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John Cukras, 1948-2020


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#26 Cheater

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 12:05 PM

Since we have two 'Cukras has passed' threads running, I'm going to merge them into one in a few moments.

 

I'm also going to re-locate the merged thread into the General Slot Car Racing subforum, where more people will see it. In a few days, I'll archive it into the Eternal Podium subforum.


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap





#27 MG Brown

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 12:14 PM

For those who have not read it, here is a copy of the Leon Mandel article about John and some of the others in the Pro slot car racing scene circa 1968 (published in 1969 in Car & Driver magazine).

 

Attached File  Soooooo-krus...The Sound of Teenage Money.pdf   33.73KB   163 downloads

 

Sookrus C&D Article.jpeg

 

(please don't try to read the small text in the illustration unless you have the eyes of a hawk, download the PDF file for best results)


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That's thirty minutes away. I'll be there in ten.
 

 


#28 Gary Donahoe

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 12:24 PM

A great honor to have raced with John, he will certainly be missed by many. May he rest in peace.



#29 Tom Eatherly

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 12:28 PM

It is truly sad to hear about John's passing. Knew him a bit in the 60's, then raced with John a number of times at BPR. A great person and racer. He will be missed. RIP. Sad day.


Tom Eatherly

#30 Jairus

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 12:36 PM

This world keeps getting darker each day.
 
I will miss our talks on the phone, my friend. See you on the flipside.

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#31 MSwiss

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 01:12 PM

I was explaining the passing and legend of John Cukras, to my wife, over lunch.

In the process, I came up with this iconic image.

20201201_115935.jpg
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Mike Swiss
 
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#32 Kim Lander

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:31 PM

So sorry to hear.

 

RIP, John.



#33 Howie Ursaner

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:42 PM

In 1966 big time slot car racing took off in the U.S. On the East coast Me and Sandy Gross were winning all the races and on the West coast it was John 'The Jet' Cukras and Mike Steube. We heard a lot about each other but it was when Bob Rule from Champion brought us together for the East vs West race that i met John.

 

From that time we became friends and fierce competitors. On my first big trip to Cali for the race at Don's I stayed at John's house and we had a great time but built some slow cars! John took me to Tijuana for an epic night. He and Mike taught me all the new words like Sano, Jet, bogus that became part of our vocabulary. 

 

When I went to a big race, i was only thinking of a few people that might be fast. It was always John that was in my mind because I knew he would be digging hard.

 

Since then we have maintained friendship and it was John that hooked me up with Philippe and eventually got me back into Retro racing  some years later. In 2001, I was invited to the Jose Rodriguez Jr. memorial proxy race and I stayed at his mom's house again, just like 40 years ago with his family and his pet iguana Guako.

 

He was epic and a monster in the world of model race cars. I am so thankful that he called me last week and we laughed together for a long time. It means a lot to me.

 

RIP, Jet, you are one hell of a guy.


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#34 Isaac S.

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:46 PM

Mike, here are a few more. There are quite a few pictures so if someone needs to delete them I understand. 

 

NOS Mura 007 Cukras Armature.jpg

 

NOS Phaze 3 Motor, NOS Lenz Boss Motor, NOS MuraShort Magnum Motor, NOS Cobra One Hole Motor, NOS Cukras Mura 007 Motor Series One, NOS Mura Cukras Series 2 Motor 007.jpg

 

NOS Mura Cukras 007 Armature .jpg

 

NOS Mura Cukras Unchoughable Brush Springs.jpg

 

NOS Mura Cukras Motor Kit 2 .jpg

 

NOS Mura Cukras Series 2 007 Motor White.jpg

 

NOS Mura Cukras Series One 007 Motor.jpg

 

NOS Mura Cukras 007 Series 2 pink 2.jpeg

 

NOS Mura Series 1 Cukras Uncoughable Motor.jpg

 

NOS Uncoughable Cukras Mura Packaging.jpg

 

NOS Mura Cukras Motor Kit.jpg


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#35 Phil Smith

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 03:13 PM

Very sad thread. RIP John.

 

I didn't know John was involved in HO.


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#36 Roy Lievanos

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 03:21 PM

Alice and I were fortunate to meet John during many big events at BPR over the last few years. 
 
We researched and were very impressed with his accomplishments to the sport.
 
True gentleman on and off the track. We noticed he was missing at the last big event. 
 
Condolences to his family. Our blessings, RIP John

2022 Western States HB12 Champion
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Thank you, John and Dee Hale - Santa Ana Raceway circa 1962


#37 Rotorranch

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 03:30 PM

RIP, John.
 
IMG_20190101_140850.jpg
 
IMG_20190101_140902.jpg
 
IMG_20190101_140915.jpg
 
IMG_20190101_140928.jpg


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#38 Steve Deiters

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 03:44 PM

Howie,

Thanks so much for sharing your great story. 

SD
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#39 vfr750

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 05:04 PM

John was one of the names we used to read about in the magazines here in the UK. I'm sorry to hear about his passing.

 

RIP, John.


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#40 Cheater

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 05:14 PM

I didn't know John was involved in HO.


I really don't know all the details, but I understand that not only was John a very active HO racer, he was involved in designing some of the notable HO models for Aurora, I think. If anyone has more info, I would like to learn it.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#41 Mark Wampler

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 05:24 PM

200 miles up the Cal coast were some small town racers. We read about the big races and pro racers. John was a legend we read about and here decades later I got to race some lanes with him.

 

John was witty, friendly and always a pleasure to be around. I miss ya, man!

 

John Cukras.jpg


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Mark Wampler
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#42 MSwiss

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 06:03 PM

Very sad thread. RIP John.
 
I didn't know John was involved in HO.

  

I really don't know all the details, but I understand that not only was John a very active HO racer, he was involved in designing some of the notable HO models for Aurora, I think. If anyone has more info, I would like to learn it.

 

IIRC, in one of the Slotblog raffles for a good cause, someone donated their carded A/FX G Plus car(s), signed by John Cukras, and identifying him as the designer.

It was possibly the OP of this thread, John W.


Mike Swiss
 
Inventor of the Low CG guide flag 4/20/18
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#43 eshorer

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 06:03 PM

When I interviewed John for a paper I was writing some years ago he told me that one of the perks of that race was the 1:1 Shelby Mustang that Ron Mura (his sponsor at the time) gave him for winning that race! I remember seeing it a few times at various SoCal raceway parking lots, back in the day.

 

Eddie

 

I watched him race at the 1968 Hemisphere race in San Antonio, Texas, which he won


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#44 Cheater

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:10 PM

IIRC, in one of the Slotblog raffles for a good cause, someone donated their carded A/FX G Plus car(s) signed by John Cukras and identifying him as the designer.


Your memory is accurate, Mike. I won one of those cars and still have it.

Gregory Wells

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#45 nomad2race

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 08:42 PM

John was my childhood hero as I read about his exploits and bought his products in the early 1970s.

 

Many years later I met him and watched him drive my proxy cars at Buena Park. His driving was superb. I was so impressed with his kind nature and sharp wit every time I saw him thereafter.

 

If has been years now since we met, still I will miss knowing he is on the planet. A great man has left us. 


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#46 bbr

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 09:32 PM

I first met John in the SoCal HO racing scene. He and Tony Porcelli hooked up and started racing the Tyco 440 against everyone else, who was still running the original AFX G Plus. That was around the early '80s.

 

I believe John was involved in the Tyco 440 design.

 

The racing went dead for a few years. But in the late '80s and throughout the '90s the HO scene flourished in the SoCal area. John became the president of the club known as SCHOR, SoCal HO Racing. There were big events like the HO SpringNats. A lot of success in this era of racing was due to John's influence.

 

John was a tough racer to beat because he was fast on every lane and never fell off.

 

We went to the HO National in '95 in Milwaukee (West Allis), WI. John did not want to fly, so we took the train.

 

John was involved in development of the current AFX Mega G cars.

 

Racer, engineer, designer. Skilled in HO and 1/24 racing. Over 40 years I have known John; I haven't known many people that long.

 

He will be missed.


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#47 Tex

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 10:33 PM

Sorry to hear this... RIP, Jet.


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#48 Tracking Angle

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Posted 02 December 2020 - 12:17 AM

Slotting in the '60s I wanted to jet like John Cukras.

 

May he rest in peace.


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#49 kuni123456

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Posted 02 December 2020 - 12:23 AM

I went to John's house on Sunday, November 22 and gave him some Mikan which is a Japanese tangerine. He was able to talk and we spoke for a ten minutes and he was able to walk me to the door.

 

I thought he was going to recover and never thought that he would have a heart attack, on Thanksgiving day according to his daughter. I am glad that I was able to see him and told him that I looked forward to racing again next year.

 

I will miss bringing John to Buena Park Raceway and hope that he is looking over all of us.


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#50 kuni123456

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Posted 02 December 2020 - 12:41 AM

I remember seeing the original engineering drawings for different HO slot cars that he designed. I believe he was involved in the design of all of the HO slot cars and was working for Tomy with the Mega G slot cars.

 

I was interested in buying some of the HO prototypes from John when he recovered from his lung operation. I was able to purchase one of his 1/24 slot cars that he raced in the Tri-State races several years ago with a new Bloom body that was never mounted. I know that he did not sell any of his Retro cars and I do not sell any of my Retro cars. 


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