Loukas & Preising

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History

 

In the late 50s and early 60s one of the more popular classes in drag racing were the Competition Coupes, that were nothing more than Dragsters with chopped coupe or sedan bodies. Leading the list of the Right Coast heavy hitters was the Bantam entry of John Loukas, who was first partnered with Neil Leffler and later with Bob Preising. The car campaigned from coast to coast developing long time rivalries with the likes of the Speed Sport Roadsters, Frank Pedregon, Dick Laie and The Animal.

In the summer of 1962, after several successful seasons with Leffler, Loukas teamed up with Bob Preising from Cleveland. The new team based themselves in Chicago at the Engine Specialsts Speed Shop of Chris Karamesines and Don Maynard where the cars wheelbase was lengthened from 81 to 120 inches. They also got a huge horsepower jump when their hemi went from a stock stroke 392 to a whopping 460 cubic inches. It was at this time that the new AA/Fuel Coupe class was established where the car campaigned for nearly a decade under the Engine Specialists banner.

 

Under construction in Loukas' garage.

 

 

The Leffler & Loukas 84" car in 1961.

 

In its lifetime the car was stretched 3 times. Dave Meal did the aluminum nose each time and he painted the red Bantam body, and chopped it.

 

Loukas (leaning on car) and Preising (in the seat) in 1965.

 

Loukas and Preising at Cordova Dragway (Illinois) in 1963 with Bobby Vodnik driving.

 

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Orangeline

 

Restoration

 

The car was retired in 1971 and stored at Loukas' home in Ohio. In 1974 Don Garlits asked Loukas if he could display the car at his Ocala, FL Museum of Drag Racing where it rested from the next 25 years. Then in 2000 Loukas decided to pull the car from its extended vacation and put it back to work. He took it to his new home in Minnesota where he replaced the brakes and drivline while strengthening the chassis. He built a fresh 392 fuel hemi and by mid 2001 the car was back in running condition and ready for the 2001 Cacklefest. The rest as they say, is new history.

 

The restored car made its Cacklefest debut in 2001 with none other than Chris "The Greek" Karamesines in the seat. Since the car was originally built at Chris' shop in Chicago, this was just a rematch of old friends.

 

Not much caring about "the look" or any excess nitro, The Greek just jumped in this sucker with his street clothes on. "I don't need no stinking mask!"

 

 

The Greek to his spot and parked at the 2001 Cacklefest.

 

 

For Cacklefest III (2002) the AA/FMC of Loukas and Preising had Nick Wolansky in the cockpit.

 

 

 

 

1960s Drag News reporter Bud DeBore looks lost in the AA/FMC of Loukas and Preising at the one and only Ring-of-Fire at the 2002 CHRR.

 

 

 

 

John Loukas himself was in the car for the 2004 Cacklefest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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