It is hard, if not impossible to find photos of John Farkonas on the internet. He was not a glory hound or a guy who wanted anything more than to put his considerable mental talents to work making one of the best funny cars in the world go ever faster. The legendary owner and “chief engineer” of the famed Chi-Town Hustler funny car passed away a little more than a week ago and we’re late on the switch with the information.
The team of Farkonas-Coil-Minick rode roughshod over much of the funny car landscape in match races from coast to coast and north to south through the 1960s and into the 1970s. Proving that they weren’t just talented drag racing pickpockets that could run good in match racing situations, the guys brought in Frank Hawley and won the NHRA championship twice in the 1980s, just because. While the third name on the side of the car changed, the first two did not and that duo was the major reason that the Hustler was so successful. Farkonas had degrees in mechanical and industrial engineering so if Coil was the talented chef that baked up the pies and cooked the roast, it was Farkonas who grew the vegetables and raised the beef. Farkonas was inducted into the drag racing hall of fame in 1997 and that was a fitting honor for a man who had achieved so much in the sport of drag racing and kind of faded off into the vapors after he stepped away from active competition.
To give you an indication as to where Farkonas’s head was at while the rest of the guys were thinking conventionally, he was making and testing titanium pistons in the 1970s. Yes, you read that right. Titanium pistons. I am going to link to the story that proves that statement to be true below. You’ve seriously got to be some kind of a madcap genius to be trying to prevent a melted piston in your nitro motor by swapping the material to Ti…that’s effing insane. Oh, did it work? Doesn’t look like it, unless NHRA banned them before they got to be popular. You’ll love the story below and it does a nice job shining the light onto an unsung hero of the sport of drag racing. RIP John Farkonas.CLICK HERE to see a killer 1970s story on John Farkonas and his work to develop Titanium pistons)
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE SOME COOL PHOTOS OF THE CHI-TOWN HUSTLER – JOHN FARKONAS IS SMILING SOMEWHERE –