For the last several years the
famed "204 Car" has been on display at Don Garlits
Museum of Drag Racing. In March of 2006 Karamesines made arrangements
to remove the car from its Florida home and turn it over to Ron
Johnson and John Loukas to begin its new roll as a featured cacklecar.
Ron Johnson pictured with Paula
Karamesines-Baldwin, Gary Flanagan and Karamesines lady friend
Sandy Shields in front of the Chizler in the Garlits Museum.
Ron and John Loukas are working together to prepare the Chizler
for a series of appearances at Cacklecar events. The appearances
will be sponsored by Cacklefest.com. The first is scheduled to
be in the Standard 1320 display at the Goodguys Del Mar car show
the end of April.
The Chizler was removed from
the Garlits Museum Friday morning March 10, 2006.
Left to right, Rex Rexroat, Bob
Muravez, Dusty McWilliams and John Loukas prepare to load the
car into Rex's trailer for the trip to the Gainesville Drag Strip.
The Chizler (aka The 204 Car)
had been removed from the Garlits Drag Racing Museum just shortly
before Steve Gibbs, Bob Muravez and Rex Rexroat move it along
side the trailer. After being on display at Gainesville the car
was taken to the West Coast where it will be fitted with a "live"
engine and begin its new life as a "cacklecar".
With the Chizler transported
safely back to California, Dusty McWilliams is preparing to unload.
Bob Danly on the left and Ron
Johnson on the right, anxiously await the cars return to pavement
where it will be rolled into Alex Mikkelsons "American Roadster"
shop for it's return to running condition.
Safely in the shop.
Next unload was John Loukas'
restored Loukas & Preising Comp Coupe.
Alex Mikkelsons, in the white
tee-shirt, oversees the last unloading job.
Frank Genco, John Loukas (ready
to go to work) and Ronnie Rapp smile for the camera.
The Coupe is on an identical
chassis to the Chizler, originally built by Loukas and Don Maynard.
Ron, Bob and Alex sizing up the
job of swapping motors. The Loukas 392 motor will go into the
Chizler and the Chizler motor will be placed in the Coupe which
will return to the NHRA Museum.
43 years of dust from
Museums needs to be cleaned off.
John Loukas is assisted
by John Ewald who lent a hand on the project.
The dummy is on the left. Um,
make that the dummy motor from the Chizler is on the left.
While Alex and Loukas are fitting
the dummy motor into the Coupe, Frank Genco and Ronnie Rapp size
up the work necessary to get the Chassis Research frameworks
under the Chizler into usable configuration. Frank actually worked
at Chassis Research back in the days when this chassis was bent
up. Chris' original partner Don Maynard ordered kits with the
tubing pre-bent and then he and Loukas would fit and weld them
together. Dons chassis configuration was a little different than
standard Chassis Research pre-built chassis.
two-port Hilborn off the Chizler is past the point of ever being
Alex and John start the process
of realigning the engine/drivetrain to insure the car can cackle.
In order to use Loukas entire
power train, new mounts will have to be made, without disturbing
the original so the original motor and clutch can are able to
be returned to the chassis when the "tour" is over.
The only real problem surfaced
when attempting to install the spool and axles that Bob Stange,
at Strange Engineering, sent for the project. Ron was told the
rear end was 58-63 Olds and ordered parts accordingly. The rear
end is actually mid-year Olds.
Mark Lintner of Pro-gear came
to the rescue. He assembled the spool in a center section that
Larry Steinegger (of the Steinegger and Eshenbaugh top fuel car)
donated to the project. Mark also provided a rear-end housing
that was cleaned up and sent over to Bob Meyer, who shortened
it to fit the axles. Ron took it to Alex who made brackets to
mount it in the car. With that and the installation of the Strange
Engineering brakes, the car was ready to Rock and Roll.
90% in the tank and "Friar"
Loukas in the seat, Ron's El Camino is rigged with a push board
and up to the task.
It's alive, it's alive. After
these 43 years in "Car Jail" (Museums) it's ready to
kick up it's heels and show off.
Alex fiddles with the barrel
valve to get the idle right. On 90%, it sounds stout! All is
good, ready to head east.
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