The Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield
The title could have had an addendum that says “A pure automotive styling genius far ahead of his time.” I became a huge fan of Gene from the first time I laid eyes on his creations in the “little books” when I lived on the East coast. The book gives you a tremendous insight as to how he did what he did. This man just went out and built his dreams. If there was a part he needed and was not available, he manufactured it. Gene fabricated his own dual carb intake manifold for his ’31 Model A, constructed custom headlight rings from hub caps, fingertip control steering and a camera & small television to substitute for a rear view mirror are a few of his innovations.
Within the storyline of this book we are allowed into his private life by hearing stories about him from former members of the Century Toppers Car Club as well as former coworkers “Hammer Happy” and Sam Foose. The text is very interesting and easy to read, but what makes this book in my opinion is all the fantastic photography. There are many never before published photos of Gene at work on many projects as well as completed cars. I was able to see the Jade Idol in person when it was on display at an Oakland, CA art museum as part of a display and the photos in this publication are dead on. We are lucky that Gene carried a camera with him almost everywhere he went so that we could revel in what caught his eye.
At the 2005 SEMA show in Las Vegas, I had the good fortune to meet Gene. He was very personable, kind and genuine answering all and any questions asked. He autographed a poster of his ’61 Cadillac “Maybelline” for me and I keep it proudly framed in my den.
In conclusion all I can say is get off your butt and go buy this one of a kind book. You won’t regret it.