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Show Rods


Gene Winfield



Robert Eugene Winfield, legendary kustomizer and hot rod racer born June 16, 1927 in Springfield, Missouri. Gene, and his family moved to Modesto, California when Gene was 18 months old. 15 years old, Gene got his first car, a 1929 Ford Model A Coupe. Gene equipped the car with two antennas, foxtails, and wig wag taillights before he hopped it up so he could go street racing with it. The Model A Coupe was the first car that Gene ever painted. When he got it was black, but Gene decided to paint it dark blue. One day, a taxi pulled out in front of the Model A, and the coupe was wrecked. After the coupe, Gene bought himself a 1931 Ford Model A Roadster. If you wanted to be a true hot rodder in California, you had to have a roadster.

Gene joined the navy right after graduation in 1945. The war ended 6 months after Gene joined the Navy. He was enlisted in a program where he would serve the duration of the war plus six months. In 1946, after returning from World War II in Europe, and after serving his additional 6 months, Gene began working on cars in a little chicken house behind his mothers house at 1309 Figaro Avenue. One of the first cars that Gene modified in the shop was his brother Frank's 1941 Plymouth. Gene chopped the top and windshield 3 inches, before he sent it to Hall Upholstery for a Carson style top. Working on his own and on his brothers car in the chicken coop, he started to get calls from friends wanting him to work on their cars. In the beginning he was just doing simple modifications such as lowering suspension and shaving emblems. As business were picking up Gene also started doing other work like changing grilles, modifying headlight and taillights, and eventually chopping tops. Before Gene moved out of the old chicken coop he expanded the shop three times, he also added a spray booth.

In 1946 Gene Winfield, got together with some local hot rodders and formed the Century Toppers Auto Club. Gene was voted president of the Century Toppers at the first club meeting.

When Hot Rod Magazine hit the stands in 1948 Gene became a dealer of the magazine. Gene got 6 copies to sell each month. Using the magazine as a reference Gene built his first complete hot rod, a 1927 Ford Model T Roadster.

In 1955, after 9 years in the old chicken house, Gene moved Windy’s Custom Shop into town and renamed it Winfield's Custom Shop. Before he moved, Gene's business had began to pick up, and Gene had started hiring employees.

In 1957 Gene Winfield came up with his famous faded, blended candy paint job technique. The technique was discovered after he tried to blend two candy colors together. The faded paint job is a trademark of Gene Winfield, and he has been traveling all over the world laying his famous paint jobs.

In 1958 Gene Winfield built the Jade Idol, the car that helped Gene gain national recognition. The Jade Idol was based on a 1956 Mercury, and took Gene two years to build.

In 1962 Gene was hired by AMT as a style designer for model kits. Gene worked on a consultant basis until 1966 when he was hired full time to run their new Speed and Custom Division Shop. In the Speed and Custom Division Shop Gene built full scale cars for AMT which would be used as promotional vehicles.

Working for AMT, Gene made connections with Hollywood and started making cars for movies and television series. Among the lengthy list of creations are the Maxwell Smart car from "Get Smart," The Reactor, built for the "Bewitched" TV series, and even the shuttlecraft for "Galileo 7" (the Enterprise's scout ship) from the "Star Trek" series.

In 1970 Gene Winfield decided to open his own shop in North Hollywood, to be close to the movie industry. Gene called his new shop Winfield's Special Projects. Winfield creations have also found their way into more than 20 Hollywood films, including "Bladerunner," for which he built 25 vehicles, "Robocop" and "The Last Starfighter." He also created the flying version of the Delorean time traveler for "Back to the Future."

After connecting with Hollywood and the movie industry, Gene also started to work with advertising related vehicles. Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. wanted to convey the point that they could finance any car. So, Winfield built the "anycar" ... out of 30 different cars. For Chevrolet, he cut a car in half lengthwise and made both pieces independently driveable. For Sunoco, Winfield froze a car in giant block of ice only for it to be chipped out and started. The list goes on.

In 1974 Gene closed his shop in North Hollywood, and began working for Traditional Coach Works in Chatsworth. In 1977 Gene quit working for Traditional Coach Works, and he opened a small shop in Van Nuys. In his new shop, Gene continued building late model customs. By 1979 Gene had moved his shop to Canoga Park.

Today Gene is running his business out of a shop in Mojave, California. He has been inducted into Darryl Starbird's Custom Car and Hot Rod Hall of Fame, and was honoerd as "Builder of the Year" at the 2008 Detroit Autorama.

Gene Winfield's Personal Rides

Gene Winfield's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster
Gene Winfield's 1927 Ford Model T Coupe "The Thing"
Gene Winfield's 1929 Ford Model A Coupe
Gene Winfield's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster
Gene Winfield's 1932 Ford Roadster
Gene Winfield's 1933 Ford Truck
Gene Winfield's 1935 Ford Truck
Gene Winfield's First 1950 Mercury
Gene Winfield's 1950 Mercury - The Solar Scene
Gene Winfield's 1956 Mercury
Gene Winfield's 1961 Cadillac - Maybellene

Some of the cars he built

Don Tognotti's 1914 Ford Model T
Ray Andregg's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster
Paul Buckingham's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster
Pete Hischer's 1932 Ford Roadster
Dave Rettig's 1933 Ford
Bart Bartoni's 1936 Ford Phaeton
Joe Barnett's 1941 Ford Pickup
Frank Winfield's 1941 Plymouth
Wilfred Rusca's 1941 Willys Coupe
Alvin Serpa's 1946 Ford
Louie Stojanovich's 1947 Plymouth
Bart Bartoni's 1948 Ford Coupe
Benny Furtado's 1948 Ford
Dick Mesa's 1949 Ford Convertible
Richard Fletcher's 1949 Ford
Frank Poli's 1950 Ford
LeRoy Gowart’s 1950 Ford
Chris Clark's 1950 Chevrolet
Jim Musick's 1950 Chevrolet Bel Air
Bill Wolfe’s 1950 Mercury
Larry Douglas' 1950 Mercury
Pete Hischer's 1950 Mercury
Ray Goulart's 1950 Oldsmobile
LeRoy Goulart's 1951 Ford
Joan Vander Kamp's 1951 Ford
Bob Vincent's 1951 Mercury
Bill Wolfe’s 1951 Mercury
John Foxley's 1952 Chevrolet - The Jade Rival
Nick Cozzitorto's 1952 Ford F-100
Bruce Firpo's 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air
Jerry Soares' 1953 Oldsmobile 98
Bart Bartoni's 1954 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
Jesse James' 1954 Chevrolet 210 - The Old School Chevy
Richard Kinzey's 1954 Chevrolet
Richard Soderquist's 1954 Mercury
Dennis Reinero’s 1956 Oldsmobile
Lanny Ericson's 1956 Chevrolet
Tony Ferro's 1956 Chevrolet
Mike Sparrow's 1956 Chevrolet Corvette
Leroy Kemmerer's 1956 Mercury - The Jade Idol
Bart Bartoni's 1957 Ford
Bob Fryz' 1957 Ford - The Jade Idol II
Jack Smario's 1957 Ford
Mike Malfatano's 1957 Ford
Richard Zocchi's 1957 Chrysler
Richard Zocchi's 1957 Oldsmobile
Freddie Goodman's 1958 Chevrolet
Jerry Feldstein's 1958 Ford Truck
Winfield's Custom Shop's 1958 Oldsmobile
Mario Colalillo's 1959 Cadillac
Pete Kroeker's 1960 Chevrolet Impala
Richard Zocchi's 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix
Jim Noteboom's 1963 Buick Riviera
Richard Zocchi's 1963 Oldsmobile Starfire
Albert Seeno's 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix
Ford King T
that won the 1963 AMBR award
The Solar Scene
The Piranha
The Rod & Custom Magazine’s Dream Truck
Roland Leong's Hawaiian
The Strip Star
The Reactor
The Constellation
The Comet Cyclone Sportster
The Pacifica
The Fransiscan
1946 Ford convertible that graced the second issue of Rod & Custom


Year Film Vehicle Notes
1982 Blade Runner 25 vehicles worked with Syd Mead on flying car concept
1984 The Last Starfighter Starcar Exists both as physical car and CG car
1985 Trancers
1987 Robocop 6000 SUX
  Back to the Future  
  The Last Starfighter  
Year Title Vehicle Notes
1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Piranah car Chevrolet Corvair engine, plastic body
1965 Get Smart Sunbeam Tiger
1967 Batman Reactor Catwoman Eartha Kitt car episode 110 and 111
1967 Star Trek Galileo Shuttlecraft
1967 Star Trek Reactor “Jupiter 8” car from ‘Bread and Circuses’ episode 54
1967 Bewitched 'Super Car' Turbocharged Chevrolet Corvair engine, front wheel drive, Citroën DS chassis, aluminium body. episode 3.19
  The Dean Martin Show    



The Legendary Custom Cars And Hot Rods of Gene Winfield by David Grant
Classic Customs and Lead Sleds by Bo Bertilsson


Show Cars
Here is Gene Winfield hard at work at the drawing board in the mid-60's. Gene says he really enjoys building cars based on artist renderings.
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Gene Winfield's 1935 Ford Shoptruck
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Gene Winfield's First 1950 Mercury
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The "Solar Scene" built by Gene Winfield in 1963. "Rod & Custom" magazine called it "one of the most original custom renditions the '50 Mercury."
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Winfield received national recognition for his beautiful "Jade Idol." The sculpted body modifications and the new "blended" paint scheme was very popular at shows across the country.
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The "Pacifica" was based on an Econoline Pickup and featured an asymmetric design. This was one of several cars Winfield built for the "Ford Custom Car Caravan." Show Cars
Another customized factory car built by Winfield was the Mercury "Comet Cyclone Sportster. The car featured a cut-down windshield, integrated roll bar, molded-in tonneau cover over the back seats, blown engine, custom interior, and a beautiful pearl green paint job.
Show Cars
The "Strip Star" was a combination of speed and beauty. A hand-formed, aluminum body, powered by a new 427 Ford engine, spawned another show stopper for Gene Winfield in 1965."
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To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Hartford, CT Autorama, Winfield built the futuristic "Reactor." It featured an aluminum body, remote control doors, hood, and top, and was Corvair powered.
Show Cars
Gene Winfield's 1961 Cadillac Coupe DeVille - Maybellene


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