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Folks Of Interest Gene Winfield - His Life and Times.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by fiftyv8, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 4,728

    from CO & WA

    I see Gene's name pops up here quite often and he is sure well known amongst our community.
    I just wonder if folks would be willing offer up some of the stories and post pic's of the projects he has been involved in.
    This guy is a living legend and I thought it would be nice to pay him tribute while he is still around.

    For me I have met him 3 times that I recall, once at the Lone Star Round up a few years back.
    He sure gets around, I was supposed to attend one of his many metal shaping classes at a hot rod shop venue in Longmont CO, but sadly I was unable to attend for other reasons.

    I note that he had a accident recently and hope he is on the road to recovery.
    I don't know him well enough to offer up any stories but do note he is always a guest or mentioned on hot rod shows or at events.

    So how about it...
    Roast him if you like, I'm sure he would enjoy a laugh.
    I'll start by saying he is no Betty Paige or Linda Vaughan but still one of our icons.
  2. borderboy1971
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 571

    from Canada

    I've only met Gene once. It was at a metal clinic at a good friends place in Minot, nd. (If Gene is reading this, Stan says hi). What an incredible man and human being. I'll never forget sitting in the truck stop at 1:30 in the morning swapping stories with him and a half dozen of us after the class. Then heard on the weekend class he went out dancing the night away after class. Phenomenal, he's twice my age but has 4 times my energy, and 1000 times my skills.

    I should add that my friend Stan just seen Gene at sema, and Gene was calling him after to see if he got home alright. Amazing, he just had surgery, pneumonia and he's worried about someone else.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  3. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,415


    I first met Gene while he was standing in his booth at Pleasanton at Goodguys in August of 1998. I was making a triangle road trip to Bonneville, Pleasanton and back home. I got to visit with him a bit asking about the bullet centers for hub caps and then bought a pair of Chevy emblem earrings for my wife from him as that was about all the cash I had on me at the time. I have got to talk to him at the Portland Roadster show a few times when he had a booth and took his metal working class at Post Falls a few years ago.
    Word is that days after he was flown home from Finland after being injured in a fall he was zipping around SEMA on a scooter.
    Stogy, fiftyv8, chryslerfan55 and 2 others like this.
  4. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,405


    He even made it down here in 2007.
    Still have his Tee shirt, and his autograph on my deuces’ dash.
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  5. 37KiwiCoupe
    Joined: Nov 2, 2018
    Posts: 8


    He gave me a punch on my arm to get my attention at '17 Beach Hop!
    clem, Stogy, chryslerfan55 and 2 others like this.
  6. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,385


    Gene is a living institution. Hope he heals quickly
    and keeps the fire burning.
  7. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 9,410

    from Burton, MI

    He likes my wife. I've met him a couple times at Detroit Autorama and he always makes time to hug on her. But...I'm ok with that. ;)
  8. big duece
    Joined: Jul 28, 2008
    Posts: 5,577

    big duece
    from kansas

    I have always enjoyed when he is the flagman at local KKOA show in Salina, KS bd503516d660f8410d2cebfc7bafb8b6--the-go-gene-winfield.jpg
  9. I met him several years ago at Pate Swap Meet. He came up to my space and talked me down to $3 on a $5 hubcap. The next day I went over to his space and tried the same thing on a part he had for sale. His answer was that if that's not what he wanted for it, he wouldn't have told me that price. I ended up paying what he was asking but got an autograph out of it as well..........good transaction.
  10. mike matters
    Joined: May 1, 2015
    Posts: 37

    mike matters

    Met him several times at alantic nationals in Moncton
  11. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 4,728

    from CO & WA

    Anybody had one of his famous custom work done by him or got paint job.
    He was/is big with the sled guys from what I can tell.
    Stogy, loudbang and chryslerfan55 like this.
  12. aidanfancystang
    Joined: Mar 30, 2011
    Posts: 17

    from calgary

    I got to meet him last week at SEMA he was bombing around on a scooter, very nice guy.
  13. I see him at Elmo and Bonneville all the time. He's more interested to talk to my wife than me though.
  14. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,164


    I had the honor to meet Mr Winfield at a friends place for a little garage breakfast in Graz, Austria, in September,just a week before his bad accident in Finland. He is a car guy through and through. He was eager to share his knowledge and we were all ears like little boys on Santa´s knee. At over 90 he has more energy and brightness than a lot of people that are half his age. I told Gene, that I wanna be like him when I grow up. He answered: Just don´t grow up!
    He took the time to do sketches on napkins and paper to show us how he did this and that, how to build tools and what to use for this and that.... Never learned so much in 2 hours before in my whole life.

    In 2006 I meet him at the VLV car show, I was kneeling besides Fabian Valdez 34 Fords sedan, it was pale yellow back than. I was checking out the rear kick up wondering how he achieved that stance... From behind I heard someone ask me: " Are you stealing somebody´s ideas?" I turn around to see Gene Winfield laughing his ass off, I think I blushed like a 13 year old that got caught with a Playboy Mag. hahahhaha
    Today that 34 is mine , almost finished and Gene signed that photo for me.
    I wish him all the best and a quick recovery from his hip surgery.
    Thank you Gene
    FXWG4692.jpg GLQT8579.jpg SZQK9055.jpg

    The best pic, caught with our mouths full, hahahahaha JIWY8481.jpg
    Okie Pete, Stogy, fiftyv8 and 7 others like this.
  15. I would love to meet him, always hear good things about him.
    Stogy, loudbang and chryslerfan55 like this.
  16. 34fordjay
    Joined: Sep 10, 2009
    Posts: 86

    from Mass USA

    You are going to have to prove that you didn't fake all those pictures. HAHA!
    Is there any update on how he is doing since he arrived back in the USA?
    Stogy, Baumi and loudbang like this.
  17. I have talked to Gene several times at the Syracuse Nationals last summer Gene autographed a picture of him racing Rob Ida’s 32 Ford at TROG. Then we went over to the car to take pictures and talk about the car. Gene worked on the car for several years in the 40’ and fifties. When we walked over to the roped area to look at the car there was a video playing and Gene was talking on the TV. He tapped the guy watching it on the shoulder and asked who that idiot is on the TV. The look on his face when he realized that it was Gene Windfield who was asking was priceless! After our talk and photos Gene went back to his booth and I went the opisite direction everybody was looking at me trying to figure out if I was a famous person Ha Ha. Here are a couple of pics. Gene is a first class down to earth car guy with so much talent that he shares with everyone he meets. Hobo Jim


    Stogy, fiftyv8, j hansen and 3 others like this.
  18. raymay
    Joined: Mar 2, 2008
    Posts: 2,197


    I have met Gene a few times at events in Michigan and New York. He is always willing to chat and took an interest in my ideas when I was designing my 56 ElCamino. In 2016 when he was in Rochester for a workshop, he came to one of our cruise nights where he signed the dash in the 56. Yes Gene has a good eye for the ladies. At a Detroit Autorama he spent time showing my Son and I how he was forming a part. He then let my Daughter-in-law take a picture, when we thanked him he said "hey the ladies need a picture with me too". He posed and gave them a friendly little squeeze. I can only hope when I reach his age that I have the same kind of energy and motivation.

  19. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,097

    Jalopy Joker

  20. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,097

    Jalopy Joker

    no doubt that he is really good guy, and very talented - one of those people that he seems like a friend to everyone that inneracts with him Winfield & Watson Gathering-Mojave 172 (Small).jpg
    Stogy, j hansen, deucemac and 2 others like this.
  21. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 379


    Saw him today at his Mojave, CA garage. He is out of the wheelchair and walking with 2 walking sticks.

    He was deep in a discussion about mounting a supercharger. I did not interrupt.

    I am looking forward to Gene's class this weekend .
  22. Gene and I didn't hit off well. I was helping out at a function for Bill Hines birthday. I said hello Gene can I please have you move your display tables so that Bill's car could be parked where your tables are. "I don't give a Fuck" was the reply I received. We still don't get along but boy he sure does perk up when he see's my girl friend. :)
    Stogy, fiftyv8, j hansen and 2 others like this.
  23. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,588


    Years ago I took my black '27 T to a show, I think it was an early CHRR. Gene had a booth in the manufacturers row with tables full of grilles, taillights and other custom stuff. He came walking by my roadster and remarked how he had a T that looked a lot like mine when he was young. My T was garage built from cast off stuff and elbow grease but it came out way better than I expected. He appreciated how it was built and told me to bring it over and put it in his booth! My car in The Winfield booth!
    Well, space didn't allow us to safely get it into his space so he put it along side his booth with the cooperation of the guy next to him. I got to talk to him quite a bit throughout the weekend. I bought some '60 Dodge tail lights from him for my '57 Ranchero project and he turned me on to the '49-50 Ford headlight trick to fix the "bulging eyes" look those Fords have.
    I'm so glad to hear he's doing well after his accident. One helluva nice guy.
  24. 40ragtopdown
    Joined: Jan 13, 2015
    Posts: 1,311


    Spoke with Gene a few times at the LA roadsters show swap meet where he usually had a swap space . He always talked to you like you were an old friend. Here's a few pics of him chopping a top on a 33 chevy at the Detroit Auto Rama last year. 20180303_113237.jpg 20180303_112539.jpg 20180303_112501.jpg
  25. happy hoppy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 2,327

    happy hoppy

    In 1987 I met Gene in a junk yard ( pick your part ) I was working there as a cashier and Gene came to my window to buy parts. Gene found an old Buick and a 49 Merc in the yard and he had the dash from the Merc and trim and air cleaner off the Buick. He was impressed that a young kid recognized him. He paid for the parts and then returned to my window with a tee shirt and his parts catalog. I still have them both. Gene invited me to drop by his shop, back then it was in Canoga Park. I drove my Cal style bug to his shop. I built it myself and he was was impressed and offered me a job. I quit my job at the junk yard 2 weeks later. Working for Gene, I made grill bullets, helped lay up fiberglass Merc bodies and cleaned up the shop, his shop is always kinda messy. Gene spent a lot of time trying to teach everyone everything he knew about customizing. He loves to share his secrets. He showed me different areas of a roof to cut for a chop, " not straight down or it will look bad, not too much in front and lay the back glass down until it looks right then weld it!" He would lower the roof until he liked it, then measure right to left to make sure it was even. Gene told me, " if you want to build an original custom car and you want to have something no one else has, make it fly or make it invisible because everything else has been done and it was all done even before me". "Stop trying to make something different and make something beautiful". I loved working for Gene but, I had applied for a job working for the city ( government job ) and they called me. I told Gene about my job offer, more pay, retirement and benefits, things Gene could not offer. He told me I should take the job. Some morning when I wake up, I think about working for Gene or for myself doing something else, anything else except my comfortable government job.

    Before I left, Gene said my bug needed louvers, I got to watch him lay out the pattern and punch the lovers.
    Years later, Gene signed the Polaroids and to this day he still remembers me. Gene is a class act.
    fullsizeoutput_b37.jpeg fullsizeoutput_b3a.jpeg
  26. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 379


    Gene started the class with thank you for all of us that helped him get home. He taught a major portion of today's class. In this picture, he is working without the walking sticks.

    P.S. I did get his permission to post pictures.

    Attached Files:

  27. In an earlier post on another thread I asked how that man does what he does. I’m beginning to think he might be a young man in an old mans body.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Stogy, fiftyv8 and deucemac like this.
  28. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 4,728

    from CO & WA

    He sure travels around, in my case you hear that he has just left or about to arrive or if lucky enough find that he is already there and up for a chat or an autograph.

    I do recall seeing and speaking with him at Mercury Charlies shop a long ways back.
    I still live in the hope that my schedule and one of his metal shaping class could line up.
    Stogy and chryslerfan55 like this.
  29. hudson48
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 2,304


    Met Gene at the Sydney Hot Rod Show in 2017 where he gave the Hudson his Award of Excellence. Gene Winfield Award.jpg
  30. guy1unico
    Joined: Aug 30, 2006
    Posts: 725


    Gene Winfield is a complete leader in our hobby. He goes the extra extra mile to pass on skills and knowledge. He is proof that age, race, religion are only a figment of ones imagination and nothing stops a leader from seeing through a pile of crud and leading people and helping as many as will shelf guy ..pray and hope he comes out the other side.
    LSJUNIPER, Stogy, fiftyv8 and 3 others like this.

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