanks for the pictures and backstory.
Later,
Keith
Thanks and you're welcome. I've always liked the look of the kart. It is what drew me and my dad to it. It was prefect for blasting our 75 acre farm. From the little information I've been able to find. The engine is definitely not the original. Most likely was a Tecumseh 5hp. And it had a twist throttle originally, but that was long gone by the time I got it. I'll probably leave it with the pedal set up. Just what I'm used to now after all these years.
 

Harquebus

Well-Known Member
#9
Cool kart; have seen ones {Bird/Phoenix} like it but not exactly like it.

The Honda Odyssey style throttle and brake setup {on the wheel or is it handlebars?} is pretty legit but you said it had a twist {motorcycle style} throttle originally? That's pretty bizarre.

You're stuck with an "upright" style engine {e.g. a flathead} with that frame, so a Briggs, Tecumseh or maybe a Honda GC series seems like your only options.
An OHV 'clone' motor doesn't look feasible.

I'd strip it to clean it {soap and water} but would think long and hard about a repaint...unless you preserved all the decals {masked over them}.
 
#10
Cool kart; have seen ones {Bird/Phoenix} like it but not exactly like it.

The Honda Odyssey style throttle and brake setup {on the wheel or is it handlebars?} is pretty legit but you said it had a twist {motorcycle style} throttle originally? That's pretty bizarre.

You're stuck with an "upright" style engine {e.g. a flathead} with that frame, so a Briggs, Tecumseh or maybe a Honda GC series seems like your only options.
An OHV 'clone' motor doesn't look feasible.

I'd strip it to clean it {soap and water} but would think long and hard about a repaint...unless you preserved all the decals {masked over them}.
Originally it didn't have a steering wheel. It had a T handlebar. I had to cut it off when I was about 13, so I could continue to ride it. I was too tall for the frame and the handlebars would hit my thighs and prevent me from being able to turn properly. I had the old butterfly steering wheel laying around from an older kart of mine. At the time the best solution was to just bolt the brake levers to the steering wheel. It ended up working out well. After finding the ad for the Baja Magnum and it mentioning a twist throttle that made a lot of sense with the original handlebar set up. Though someone converted it to a pedal throttle long before I bought the kart, I assume at the same time the 5 hp briggs was added. I'll definitely keep the briggs I've always liked those engines and the kart was always pretty peppy. If I do a repaint I was either going to mask off the decal or remake the graphic myself and see if a vinyl printing shop can print it for me. I know I'll never find a NOS or aftermarket replacement.
 
#11
I only took a couple pictures of the go kart when I was kid. Not something you think about when you are a child in the years before there were cameras in every phone. I'll have to see if I can locate the pictures at my parent's house next time I'm there. The original steering set up was like a T. I marked up the picture of the Baja Magnum as a reference.
 

Attachments

Harquebus

Well-Known Member
#15
Pretty cool mods. You did what you had to do to keep riding the thing. I wouldn't feel bad about keeping the butterfly wheel and the foot controls. It's "original" mods for the time period. I think you have to have Herculean strength to make the hand brake work well though. Totally possible though, with kids born in the 70s, not so much today with the video game generation who only have calloused thumbs. :oops:

Found this for sale not far from me. Someone has lengthened and modified the front end on this one. Also the comet torque converter is missing as well. But is shows how the original steering is set up. It still has the twist throttle.
Yikes. 9 out of 10 fun karts in online ads have the air cleaner and usually the fuel cap removed, but it's especially true if it's a Briggs engine.
Water goes in the carb throat and into the combustion chamber but it usually results in a stuck intake valve.
 
#16
I think you have to have Herculean strength to make the hand brake work well though. Totally possible though, with kids born in the 70s, not so much today with the video game generation who only have calloused thumbs. :oops:
@Harquebus, I know what you mean. When I got this go kart I really liked the hand brakes/band brakes. They worked much better than the scrub brake on my previous go karts. They also made it super easy with the bigger engine and tires to power slide around my yard growing up.


Yikes. 9 out of 10 fun karts in online ads have the air cleaner and usually the fuel cap removed, but it's especially true if it's a Briggs engine.
Water goes in the carb throat and into the combustion chamber but it usually results in a stuck intake valve.
I have noticed this as well. My theory is that the seller attempts to start the engine first, so they remove the air filter to use starting fluid. Once they fail and get frustrated, they snap a few quick pictures and put the item up for sale. But... I've also come across small engines that have been outside sitting unprotected without an air filter for years.
 
#17
Progress has been going pretty slow. Work has really picked up for me the last few months and I have a bad habit of starting multiple projects at the same time in general. Ha ha Also it's turned off cold here and my shop isn't heated. Now that the excuses are out of the way.

The old go kart has been sitting quite awhile at my parent's and the fuel has gone bad. I siphoned most of it out. But there was still a lot of sediment in the tank. That I've been working on removing. I'll probably have to pull the tank off to really clean it properly.
 

Attachments

Top