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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 arragements 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.
Cacklefest.com website owner Ron "Big Yohns" 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 Gainsville 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 Mikkelson, in the white tee-shirt, oversees the last unloading job. Frank Gencoe, 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.
Dissassembly starts. 43 years of dust from Museums needs to be cleaned off. John Loukas is assissted 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 Gencoe 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.
The two-port Hillborn off the Chizler is past the point of ever being used. . 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.