In 1967, noted drag racer and 6-foot-5 “Big” John Mazmanian built one of the more unique blown gassers. The original chassis was crafted by Ron Scrima of Exhibition Engineering, while the Austin body was chopped by Gil Ayala and modified with Anderson Industries fiberglass front end, doors, and deck lid. The Austin Gasser became known as the “Football” for its unique and unusual look.
1967 Austin Big John Mazmanian Gasser "Football"
Sold For $82,500Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 5 - 6 OCTOBER 2017 - The Ralph Whitworth Collection
- Offered from the estate of Ralph Whitworth
- Built by drag racing legend Big John Mazmanian
- One of the most unique and unusual cars from the “Gasser Wars”
- Beautifully restored in its original livery
While NHRA quickly disallowed it from legal AA/GS competition (it would run as BB/Altered at NHRA meets), that did not matter much since most of the racing at the time was either dedicated A/GS meets, or match racing, and the “Football” was dominant in both! When Big John switched to Funny Car racing in 1968, the Football was acquired and successfully campaigned by K.S. “Tiger” Pittman until he replaced the Austin body with that of an Opel GT.
Ultimately, the original Football was acquired by Tom Wilford and sold to Mike Guffy, who commissioned the restoration. A correct new chassis was built by Jeff Kirkpatrick while Mike Guffy diligently sourced the correct period parts to complete the project. During the restoration, the unique Gasser was acquired by noted hot rod and custom car collector Ralph Whitworth in 2008.
The car was sent to Eric Lindberg in Minnesota to complete the body work as well as gather and fit the remaining moving parts, including numerous period engine components. Mark Moriarty also helped gather the correct parts and coordinate parts of the restoration, while noted painter Fritz Schenck returned the Football to its unique candy red finish and applied the original Big John livery.
The restoration of the Mazmanian Football is, quite simply, a touchdown, and this drag racing legend awaits its next caretaker.