the first round of races was finished, Tom Lawson was checking out the
action in between wrenching on his own race car. After the race, he walked
over to Mazmanian's Willys and got a closer look at the candy red AA/Gasser.
The Willys was so well executed that it would be equally at home in a
car show, and that was always the mark of Big John Mazmanian. All of his
race cars were show quality. Lawson looked at the nasty '41 and was fascinated
by its race-car lineage and beauty. This is the kind of car he wanted
A long time has passed since the gasser wars of the mid-'60s, and Lawson, an avid car enthusiast, has owned a stable of wild muscle cars. As the muscle-car hobby became a venue for nitpickers, he eventually decided to buy a street rod because it just seemed like the hobby would be more fun. He started out with a very nice '37 Ford flatback sedan, which he still drives regularly to all of the rod events in Southern California. As he imagined, the street rod hobby was a lot more fun. While attending many of the local events, he started seeing Willys street rods. The memories of Mazmanian's car started emerging. He thought about building one, and when the timing was right, he purchased a nice Outlaw Performance fiber-glass Willys. When he started the buildup, Mopar Performance had just released all of the parts needed to build a complete 426 Hemi engine, so that was his powertrain choice. He also contacted B&M and purchased a 727 Torqueflite transmission, but not just any trans. This one features a polish aluminum case.