Limited-Edition Print of 350 (13x19)
Signed and numbered by the Artist.
By 1968 “Big John” Mazmanian had seen the writing on the wall for the immanent demise of the once popular “Gasser” class. Modern cars were now supplanting what was one of the most popular classes in Drag Racing, populated by the classic body styles of the Willys, Anglia’s, Austin’s and Shoebox Chevys. The new Gassers consisting of Mustangs, Barracudas, Camaros and Corvettes, could be easily mistaken for Funny Cars, but the Gassers weren’t getting nearly the lucrative payout that the later class. So it was a logical conclusion for John to jump ship and join the Funny Car ranks, in search of a larger payday and more frequent bookings.
John decided to build a 68 Barracuda “Flopper” with the help of Ron Scrima’s “Exhibition Engineering.” Ron’s chromoly chassis was fitted with a “Fiberglass Trends” Barracuda body featuring a Tom Hanna hand-formed aluminum interior and painted & lettered by Reuben Palazuelos. John Kranenburg built the 1958, 392 Hemi engine topped off with a VanLuven GMC supercharger and a Cragar manifold.
John’s nephew Rich Siroonian drove the car, to an early victory at a West Coast Funny Car Meet, setting low elapsed time and top speed at 7.75 at 192 mph.
In this painting, we see the car in1969 now fitted with late model Keith Black 426 Hemi, a newly repainted body and frame, parked in front of the iconic “Pan Pacific Auditorium” awaiting entry into the 1969 “Auto Expo & Custom Car Show”
The Los Angeles’ “Pan Pacific Auditorium” was built in 1935, and recognized for it’s “Art-Deco” style entrance. You may recognize this iconic facade, as copied by Disneyland for its entry to the “Magic Kingdom,” it was also featured in movies like “Xanadu.” It was the most popular auditorium in LA, everyone from Elvis to the Globe Trotters played there, and it was the home of the west coast’s famous “Auto Expo & Custom Car Show.” The “Pan” closed in 1972 and sat in a crumbling state of disrepair until it caught fire and burnt to the ground in 1988…
I painted this scene with photo reference from my Bob Wagner collection, nothing added, and nothing taken away. I’m just glad for all of us, that my friend Bob was there to capture classic image, and that I was able to reproduce it from his badly deteriorated transparency, before it was lost forever.
I hope you enjoy as much as I do, this charming setting for “Big John’s” “Big Red.”