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The Online Blade Runner Fan Club    
BladeZone Presents
Cinefantastique 1982

A (Flying) Car Is Born
Auto customizer Gene Winfield builds the first two dozen vehicles of the 2019 model year.

       To build the futuristic autos of Ridleyville, Ridley Scott turned to car customizer Gene Winfield perhaps best known for building the full-size Galileo shuttlecraft for the STAR TREK television series.
       With a crew of 35 Winfield created more than two dozen full-size vehicles The cars featured fiberglass bodies and a VW chassis except for the larger vehicles, which were built on the frame of Dodge vans.
       Originally they suggested that I use the engine and frame of a Camaro," said Wrinfield "But I recommended Volkswagons because they re air cooled – you don t have to worry about a radiator – and because they’re rear-engine. It would be a tremendous problem getting the Camaro’s largs engine within the needed body shapes."
       Winfield's greatest challenge involved the building of four full-scale Spinners including two that could be driven like regular cars, and one that could to appear to take off. Although Winfield’s Spinners didn't really have to fly, their odd shape and mechanical requirements – including hydraulically-operated doors that lifted up and away – required a sizeable portion of his $800,000 budget.
       Construction began with blueprints (top), which had been prepared for the miniature makers From the plans,a full-scale wooden mock-up was assembled from which molds were taken to create the fiberglass body pieces.
       It took about four weeks to completeiy assemble each car, including the installation of the necessary hydraulics The "street’ Spinners used a standard VW engine and rear suspension, with a custom tubular steel chassis up front.
       The ‘flying" Spinner was built from scratch over an all-aluminum frame to save weight. Designed to be picked up by a crane to simulate flight extra hydraulics were installed to match the capabilities of the miniatures: the front wheels folded into the car, flaps dropped into place and moveable body sections channeled out jets of steam and carbon-dioxide.
       "We also heavily detailed the bottom with tubes hoes and other paraphernalia so it would be interesting to look at," Winfield said.

All of Winfield's cars were freshly painted and (except for the fiying Spinner) ready to drive when they left his Canoga Park workshop. They looked so good, in fact, that the art department often had to ' dirty down’ the cars, adding dents, grime and rust to make them appear older.
       "You hate to see that sort of thing happen," Winfield said, "but I understood. They just wanted them to look as realistic as possible."


The Flying Spinner featured a custom made aluminum frame (top right) and sophisticated hydraulic controls. Based on blueprints originally prepared for the miniature crew, a full-size wooden mock-up was built (center right), from which the finished fiberglass pieces were molded Body panels were then Individually bolted onto the chassis (bottom right).









LEFT Len Hokel, finishes up the detailing in the cockpit of a Police Spinner Two wooden boards prop open the hydraulic doors.




BELOW The completed Spinner as it looked when it left Gene Wlnfield’s workshop Art department crews"later covered the vehicle with decals, extra hardware and dirt (see photo, page 35)

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