Gene Winfield is an absolute legend in the car customization business and at 87 years old he's still going. You might not be familiar with him by name, but you're definitely familiar with his impressive body of work.
Winfield started his automotive career as a hot-rodder, building cars like a modified Model T Coupe called "The Thing" that he took to 135 MPH at Bonneville. He discovered his talent for creating custom cars, inventing a unique two-tone paint technique featured on the "Jade Idol," a '56 Mercury that brought Winfield great acclaim.
His work came under the attention of Hollywood, and he began to create custom cars for the film and TV industry. Out of a Citroen chassis with a Corvair engine he created the "Reactor" which was featured on Bewitched, Star Trek, and Batman. Winfield also desinged the "Spinners" from Blade Runner, the 6000 SUX from Robocop, and many of the futuristic cars in Back To The Future Part II.
Quite an impressive career.
Friend of Jalopnik Björn Marek, head of PR at ABT, paid a visit to Winfield and took photos of his shop. From Marek:
Had the chance to visit him last week when I was in L.A. for business reasons visiting from Germany. I am a total car guy loving US-Cars for more than 20 years, working as a motor journalist for about 12 years and despite other cars I do own some classic American iron here in Germany – a 1949 Studebaker, 1969 Mercury and 1995 Viper RT/10 (more to come soon on this import) and my girlfriend owns a 1972 Riviera. Gave Gene's shop a call and asked if I could stop by. "Not a problem", they said. So I took my rental car out to the Mojave, CA and was so impressed by Gene's kindness.
Photo Credit: Björn Marek