Hammer Time

Hot Rod|July 2020

Hammer Time
LEARNING HOT ROD BUILDING FROM MASTER CUSTOMIZER GENE WINFIELD
Barry Kluczyk

Just about the only thing that’s impossible for Gene Winfield is sitting still. At 92, he’s a living legend who’s attained a fifth level of consciousness when it comes to metalworking, still chopping more tops in a year than many professional builders will do in a lifetime, while also traveling the globe to make appearances and conduct seminars.

It was at one of those seminars, hosted by Detroit-area hot rod shop Brothers Custom Automotive, that we caught up with Winfield and got him to sit down long enough to ask why he’s still hammering away, decades after almost all of his contemporaries have hung up their torch or, frankly, gone to that big car show in the sky.

“I simply love it,” he says. “There is so much people can do for themselves when it comes to building cars. I want to share with them not only the best methods, but show them they don’t need the most expensive tools to do it.”

His two-day workshop in Detroit blended instruction and hands-on fabrication, covering everything from the best ways to tackle sectioning to tips on traditional leading (keep the torch moving!). From the participants, no question was too basic for Winfield, and the techniques he shared were demonstrated with each attendee taking a turn for him- or herself.

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July 2020