Core77's Carly Ayres writes about Douglas Varey's modern interpretation of a 1923 racecar using Xorel.

Although go-kart racing peaked in the 1950's and eventually faded out over the following decade, industrial designer Douglas Varey, amongst others, is keeping the art alive.

Varey is the design director of Resolute, a lighting company that produces decorative lighting for architectural specification. "With the economic collapse [in 2008], I suddenly had less to do," he says. "I was sniffing around for a project that I might be able to get my daughter involved with. She was 11 at the time." Since then, he spends his spare time building go-karts inspired by history, using re-purposed materials, frugal ingenuity, electric motors, and anything else he can get his hands on.

Varey set his sights on go-karts because it is a hands-on, complex, yet feasible endeavor he could take on at home using his existing tools and skillset.

"The first car was a tremendous learning experience," he says. With each car he builds, Varey begins by looking for new challenges or skills to master.

His latest car is appropriately named "Austin Boulogne"; it is modeled after a fleet of cars that English motor company Austin sent to France to compete in the 1923 Boulogne Grand Prix. Varey begins by selecting a car or model for inspiration. "The idea is to then create a believable caricature that captures the original's spirit," he says.

After making a steel frame, Varey uses light marine Okume plywood—inspired by early aircrafts—for bodywork. He then wraps the Austin Boulogne in Xorel. Created as an alternative to vinyl, the fabric is PVC-free and the result of Carnegie's commitment to sustainability. "Xorel is the proprietary product of innovative textile manufacturer Carnegie," Varey says. "We use Xorel extensively in my company's products. It is a wonderful material I know well. I thought it would be fun to try it on something completely different."

These materials keep the car running light while still maintaining a high level of durability.

Read the full article on Core77.

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