Hershey

5-6 October 2017

The Ralph Whitworth Collection

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Lot 172

1967 Austin Big John Mazmanian Gasser "Football"

$75,000 - $100,000

Without Reserve

To be auctioned on Thursday, October 5, 2017


  • 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


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.

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.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more