Big John - Pre-War Years John was born May 18, 1926 in East Los Angeles.  In jr. high he bought a '30 Model A coupe for $25.00 and built his first car.  He went completely through this car with the school auto shop teacher and turned it into a cool car.

In high school he had a '39 Mercury with a chopped Carson top, Desoto bumpers and it was painted black with a red interior.  John says if you put the Merc in overdrive it would go up to 100 mph easy.  After graduation, John attended college to get a mechanical engineering degree.  He then had a '32 highboy roadster which he raced on the streets since there wasn't yet a legal dragstrips anywhere.  He also took the car to El Mirage dry lake after the police put a stop to the street racing.  The roadster went 118 mph in early 1942.

After serving in World War II, John returned home and married his wife, Alice.  He started running the family business and this took up most of his time along with raising his family.  In about 1957 John bought a '57 Ford Fairlane "off the lot".  This car came with a supercharged 312 so after using it as the family car on the weekdays, John would doctor it up and bit and race it weekends.

Click on an image to see a larger version.

Corvette - Click to SEE Larger Image John then stepped up to a '61 Corvette.  It was red one with fuel injection, 283, 4-speed, and Positraction.  He ran it in C/Stock and he asked his nephew, Rich Siroonian to drive it.  They won the class honors at the Winter Nationals that year.  John souped up the vette even more and had Bones Balough drive the candy red car.  By 1964 John had sold the vette and bought a '41 Willys coupe.  He ended up putting a 392 Chrysler Hemi in it and entered into the A/Gas class.  In 64 it ran 149 mph with a 9.77 e.t.

In the late '60s the Willys was sold and John got a hold of an Austin and painted it with his trademark candy red paint.  It had a chopped top and was called the football.  During his ownership of this car he teamed up with Jr. Thompson who put John's name on his own Austin and the cars traveled throughout the mid-west and eastern parts of the U.S. They were on a race circuit putting on great gasser shows at drag strips across the U.S. and Canada.


The Willys - Click to SEE Larger Image The Willys - Click to SEE Larger Image The Willys - Click to SEE Larger Image The Willys - Click to SEE Larger Image

The Austin - 1968 - Click to SEE Larger Image The 1969 Barracuda - Click to SEE Larger Image

The Austin was sold and John briefly entered the Funny Car field. He had a Barracuda with a Chrysler Hemi built but finally decided to retire in 1972.  Big John still attends many major events and was inducted into the NHRA Hall of Fame in 1998.  With all of the nostalgia events cropping up, he has been seen at several in the last few year.  He was one of the honored Gasser Legends attending the Gateway Gasser Gathering in St. Louis, MO. in 1999.  He, like Jr. Thompson, said that the event was one of the best ever and he was glad to have been honored there.

Big John attended the Willys Reunion to be held at Thompson Raceway in Thompson, Ohio the weekend of June 1 & 2, 2002.  He was one of the honored Gasser Legends attending along with Jr. Thompson, Ohio George, Bones Balogh and others.  Hope you were there!

Big John missing his old Corvette now owned by someone else.  Pictured here as it was on display at the NHRA Museum for a while.

John missed his old Corvette

In loving memory of Big John Mazmanian who passed away on Friday, July 21, 2006.

I want to personally thank John and his wife, Alice, for their contribution to this website.  John is a very nice and generous man and I hope that I have done justice to his career.  He supplied the images that you see on this page.  If any of these images belong to you please

with your copyright information.  The images are for the enjoyment of all visitors and cannot be used for profit.


Jr's Other Kid & Webmaster


Me & Big John

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