Forgotten Houston for Kids: Malibu Grand Prix

Categories: Houston 101

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Photo by outletpro
Tokens! Remember tokens!
Putting anyone behind the wheel of a speeding car seems almost asinine if you examine it from a completely clinical standpoint. Not only are you hurtling along the road in a tin can surrounded by unpredictable strangers in their own speeding tin cans, but you aren't just going in a straight line, you're weaving and turning and tempting fate at every moment. So, putting children behind the wheel, making the car much smaller and, therefore, much less sturdy, and letting them speed around a poorly maintained track with other kids can't possibly be legal, right?

In fact, it was legal and encouraged. Welcome to Malibu Grand Prix!

The corporate high-end go-kart raceways were located throughout the Southwest including Houston and gave kids the rides of their lives.

Name: Malibu Grand Prix
Description: Fancy Go-Kart Race Track
Location: Southwest Freeway and 610 at I-10 near Castle Golf and Games
Features: Faux Formula 1 race cars, video games, medical support team for the bazillion accidents that invariably occurred.

Both Houston facilities (there was a third that operated under a different name near Shepherd and I-45 North) played host to tons of birthday parties and drunk dads who wanted to show those whippersnappers a thing or two. The Formula-1-style cars were actually pretty cool and the winding track presented somewhat of a challenge for younger drivers.

One unfortunate notable incident occurred in 1983 when three men including a former Malibu employee robbed the Southwest Freeway location just after it closed. They took $1,300 in cash and killed four employees who were still at the facility, stabbing them multiple times. Two of the three perpetrators were executed and the third is serving a life sentence in prison.


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14 comments
Casey Quillen
Casey Quillen

Still have my license! Those carts were the best!

Puller58
Puller58

I was at the one off Westpark at in walked Allen Levealle.  (Former Houston Rockets guard.)  I was surprised we were the same height.  (6'2")  He had his date with him.  Wow, big spender.

Eliseo Ramos
Eliseo Ramos

I remember parking myself in front of the X-Men arcade, Ninja Turtles (there was a wild west stage I think), and WWF WrestleFest.

Russ McClung
Russ McClung

Leave places like this alone... Natural selection works. I worked at a kart track as my first job and cant tell you how much the concept sold itself :)

lwlamb
lwlamb

There's a Universal Church/religious center on the corner of 59 and Westpark.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Like Astroworld, I went once and that was more than enough.

mcgintyfan
mcgintyfan

I was glad to see the one on the SW Freeway go.  I went to highschool with one of those killed. 

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