Winfield was born in Springfield, Missouri in 1927. His family moved to Modesto, California when Gene was only 18 months old. In 1946, after returning from World War II in Europe, Gene began working on cars in the back of his mother’s house, in a converted chicken coop. The first car to ever be
modified in that chicken coop—a 1941 Plymouth—belonged to his brother Frank.
In the 1950s, with World War II finally in the rear view mirror, the American Hot Rod scene exploded. Around this time customs and hot rod building changed from a simple hobby into an art form. It was this new era and medium that gave birth to legendary artists, including the great George Barris. During this era, Gene Winfield really came into his own as a hardcore hot rodder and sought after custom car builder.
Although Gene has taught many workshops all across the country and abroad, this was the very first time he ever taught a custom automotive painting workshop. This is surprising to me, because Winfield is credited with the creation of the “blended paint job,” which was the main focus of this particular workshop.
Winfield brought in a 1962 Cadillac Coupe Deville convertible to prep, paint, and teach his techniques to the participants. It was really cool that for the first time ever, we lucky few got to learn by watching Gene paint one of his famous blended paint schemes.
His blended paint job consists of blending two or more kandies together. Usually there’s some black basecoat blended and some other color or pearl to go with it. Gene first came up with this painting technique in 1957 when experimenting with blending a couple of kandies together. Gene’s crown jewel is the Jade Idol. It received world recognition and best represents the blended paint technique.
Getting back to our Caddy, Gene began by spraying three good coats of yellowish sealer. Since the metal was in pretty good shape, no Polyprimer was needed. After the Caddy was pushed into the booth, Gene sprayed it with several coats of House of Kolor Solar Gold basecoat, followed by several different mixtures of House of Kolor Apple Red Kandy concentrate. Kandy concentrate is mixed together with House of Kolor’s SG100 intercoat clear and a medium to slow reducer.
Gene began with a very light mixture to give the car a very subtle red hue. He then sprayed the lowest sections of the caddy with black base coat. Fading from the bottom up, he then made a new kandy mixture with a little more concentrate added. He then began fading from the bottom up with the darker kandy. The entire car received ten complete coats of Apple Red, but the darkest areas were focused towards the bottom of the car — fading from the bottom up.
After a complete coat, a little fading with the darker mixture followed. Another very important part of the blended technique is highlighting with white dry pearl. Gene mixes his white pearl with SG100 Intercoat clear and reducer. On the Jade Idol, the highlights are focused on the centerline of the hood and faded outward. A lot of Winfield’s paint jobs use certain bodylines as the focus for the highlights. The Caddy was perfect to demonstrate the technique.
Now it was time for Gene to begin the clearing process of the paint scheme, using House of Kolor’s UFC-35 for his clear coats. On the Caddy, Gene lightly mixed House of Kolor Dry Ice Pearl with his UFC-35 clear. He sprayed two complete coats of this mixture and let it set for 15 minutes. He then followed up with two more coats of regular UFC-35 clear to bury the pearl and allow enough material for color sanding and buffing.
That’s about it. The Caddy was finished and after three days of Gene’s teachings, the workshop was over.
There is probably nobody better to learn from than Winfield. For those of you interested in the materials and equipment Gene uses, he seems stick to House of Kolor paints. He also uses DeVilbiss spray guns, masks, and rags primarily.
Winfield has two more workshops coming up at his shop in Mojave, California, the first on October, followed by one held on November 1 and 2. I highly recommend them for anyone pursuing a career in the custom car industry. Please take advantage of these opportunities to learn from one of the best.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back next month with another exciting project.