First off, thank you Ryan for posting the class. I was orig going to fly out to one in July, and may still do so. But this came at the perfect time, and it was a two hour drive. I will be attending one in Sept for sure. This is a very long and wordy story, I tried to shorten it, but describing and reviewing a weekend like i had is very difficult. So skip to the pics if you dont want to read. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So, here we go. I called right away when I saw that Ryan had posted the thread. When I called I was nervous, because this is his shop, not a second party location. The class would be held as current shop in Mohave, his domain, his creative hub, his stomping grounds. I then post on here that I am going, Eric (EBW) then text me that he is in also. I met Eric when he came to buy a trans from me, super nice guy. He offered me to stay with him and his family!!! Very cool! The week leading up to this May 4-5th, was a busy one. Trying to complete one job, while working my other job and about a million other things I didnt have a chance to think much about it. Then friday came, it was starting to set in, while others in the world and specially CA would be drinking for some holiday, I would be in a shop learning from a master. As the night progressed, i remember being a child the night before driving from Bakersfield to Disney Land, this feeling was greater now then I had ever experienced. So, I wake up sat and get on the road in my vintage complete orig 1999 S10 haha. Blasting some Queens of the Stone age (desert music) I get off the road on Dawn, I think to myself where in the hell am I at? then the road ends and its a dirt road. I felt like I was in The Hills have eyes movie. So I arrive, I see this old, sun worn sign. "Gene Winfield Rod and Custom", a white rod iron fence surrounding the property and many customs sitting behind these bars. I pull in, and bam, my tire is going flat. Oh well I made it. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Walking up, I notice a field of cars to my right off in the distance. and many chopped mercs, a Travel Bus, some scattered small buildings. I was thinking the whole time, I cant believe I am here, like I had won the Lotto. Not sure where to go, I just went to where I saw people. I notice Alex Gambino, Junior Huff (Bo Huff's son) there. Eric arrives and then shortly after in comes Gene, everyone sits, the roller doors shut and he introduces himself, and then has all of us introduce ourselves where we are from and what we do. It was a mixed crowd from hobbyist, to metal fabricators and builders. Gene was standing in front of a tables covered in tools, the building itself was alittle run down but was freaking cool. Gene then went into talking about his tools, some bought and alot he made or had made. He had a metal shaping station, with many post dollies of all sizes and shapes, a English wheel sporting his Fade paint job in the shade of blues that he made. Also showed his other shaping station that had a 2 inch steal top, talked about body hammers and dollies. Then just continued going around the room talking more about all the tools he had and there uses. From there he went into a metal shaping demo, where he shaped steal and aluminum. Encouraging us to ask questions all the time. Also Jimmy that worked there, who is legally blind and color blind would chime in with questions about things not to test Gene, but to get him to explain things more. All his staff was great and the volunteers. Spent half the morning watching Gene show us how to make tools for the job, or little tricks to do things when shaping metal plus showing us how he shapes metal. He is light hearted, and making us laugh. The class was serous but also very fun. He then went said, you guys are here to chop a car, so lets get to work. He showed us then how he comes up with his measurements to chop a car, while also telling us examples of previous cars he chopped. He would say things like man that job was "shit" or it turned out great. He had NO ego about himself. He was like a 20 year old, and he moved like one also. So fast forward to the Chevy, he started out laying the lines, Alex Gambino with him. You could tell they had a great deal of respect for eachother and friends as well. Gene would ask Alex about his thoughts, or Alex would point something out to Gene in a non egotistical manner. Its hard to explain, but I have a whole new level of respect for Alex, never really knew him before, but he is a stand up guy. So back to the chop, back window was a little trouble to get out, there was some issues with not having enough sharp blades. Had to break out the plasma cutter a bit. He had whoever that wanted to give a hand in on the the job. Which is very cool. Here is when the issue came in with a few students, one making a comment to his friend, "look whos teaching the class now" and other comments about how they should be teaching it. Another student sticking his head in everything Gene was doing, asking questions to try and prove something. Like I said one is on the Hamb, Learn to show respect! I think about when we got the window out, pizza came. Gene went into the house, and we all ate and socialized, and walked around the property. They put up a merch area, had shirts, posters, nude lady handles, dvds and plaques. I had to buy a shirt, dvds and poster haha. Gene comes back and we start working on the chop. The orig plan was to move the roof back to meet the A pillars, but that put the back window frame to high up on the roof taking away from the "vent" on it. So at that point Gene gave us the three ways we could go, then he said what we will do is slice the roof up towards the front then moving the back portion forward. At this point I am drawing a blank. The class ended I believe around 730 or 8pm. Some of us went to Crazy Ottos, a small diner in town. Gene had went with us, everyone seemed pretty beat. ----------------------- Sunday Got there about 9, he came in and started at it again. He is a mover. walks fast and works hard. He started off showing us some more metal shaping I think? There was so much info over two days I am still processing it. We then started on the roof again. At this time John (I think thats his name) went to drop off the lunch order and he took my tire into town, all places closed. So I drove to lancaster to get a new one. Missed about two hours. Got back in time to see Gene and Alex teaming up to hammer weld the A pillers, then he gave us instruction why hammer welded them. He said it made them stronger. We then fitted the back portion to the front. Then butt tacked a few spots, as the corners rounded we lap welded with mig. Gene then hoped up on the dash and proceeded to hammer weld the top. He then did a demo on gas welding aluminum. Taught us leading, and stood by as everyone in the class had a go at it. He then grabbed some of us and taught us tricks to the shrinker/stretcher. Took us over to his Power hammer, demoed it and then showed us the dies he made for panels and rockers. Talked about his engine, and El Marage in two weeks. At this point he took us out to see Strip Star. The guy walks fast btw. Went back into the shop, he had an raffle for the panels he and we made, some posters and a leading block. We all got certificates for completing his course. Signed all our things. Its was about 7pm I think. He signed the panel he made I won in the raffle. His words exactly "This isnt good enough, I will fix it for you" I said Gene you been working your butt off all weekend, its time to rest. An amazing guy, teacher, artist and worker. I left feeling I gained a friend, rather then just taking a class. Jimmy, the guy thats legally blind. Was a wealth of knowledge. He knew dates of magazines and builds, and made panels and other things that where just about spot on perfect. So I know this is a long review and story. If some of you like it then cool, I have horrible spelling and can careless about a proper sentence. I still feel like it was a dream, and feel fortunate just to be in the same room with Gene and Alex as they worked and Gene taught. IF any of you can, please go, if you are into this you will love it. If you are just about the look, you may not get it. Please, I mean please, show respect to a man that has worked, created and lived an amazing life in this thing we call the custom world of cars. *the days as I described may be alittle off in time. I still am trying to grasp what happened this past weekend *Thanks again to Eric for inviting me to stay with his family.