Thank you guys for your input. $3000 is my working budget currently, I scour craiglist locally and classified sections of sites (this being one of them) looking for reasonable deals.
I am holding the same rule here that I do with my Miata, take my budget and that becomes the “goal” however it isn’t hard and fast.
Locally we have only Junior Karts who run, so I am not worried about being competitive at a national level at all.
My wife has had many folks in her life die or nearly die in roll overs, including one at a track day. So she is scared to even go for ride alongs at autocrosses in the Miata. But she loves just going cruising in it, or spirited mountain drives. Her driving the miata at an autox is right out.
What should I look for when considering shifter karts? Is there a resource that ranks each brand and their good and bad points? What is a good balance of affordable and powerful for engine? I know these are subjective questions based on opinion, but google phrasing only gives me so much information. I would prefer boot on ground info.