This seems like a silly question given a 25 year time span (we could have the same discussion about the price of gas, cars, toys, screwdrivers, stuffed animals, etc)… Yes, inflation is partly responsible and yes, materials and components cost more (ex: bodywork). Building on what Mark mentions, the market also plays a huge role not just in what price it will bear, but also in what it demands (magnesium components, variety of different seats, fancy brakes, data acquisition, etc).
How much was the cost of a kart in 2003 and 2007 to compare with the Legend (noticed you didn’t say “new Legend”) and new IMCA car?
Curt, how much would your front drive Roadster cost new? How much are brakes and tires and how long do you think they will last? How much are suspension components when they get damaged during contact or an off track incident?
I wish karts were cheaper to buy and operate but I don’t buy for a second that racing a car is less expensive at an equivalent level. IMHO, even if they were penny for penny equal, driving a car on a track isn’t near as thrilling.