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The Online Blade Runner Fan Club    
BladeZone Staff Writer/Manager
Gary Willoughby
BladeZone's Gary Willoughby has a One on One chat with Gene Winfield, the builder of the full size cars and spinners from the classic film Blade Runner.

Gene as he looks today.

The Deckard Sedan at the Miami Police Museum pic courtesy of Paul Sher Jr.

Gary had the chance to sit with Gene Winfield at his Shop recently. The day was sunny and warm. A cacophony of neumatic tools fills the air as the two men sit in the small office.

Gary Willoughby: Thank you for agreeing to sit with BladeZone for this interview Mr. Winfield. Your Rod and Custom Construction, Inc. is an incredible shop with so many cars, or rods, in the works.

Gene Winfield: Thank you.

Before they begin, Gary shows Gene Winfield material collected for the interview. Pointing to the photos of the Deckard sedan that is on display at the Miami Police Museum.

Gary: See, I think they put police on the side of the Deckard sedan in about ’92, or something like that. And they put those lights on the top. You can see that there’s no steering wheel. This is like the last car I think that’s still around.

Black and white police car
The Black & White Police Sedan.

Gene: There was a black and white one, that was a real police car. The black and white one, this version, a sedan. And I sold it at Barris’s auction and a friend bought it. It went to the San Diego area. They had a spinner and a police car in Florida, sitting out by the lake, but they junked them.

Gary: Yes. Disney/MGM in Orlando dismantled the Spinner and a police sedan in January of last year. I called there to confirm that they scrapped them, and they had. There are Blade Runner fans that would have spent twenty grand to have saved them. Here they are in new condition (referring to photos) when they just first set it out there on the tour.

MGM Spinner pic by Nicolas Herscovici

Gene: You got most of these photos from Websites?

Gary: Yes, there are probably 25 major Websites dedicated to Blade Runner. (Gene laughs) Can you imagine that?

Gene: I can’t even imagine.

Gary: That’s why I put this three ring binder with all this material together for you, because I knew you wouldn’t believe me. This picture is from another movie. There’s your car there. The movie is called "Trancers".

Deckard's sedan from "Trancers" by FullMoon pictures

Gene: Yes, I have pictures from that. You got these from the Website also?

Gary: Yes. I rented the movie just to see the car. I’m just an over-the-top Blade Runner fan.

Gene: Did you notice the other car in the movie?

Gary: The corvette?

Gene: No. The ’55 Mercury that I jazzed up.

Gary: You did that one too?

Gene: Yep. I have an album at home. I took it out, but I was getting ready to go to Oregon and I had so much, and my briefcase was so heavy that I took it out and left it. It is still there. I moved it this morning. In that book I have the ’55 Mercury and the front of this car (referring to Deckard’s spinner from "Trancers").

Gary: Here you’re mentioned in Paul Sammon’s book "Future Noir".

Gary Shows photocopies from" Future Noir" that had Gene’s name.

Gene: You know, one of these Spinners I gutted out and they sent it to Japan.

Gary: this one is the one with the aluminum frame that they lifted up.

Gene: Yeah. They wanted everything to work.

Gary: This picture from Cinefantastique magazine, and was taken probably from outside your shop?

Gene: No. This is a different building. I was finishing up the cars in another building. I did the spinner, the molds and the fiberglass here. And I mocked up the Spinner and Deckard’s sedan here. Then the coupes were mocked up in Santa Barbara. I farmed it out to Sam Foose up north. We gave him a basic frame, square tubular frame, and he skinned it with plywood and stuff. Made the prototype then brought it down here and made the molds. I had seventeen guys working on the fiberglass here.

Gary: In this one place?

Gene: Yeah in this one place and with a big shed out back. And Carl Krumy prototyped the spinner for me, and did all the hydraulics and all aluminum and stuff. That’s him in that picture (Cinefantastique), sitting inside the spinner with the shirt off and with a beard.

Gary: (shows Gene a booklet) These are all the Websites I mentioned. Here are some German Blade Runner Websites. These are all the Websites dedicated to just Blade Runner. (Gene laughs with pleasure) so, you are probably mentioned in all those Websites. In here are some models. I printed out all this because I thought you’d enjoy seeing all the different uses for your cars. Here’s a picture of that one car. The Corvette.

Gene: No, you thought it was a Corvette, but it’s all aluminum. It’s called a "Strip Star".

Gary: That’s right. I sat through the credits and I remember it saying "the Strip Star".

Gene: So I rented three cars for use on the street of "Back to the Future" one of them was a Blade runner car.

From the film Back to the Future II

Gary: Here’s the name of the other video I rented with the Blade Runner car in it, it was called "Solar Crisis".

Gene: Yup. There’s the Spinner. I arranged for it to be rented out for that film. The spinner was trailered out to the desert, to Palm Springs, where they were filming (Solar Crisis). And they wrecked that car. Wiped it out in that movie. They spun out and hit the back corner. They called me up and told me about it. They fixed it overnight and put about this much bondo

From the film Solar Crisis

Gary: (sarcastically) "here’s an aluminum car and let’s put bondo all over it."  (Flips through folder) Oh, here are shots of some radio controlled toys.

Gene: I have some toys. Three cars that came in a box by Ertel.

Gary: Here is the Leggo version (both laugh). It’s available only in Japan as I recall. And here’s a blue print… and early version I think it says.

Gene: Yes. That was an early version. I like this shot… from the studio.

Gary: Oh, here’s a photograph of your shop on a Japanese Websites. (shows a picture and both laugh) I thought you’d get a kick out of that.

Gene: (Knowingly looking at the shots from Cinefantastique.) Do you know where these pictures of the Spinner were taken? [ SEE PORTION OF CF ARTICLE ]

Gary: Jay Ohrberg's shop.

Gene: That's right, yeah. On Hollywood Boulevard.

Spinner in Japan, pic by Mr. Hiroyuki Hukushima.

Gary: Now, back to the Spinner that was shipped to Japan by Jay Ohrberg.

Gene: I gutted it all out. Took the shocks out. And made it rigid.

Gary: why did you do that? So it would make a better display?

Gene: No. They were going to fly it, hang it by cables so I gutted it all out. Took all the air shocks out and put the rigid bars in.

Gary: This wasn’t the aluminum spinner was it?

Gene: It might have been. Otherwise why would it have all those shocks in it? I don’t know. I don’t remember.

Gary: Well, it’s always been a mystery as to where the aluminum one went. I guess it will remain one for a while longer.
Getting back to your career, and I have always been curious, how did you go from custom cars to building cars for movies?

Gene: Well, when I was in Modesto, before I’d even moved to Phoenix, see I moved to Phoenix in ’66. When I was in Modesto I built my car "the reactor", the aluminum car. I drove it to LA, and I took it to Hollywood and all the studios and showed it off. Then I got my foot in the door a little bit there, and they started calling me for various movie cars. Then I went to AMT Models and we formed the speed and custom division. And somebody decided to do it in Phoenix so then I was making trips from Phoenix to Hollywood sometime three times a week. And so, little by little, with my having my "reactor" at the studios, then I started doing studio cars and AMT Models wanted to build model kits of movie cars, so we went to the studio and for instance we built the Star Trek shuttle craft at no charge to the studio just so they could have the rights to build the enterprise into a kit. And I think we might have got back the money it cost to build the shuttle craft before we gave them any royalties. You see, they recoup their money first, then gave them royalties afterward. So that’s the way it went with "the Man from Uncle", the Star Trek shuttle craft, the Get Smart car and some of those which I built in Phoenix and delivered to the studios. Then in early ’69 we moved the operation to Santa Monica, and opened a facility there. We continued to build movie cars and various things like that, then my contract was up with AMT in late ’69 and they decided to close the division. At that time I was division manager, but they decided to close the division. Then I started on my own, and I continued to do movie cars and commercials. I had a big shop in North Hollywood, where I did commercials. I did Goodyear tire commercials for 18 months. And all the tires driving over the ax blades and drill bits and even my first rig I built for Goodyear was for a local studio that was going to do still photography of the tire going over the drill bits. And it was in a two page spread in Life magazine of this tire going over the drill bits. And I built the whole rig. Then we went to saw blades and then fire axes. The most popular was the fire ax blades. And so I built all those rigs. Then I built seven units to put in seven vans so they could put the them all over the country and they would take out all of this rig out of the seven vans and set it up in a parking lot or in a Goodyear dealer lot and they would drive it over these fire ax blades.

So, I did a lot of commercials.

I did Shell oil, I did Monroe shocks then Montgomery Ward shocks. On and on.

Then I built an all fiberglass Camaro because they wanted to lift the body off of the chassis, but the Camaro didn’t have a chassis Camaros only have a sub-frame So, I used an Impala chassis, shortened it and made a fiberglass… in fact I pulled a mold from a rented car… we rented a Camaro.

Gary: (Laughing) Did you just wax it and put some PVA on it?

Gene: Yes. Yes. We pulled the mold off of the entire car.

Gary: And then drove it back? (laughing harder now)

Gene: (Laughing) Yes. And drove it back. In fact it didn’t hurt the paint except in one place, where they had spotted in the door with lacquer. But the rest of the car was painted with a different kind of paint, so it didn’t hurt anything except that one door. I had that spot in one door, and I returned it to the rental place.

Gary: How were you hired to build the cars for Blade Runner? Did Syd Mead pick you? Was it because of your other movie work that you got involved?

Gene: I believe it was one of the art directors I think who found me, and had the bid on it. I knew of Syd Mead, and had spoken to him on the phone maybe once or twice before that, but I hadn’t really met him personally. But once we got involved with that (Blade Runner), I met him. I went down to his house in fact, and went to dinner with him and everything. It was the starting of a great relation, which I still call him occasionally. I just recently went over to his house. An artist from Detroit wanted to meet him, and I arranged the meeting and did that just a few months ago.

Gary: You did work in the film Solar Crisis. I recall seeing the Deckard sedan and a Spinner. You built some other cars for that movie didn’t you?

Gene: well, I had a car called the "Stripstar". And I rented the "Stripstar" to them for the film Solar crisis, and a lot of people think that it’s a Corvette. It wasn’t it actually started as a ’46 Ford frame and I built an all aluminum body on it, and it does have a Ford engine in it… it has a 427 ford in it. And I also arranged for the Spinner, which they rented. So, I arranged for those two cars to be in it.

Gary: There’s a tremendous amount of interest in the Blade runner film. And it has been nearly twenty years now since it’s release. There has been an award winning CD-ROM game, books, and there’s the many, many Websites.

Has it surprised you how Blade Runner has held up to the test of time, and seems to have even gained momentum with an ever growing fan base?

Gene: Yes it is a complete surprise. And all of the Websites is unbelievable to me. I had no idea that there was this much of a cult following and this much of an interest going on. And, I always have the hindsight that if I had known, I would have saved more things from Blade Runner. (he laughs)

Gary: You must take a lot of pride in knowing that the vehicles you built for the film were just as much the stars as the actors in the film. They played a really strong role in the film. I imagine, because of the size of the film, and the amount of vehicles you had to build that you had to hire quite a few people for this?

Gene: Yes. I built twenty-five cars. It started out… Well, let me back up a minute. When they first had me bid on doing the Blade runner movie, they wanted fifty-four cars. And I knew they would never be able to afford the fifty-four cars. I mean, the budget always starts out bigger and always gets cut. The production manager has to do his job, so they cut and cut wherever they can. So, it started at fifty-four cars, which I did bid them, and it took me weeks, and weeks and weeks to prepare that bid. I worked night and day on it and everything. So, after the bid, they finally changed it to twenty-seven cars. So, I got the contract and started building twenty-seven cars. Then after I got started they decided that they would rather trade for the same dollars now and have one more of this kind of vehicle and two less of this other kind. So, they changed it and changed the amount of cars two or three times before we got to that final decision, and in the mean time I’d already started building the cars of course. So, when it came right down to it, I built twenty-five cars.

Gary: you had a limited budget to.

Gene: yes.

Gary: It was like eight hundred thousand or something?

Gene: No. it wasn’t even that much. It was six-hundred-and-sum-thousand.

Gary: Did you work with Syd Mead… from his drawings? Or how did it exactly work?

Gene: Yes. Syd Mead did the artwork and renderings. Most of them were color renderings. Then they did color Xerox’s of those renderings and brought me the color copies, and I worked from them.

But, also, in order for the studio to build scale models, they hired other artists and blue print type people, and people who could transform the artwork into a scale drawing… sort of like a blue print, and these were to a certain scale. And then the scale modelers were building the scale models while I was building the full sized versions. So, that’s how we coordinated that. So, the studio people had several different artists, as much as six artists I think working on the Blade Runner project, converting from the renderings to scale models and drawings and sort of like a blue print. I have some of those some place. Then we actually built from that. And Syd Mead came out to my shop a couple of times, he came out with Ridley Scott, and they looked over the project while it was under construction, and they were very pleased with what I was doing and it worked out very well.

Gary: Now, the spinners were built on Volkswagen chassis. Why VW chassis?

Gene: Well, I build a lot of movie cars on VW chassis because it is an air-cooled engine. And they can sit there an idle, and run and run and run and not get hot and boil over. So, the Volkswagen is a really good way to go. And it has a rear engine so you can make a lower silhouette in the front and taper the hoods way down.

Gary: So if it had been a 350 engine in a Camaro, you wouldn’t have been able to have that silhouette?

Gene: That’s right. So, in some cases, I dictate to the artist what can be done. As far as the building of the car for instance, the movie "The Last Star Fighter", we built one car. They wanted a duplicate, but they didn’t have the budget for it. And so the production manager was very cool about that, and he would not allow the drivers to race it or do anything to wreck it, and it was agreed from day one that it was going to be my car. Owned by me. So, that car I dictated the complete design, because we had to build it in a hurry. We only had three months to build it. And so I did a lot of dictating of how we could make the shapes to do it in a hurry. And Blade Runner was basically all done by Syd Mead, and so we were locked into his designs so we had to create those in three dimensions and make what we call plugs and then make molds off the plugs to make all of those parts. So each and every part of the complete body, everything you see… the bumpers, the doors the gingerbread on top. You know… The various things that all had to be created, all individually, and then put together on the car during the assembly.

Gary: On things like you said, the ginger bread and different things. I was looking through the photos at the backs of the cars in those books you showed me. There was just a lot of pieces on the backs of those cars. Did you make the pieces from wood first?

Gene Winfield in the customized Sedan at the 1998 West Coast Kustom Cruisin' Nationals in Paso Robles, California. Photo from CUSTOM RODDER magazine, November 1998

Gene: no. Okay, those pieces in the back that you see, are aluminum pieces. No. They were retro-fit. It’s what I call retrofit. I actually went to a surplus houses ,Army, aircraft surplus houses and I found those. If I had seven cars of one style, I had to buy seven pieces. And so I found a lot of that stuff and put it on there, I added it on there. The other stuff I was talking about when I called it ginger bread was the actually the scoops and things on the roofs of the car, which all had to be created. We used wood for most of them, or particleboard, and sometimes foam and fiberglass, and bondo, things like that to create all of those shapes. But a lot of those, like the Spinner was almost entirely created by the use of particleboard. Particleboard stacked on top, in layers, and then ground and sanded and shaped all because we wanted those shapes to hold until we could take a good mold off them. So, we wanted a more solid plug, and in fact those plugs were made out of particleboard and then all painted with acrylic enamel, and allowed to dry and then sanded, so that you had a nice smooth surface. Every one of those plugs for the spinner was done that way. As far as Deckard’s sedan, a good part of that was done in wood. Soft woods, pines, some plywood and a little bit of foam and bondo on Deckard’s sedan. I developed the complete sedan myself. I did the prototype and almost all of it entirely myself with some helpers. Then a guy that worked for me, Carl Krumy, who I mentioned before, did all of the Spinner. He worked for me, and prototyped the body and all of the aluminum frame for the Spinner.

Gary: so, the spinner was by far the most difficult?

Gene: Yes. Most involved and most very, very difficult. In fact all of the interior pieces, we had to create all of the interior pieces. The big TV screen thing and all of the pieces in there. And if you look at that view where the two actors are sitting in the spinner and you see all that stuff around them. That was all created. The only thing the studio added was that they dressed a few colors and dressed a few lines and hoses, they retrofitted a few things. Basically every piece that has a shape to it that you see in there, we made. We made the seats, the steering apparatus and everything.

 They had me make a unique steering apparatus that you put your hands in and turn it counter- rotating, really counter rotating, which is very complicated and we in fact hooked up a chain drive to make this car actually steer by this counter-rotating device. I told the studio up front that they were crazy to do this actually on a car. I told them that they would have to teach one person to drive this car. That person would have to go out in a parking lot and learn to drive this car. I told the studio that from day one. They said fine. So they get the car, they’ve rented this big warehouse over at Burbank Airport and they’re doing the final rigging, and also using this warehouse as a garage to keep these vehicles in between location shots. Anyway they get the Deckard sedan over there and they call me the next day and they say," are you crazy, there isn’t a man alive that can drive this car". (laughs) I say yes there is, we can come over and show you how to drive it. So I went over and showed them how to drive it. They say," No, no, no, that’s not going to work! You have to come over and put a regular steering gear in there by tomorrow." So we went over to their warehouse and changed it over, and put a steering column in it. I told them from day one to have a regular steering wheel so they can drive the car. We could also have a tapered square shaft so the regular steering wheel could slide out and then for the close-up filming put in the counter rotating steering.

Gary: Did you work much with Ridley Scott while building the vehicles? You said he came to your shop a couple of times as I recall?

Gene: yes. In fact I would say every two or three weeks he would come and we would have a show and tell. (laughs) I call it show and tell. We’d get everything ready and clean up the shop as best we could and then we would show them where we were at that point and everything was just fine all the way through. The only thing that I was unhappy about in the end results was that Ridley Scott had us do a lot of things that had to be absolutely near perfect as far as surface and shapes and colors. We went through hours, and hours, and hours of colors and all of this sort of thing and then it was all filmed at night in the rain (laughs). You don’t see even half of what we did. I was a little disappointed. And in fact he had us on the one spinner make a Plexiglas floor, so they could see down through it and film up through the bottom. So we did a lot of extra work that really wasn’t in the budget for that and then it was never seen.

Gary: it wasn’t until I read "Future Noir" that I found out that the Spinners even had a Plexiglas floor.

So you built the taxis, and all of those vehicles. Do you recall the armadillo trucks?

Armadillo used for Sebastion.

Armadillo used as ambulance.

Gene: Yes. We built three of those. That’s where they traded the dollars in the first part. We were only going to build one of those. They decided we’d build three of those and less of the coupes. That’s how we went down from 27 to 25 cars. In fact the one armadillo car was Sebastion’s car.

Gary: Yes. Was the taxi a spin-off of that?

Gene: no. They were totally different. They were rigged for the doors to open away from each other. We built four taxis. There were no molds for those. They were all created completely from wood. They were built on VW van chassis. They had a special rear end in them that was geared down. We used the floor, cut the bodies down used the floor, and the floor was quite high, but we dropped it down in the center. There were four of those and as I said they were built entirely out of wood and Plexiglas and I retrofitted things on the back of them. I have a great shot of the retrofit on the back of the taxi. I don’t know if its been shown in any of these books.

Gary: The curved windshields on the taxis, did you make them also?

Gene: I made all the windshields on all the vehicles.

Gary: The spinner windshields too?

Gene: I built a special oven just for Blade Runner. I could put in that oven, a piece of plexi 6 feet by 8 feet. And it was on rollers. I had a track rolling the plexi in, heat it up, roll it out. I made the Deckard windshield and all of those other cars, coupes and all.

Gary: I hate to bring up a bad subject, but as I recall, there was a fire at one point.

Gene: yes. There was a fire and two cars burnt. It was the night before I was to deliver those two cars. And it was the last two cars of the whole movie. And it was like ten thirty, quarter to eleven at night and there were five of us working in the shop, over here, not in this shop, but you know I’d rented a temporary shop

For the final assembly of these cars I had three shops all together. You asked how many men I had working earlier, well it took 48 to 50 men working on this project over five and a half months 18 hours a day seven days a week. I was there for all those hours. But anyway, we heard this explosion. Its one of those things that rocked the building, but you didn’t know if it was three blocks, three doors or three miles away. I had a couple of guys working for me that were deathly afraid of earthquakes. So, kidding them I said "that was just an earthquake". And they just got all upset and excited. Then we went back to work. Then fifteen minutes later I hear a noise next door when I knew they were closed. This company had just moved in there a month before, doing van conversions and I knew they had about ten to fifteen vans in there. Then I heard this big crash. So I walked over to the wall and I was standing there listening for any further noise and all of a sudden the wall starts cracking and coming towards me, and it was about bumper high, so I’m thinking someone’s in a van trying to drive through the wall. I’m just standing there in a amazement for a moment, then I jump back as the wall cracks. Then I smelled smoke. That’s when the wall cracked all the way up… to the top, all while I’m standing there. So I turned and hollered at this guy that was close to the office, and said, "call the fire department. There’s a fire next door. I smell smoke." So he calls and verifies the address and then I said come here and let’s move this car away from the wall.

So, we’re trying to drag this car sideways, it was a VW chassis and it had wide tires and the two of us were trying to drag it sideways to get it headed towards the door. And on the other side was one of those Sebastion vans sitting there and it was inline for the door. But then while we’re bent down pulling on this car sideways, this whole wall comes in on top of us and lands on top of this car and almost on top of our heads, a ball of fire came out through the shop because the main shop door was open…

And, so, sure enough, they’d set off a bomb three doors over. An arsonist had set off a bomb and it went through four walls before it got to me. And it took about fifteen or twenty minutes and this huge amount of pressure was trying to get out of there and in fact blew the wall down right on top of us and we ran out the door and we saved one welder. The one welding unit was sitting in the driveway and everything else burned.

Gary: It went really quick.

Gene: Yes.

Gary: Did you tour any cars to Japan?

Gene: no. but after the movie was filmed Ridley Scott had all of the cars destroyed except five or six… I think five.

Gary: so all the cars were destroyed?

Gene: Yes. He burned them, and crunched them and totally destroyed them and I had someone police this action to assure it would happen.

Gary: So none would escape.

Gene: Right. So they kept the Deckard sedan, the black and white police car and two spinners and like that. They had these in a warehouse and I didn’t even know about it, I didn’t know where they were, I didn’t know that these cars existed because they’d told me they were all destroyed. Totally destroyed. Then a year or so later a man called me from Filmways or someone who’d had part of the action on the film and he called me up and they said "Gene, we got these cars in storage we’d like to know what to do with them." And I said, "Okay. I’ll come down and look at them and see what you’ve got and I will arrange to sell them for you or buy them or whatever." So, then I ended up buying them. And after that I put some of them in auto shows and tours. I had the Deckard sedan and I took it to Sacramento auto show, and various other shows, and showed it off as the Blade Runner car. I did that for a year or two, and then, little by little, I sold them. I sold two at the Barris auction, the George Barris’s auction.

Gary: George Barris bought them?

Gene: No. I ran them through his auction. Which was in North Hollywood at the Sheraton hotel. And then a friend bought two of these cars and took them to his little museum he was trying to put together in the San Diego area.

Gary: many of the fans want to know how many of the Spinners were saved, but it seems you were out of the loop on this.

Here we see the light weight version used for the lift-off sequence. A crane was used to lift it. NOTE: Plexiglas panels beneath passenger and driver's feet.

Gene: See... Of the total spinners, there was one mock-up that I built that was on a table. Okay? Now this mock-up is the one which the actors sat in with the full interior, but it didn't have any wheels.

Gary: It wasn’t a real vehicle?

Gene: no. A mock-up. A prop used for interiors. That was one. Then we built the one light weight aluminum with all the workings, everything happening, and that was to lift and fly. Then we built two more which originally had engines in them, were driveable. Two were driveable. So there was a total of four bodies, three of them complete, looking like a car and one was the mock-up. And that was what we ended up building as far as the spinner. So one of those went to Japan, they had me gut out that one. They had me prepare it so they could fly it to Japan. Light weight and I took out the shocks absorbers and put in stiff rods and things like square tubing so it would sit at a certain level. It wouldn’t steer or do anything except roll on it’s tires.

Gary: Was this Jay Ohrberg that hired you to do this?

Gene: No this was done by the studio. Actually before I bought those cars. Then later Jay got hold of one of the cars, through a friend or whatever, he repainted the one and put his name on it. He put his and my name on it. Usually he doesn’t even put my name on it. (laughs)

Gary: No credit. (laughs) "I built this".

Gene: He takes credit for all kinds of things. But then, uh, I don’t know… So one Spinner went to MGM/ Disney in Florida, and one Spinner got crashed in transit to the Police Museum.

Gary: What was that car that I saw in Custom Rodder Magazine?

Gene: That was a coupe. They had made me destroy all of the molds. But I kept the mold of the coupe.

Gary: not the spinner? Because there are rumors that the molds are floating around out there.

Gene: No. I am pretty sure I destroyed the molds for the Spinner and the sedan and I kept the coupe mold. But I didn’t want to get into any kind of trouble, so I built it way, way after the film. So I built the coupe, chopped the top four inches and totally changed all the tanks and the retrofit stuff, and everything. Then I put together the coupe that you saw in Custom Rodder Magazine.

Little Deuce Coupes.

Gary: I thought maybe it was one of the coupes from the film you got back, that was in really bad condition and you customized it.

Gene: No, they burned all the coupes, all eight of them. Then there were seven sedans that I built, and the destroyed all but two of those. One was the Deckard Sedan and the other was the black and white police car.

Gary: and the black and white police car went to Orlando to the Disney/MGM back lot and the Deckard sedan went to the Miami Police Museum.

Gene: Yup.

Gary: Are you working on any film projects?

Gene: I’ve bid on several, but missed them in one way or another. I bid on "Total Recall", and in fact the art director was originally on Blade Runner and I bid on that and ended up working on the project for five months. Making twenty trips to Hollywood. I had the OK. Then, they were supposed to give me the money to start to build the cars. I had a team of artists working with me designing them, and we’d gone through this whole change of artwork, five or six different sets of artwork for that movie and then at the last minute they gave it to somebody else. It was very disappointing.

Gary: I mentioned that because, I saw "Total Recall" recently an I noticed the taxi cabs looked similar to other work you have done.

Gene: what they did was they changed the artwork, they didn’t use my art work at the last minute and hired a guy I’d worked with on the "Last Star Fighter". Then, I worked with him for a while, then they replaced me. What the director wanted the cars to be more crude. They wanted them to be more square, almost ugly. By the same token, I bid on "Demolition Man", and they originally started with eight people bidding on that, then it got down to Dean Jeffries, me and another guy. Then I heard later that they gave it to this other person, I heard from Dean Jeffries that we never had a chance of ever getting it that there was already a locked deal with this other guy, that he was already working on the producer’s Rolls Royce. So we never had a chance at that one. The most recent one I bid on was "Gone in Sixty Seconds" a new movie that they’re doing now. They were going to do 15 Mustangs and make them look like GT 500’s and one hero car, which had a lot special things and special designs. Steve Stanford did the artwork on it.

Gary: He’s really good.

Gene: I bid on that and spent a lot of time on that. But they ended up giving it to somebody else. In fact Chip Foose ended up being part of that. I don’t know exactly who built the hero car but I know Chip Foose had a lot to do with it. And I was very happy for him to get that job.

So, I haven't been out there beating on the door because I’ve been screwed around so much. I get tired of it.

Gary: I can see you're still very active in building Custom Cars, for those not familiar with his custom car work, Gene Winfield is one of a handful of famous custom car builders, who has been inducted into The Custom Car Hall of Fame... You can see Mr. Winfield at almost any major car show.

Gene: I have to get ready for the Fresno Show , I'm taking my car "Maybellene"

Gary: Maybellene the 1961 Cadillac?

Gene: Yes. We just put in new suspension.

Gary: It's a great car! Thank you again for letting me visit your shop.

Gene: You're welcome. It was very enjoyable!

Gary: well I look forward to seeing you at the next car show.


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