WHILE GEORGE Barris has been feted since he started working with his brother Sam, and Roth and Von Dutch have rightly had the coverage they deserve, a celebration of Gene Winfield’s work has been a long time coming.
But that wrong has now been righted with ‘The Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield’. Written by David Grant, who began working with Winfield when he was 16, the story of the kustom kar builder who went to Hollywood and worked with premier model maker AMT along the way, is chronicled.
And for lovers on early Fifties customs, and the showcars that became popular at the end of that decade, this book’s a must. There’s plenty about one of Winfield’s finest creations, the Jade Idol, which started life as a ’56 Mercury, and ended up being rebuilt after being flipped from a trailer – like the ‘Rod and Custom Magazine’ Dream Truck which, ironically, Winfield had also worked on.
But it’s the lesser-known creations that are really interesting: the pre-launch ’64 Galaxie convertible, dubbed ‘The Constellation’, and the fully-loaded ’65 Ford LTD with its smaller, Hooper Bentley-style shrunken rear window and half vinyl roof. Other creations had just the right level of flamboyance – Winfield, it seems, didn’t go the OTT Barris route…
Beautifully put together by Motorbooks International, this larger-format all-colour work is available for a criminally cheap 25 quid, although we got ours from Graham Rennie’s American Auto Mags for £20. If you buy one rodding or kustom book this year, you be hard-pressed to beat this one.