Yamaha G1 Restoration Project

Before After

My daughter Laura has wanted a go-kart for a while. My friend Robert mentioned that he had an old golf cart in his barn in Michigan. A neighbor had put it out to the curb with a "Free" sign. He and a friend had gotten it running so his kids could drive it around in the 1990's. After talking with his kids, they decided it was time to "pay if forward", and pass the car on to Laura.

The Critter

The golf cart was apparently a cozy home to an opossum. Cubby the dog encouraged her to leave before the trip from Michigan back to NY.

During the project we have been calling the cart "Possum", so for Christmas we got a couple of companions to go along with the cart for Laura

The Trip Home

Lost Brakes Broken Brake Line Radiator Leak

Of course, nothing is easy. Robert drove out to Michigan during Thanksgiving to pick up the cart and bring it back to Upstate NY. With the Cart tires flat and the brakes frozen, it took a while for he and his son to winch the cart onto the trailer. On the way home he hit the brakes hard on the old Van and blew the brake line. Not too much is open on Thanksgiving and Sears didn't want to fix it because of the location of the leak. Luckily, the boyfriend of a lady that worked at the Auto Parts store managed to fix it after several hours of lying on his back in the parking lot! The radiator also started leaking, but only if you idled for a long time :-)

Yamaha G1 History

According to golfcarcatalog.com, the G1 was introduced in 1978 and production was discontinued in 1989. The vehicle has bucket seats and the entire rear body (and top assembly, if equipped) lifts back to reveal the drive train.

The G1 is powered by a 2 cycle gas engine with an oil injection system. The G1 body composition & gas engine underwent several modifications over the 11 years of production. The engines and bodies stayed very similar throughout the G1 model design.

The Yamaha G1 golf car never had a standard ‘factory’ top assembly. Across the US, several aftermarket top manufacturers provided what tops there are.

Here are some other examples of Yamaha Golf Cart Models that I found on the web.

So what Year is it?

The G1 is suppose to have a serial number stamped under the rear bumper just below where the bumper mount brackets bolt onto the cross member of the car frame. Unfortunately, this cart doesn't. Instead it has a number stamped on the frame near the air filter, on the engine block, and on a placard attached to the dash.

Frame Engine Placard

Some Clues

Jack Triolo from golfcarcatalog.com told me that the two separate square ended starting solnoids went out in 1980-1981. He mentioned that the drive clutch on the crankshaft is also an early clutch version that went away in the early 80's and it appears to have a Blue Dot 48 x 42 inch top.


Although it isn't visible to the naked eye, the dash placard actually has additional information that the camera picks up! From several photos I was able to make out:

Golf Cart Distributor
Pontiac Michigan (313) 332-0425
Sales Service Leasing
Stock    [ square box ]
Serial # [ square box with 07w0-2B-18 stamped in it ]
Model    [ square box ]
Golf Turf Industrial
EZGO * Cushman * Yamaha

I couldn't find any reference to the company, so I sent email to Boylan Golf Cars in Michigan. The president Patrick Boylan was nice enough to respond that Golf Cart Distributor was bought out by his company in 1993! I sent him a photo of the car and he said that because of the chrome bumpers and aluminum foot pads that the cart was 1979-1981.


The car has some differences that no one has seen before. Besides the serial number stampings, the rear drum brakes are very different from the one shown in the Yamaha Parts Catalogs.

1979 Design Our Brake backplate Our brake shoes

The local Yamaha dealer found two very similar shoes that were for a 70's yamaha motorcycles. My guess is that this is a very early 1979 G1 or a prototype cart.


new Carb, filters, and battery Kevin fixing brakes

With a lot of elbow grease and the help of a great neighbor mechanic the cart is up and running. Here are some of the parts we needed:

Final Results

Laura on her first drive!

Smiles Passed On

Robert's kids in 1990's