Just taking a look at this historic kart demonstration in the UK, you can easily see how much the look of race karts have changed over the last 50 years. Sidepods, bumpers, larger curb weight. Karts now are definitely much safer that they were in the old days.
However, at the same time, some will argue that the safety factor has made it possible for some drivers to reduce their driving standards, because they can touch pods can get away with a little “bump and run”. That wouldn’t even be a conversation starter in these vintage karts. You’d just flip and crash.
Still, it’s interesting to see how the technology has evolved, eh?