1957–1963: Walker Executive Golf Car
Fowler, KS (1957): Max’s design capabilities were noticed by a salesman friend, who suggested there might be a market for a gasoline-powered golf car. At this time, the batteries in electric golf cars sometimes would not finish an entire round of golf. So, Max, even though he had no interest in the game, went to work and designed the Walker Executive Golf Car. The first of its kind, the Executive provided golfers with dependable transportation.
The car was well received, and production began. First units were made in the farm shop with a hack saw, cutting torch, electric welder, and a few other hand tools. One of the more unconventional tools was a fork in a Mulberry tree in the farm yard which Max used to make radial bends in tubing for the frame.
The challenges of ongoing research and development were also part of being in the manufacturing business. Speaking of challenges — Max still worked on the farm full-time while producing golf cars late into the night. Even at this time, other manufacturers tried to imitate the Walker design, but they failed to copy a critical component — the driveline. The tilt-up body was a major feature. In 1960–’61, a 48’ x 80’ factory was built about 100 yards from the farm house.
Battery life started increasing, and so did Max’s interest in getting into a more suitable market. The project lasted until 1963 when the patents were sold to an investment group in Salina, KS that continued to make the cars. In total approximately 1,000 units were produced.
|Walker Manufacturing Company’s first building
was a remodeled chicken house/farm shop
|Although not a golfer, Max spent some hours at golf courses
||Max expertly demonstrated the golf car