Winfields Jade Idol Sold

 

WINFIELDS JADE IDOL SOLD

 

After having been the caretaker for many years Billy Belmont has just sold the Gene Winfield created 1956 Mercury Jade Idol to a Oregon based new owner.



On September 20th, 2017 the Gene Winfield created 1956 Mercury “Jade Idol” has been loaded onto a transported in Dedham, Massachusetts to be delivered at Gene Winfield’s Mohave Desert Custom Shop for a complete make over for its new owner. Billy Belmont has been the caretaker of the Jade Idol since the late 1980’s, when he bought the car from John D’Agostino. Billy has taken very good care of the car since then and had the car stored in a temperature controlled garage. The car could not have looked any better than it does. The Rodder’s Journal issue #75 featured a full page ad for the Jade Idol being For Sale. The Portland, Oregon based new owner decided he wanted to have the car, and despite the great condition the car is in, to go for a make over by the master, Gene Winfield himself.

The Jade Idol is now on its way from Dedham, Massachusetts, to Gene Winfield’s Shop in the Mohave desert in California. Here Gene will repaint the car in a fade paint job very similar to the first paint job he added to the sectioned ’56 Mercury back in early 1960.

The full page ad in Rodder’s Journal issue #75 The Jade Idol For Sale.
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A brief history on the Jade Idol

Leroy Kemmerer took his newly bought 1956 Mercury 2-door hard-top to Gene Winfield’s shop in 1958. He had Gene Winfield turn the car into a Custom Car Show stopper and had Gene do whatever he needed to do, to create just that. The car was sectioned 4 inches, had ’57 Chrysler New Yorker rear quarter panels added, with complete custom made front and rear. The body was all smoothed and when done, Gene painted it shades of candy green over pearl white with gold, black and probably some others dark shades. Gene had 7 paint guns all ready to go when he started the fade paint job, to create this unique feature. The car was a huge success on the show circuit.

Leroy Kemmerer with the original 1956 Mercury, before he took it to Gene Winfield’s shop.
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After touring he Jade Idol on the West Coast, where it won about every award possible, the car was taken to the east coast to be shown at all the major Custom Car Show there. There it was equally successful bringing a lot of Nation wide fame for Gene Winfield. On the way back to California disaster stuck when the trailer the Jade Idol was transported on flipped and the Mercury was badly damaged. Gene was not insure, so the repair work had to be paid by Gene himself. He replaced the damaged roof with a donor roof, and repaired all the other body damage and repainted the car. The repaired car is missing its distinctive Metal strips on the roof. Gene applied a new paint-job, but different from its original one.

The Jade Idol’s original fade paint-job by Gene Winfield. The car that made Gene the king of fade paint-jobs.
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The Jade Idol was very successful at the early 1960’s Car Shows.
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After having toured California and later the East Coast the car was badly damaged when the trailer it was transported on flipped. Gene repaired the damage by removing the damaged top and replace it with a donor top. The rest of the damage was repaired and the car repainted with a new, but different fade paint job.
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The Jade Idol after Gene Winfield had repaired it.
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After the car had been repaired it was shown in California for about another year, then the car returned to Leroy who wanted to enjoy the car on the road. It turned out the car was not quite street legal according the cops who ticketed Leroy when he drove it around town. Changes where made and after a few year Leroy lost interest in the car and sold it for very little money. After that the history is a little sketchy until Rod Powell finds car at a body shop. Jerry Rehn ends up buying the car and together with Rod Powell the car was restored at Rod’s Salinas Shop. Rod Powell painted the car close to the original colors, but not 100% the same. Later Jerry sold the car to Bob Page, who had the car repainted with the colors the car is still in today. John D’Agostino owned the car for a short period in 1987, and made plans to have the car restored and redone completed into how the car originally looked at Gene Winfield. But before that happened John sold the car to Billy Belmont. Billy has been the caretaker of the Jade Idol ever since and kept it in pristine condition.

During its restoration around 1979 at Rod Powell’s Salinas Shop.
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1980, shortly after Rod Powell and Jerry Rehn had restored the car and Rod Powell had repainted it. The new paint job had less black on the sides, and less color sections added to the fading parts as the original paint Gene added.
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At the 46th Oakland Roadster Show.
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This is how the car looked after Bob Page owned the car and had it repainted. The new paint job was still a fade paint-job, but lacked the original dark and black sectioned.
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Studio photos by Steve Coonan when Billy Belmont owned the car.
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The Jade Idol sitting in Billy Belmont’s garage on September 20th, 2010, the car has just been sold to its new Portland, Oregon based Owner and getting ready to be shipped to Gene Winfield for a new Winfield fade paint-job similar to the cars very first Winfield paint-job. (Photo’s by Pete from the HAMB)
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Billy Belmont (right) with the Jade Idol, getting ready to drive it out of the garage.
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Billy Belmont on its way to the truck that will take the car to Winfield’s Mohave desert shop.
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Backing up to get in position to be loaded onto the truck.
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On the lift.
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California… here we come!
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And this is very much as how Gene Winfield will once again paint the Jade Idol wonderful shaded of green, black, gold and white. We will show the result as soon as we get the pictures from the restoration.
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Special thanks to John D’Agostino.




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Recreating Lanny Ericksons 56 Chevy

 

RECREATING THE VIOLET FANTASY

 

In early 1958 Gene Winfield applied his first blend¬†paint job, using candy colors fading from one tone to the other¬†on¬†Lanny Erickson’s 1956 Chevy. A new trend was set.


A brief history on Lanny’s Chevy

Lanny Erickson had his near new 1956 Chevy two-door sedan chopped by the Clovis Body Shop. The shop used a 1950 Mercury rear window at the back. The Chevy was nosed, decked, and the door handles were shavedand the suspension lowered. But other than that the car was kept pretty much stock. Not too long after the car was finished Larry was hit in the front doing quite a bit of damage. The front fenders, hood and bumper needed to be replace, and other body paneles straigthned. Instead of using the stock front end, Larry upgraded to a 1957 Bumper with custom made upper lip and used a modified 1954 Chevy grille to float in the new opening. And at the rear the rear fenders were reshaped to house a set of 1956 Lincoln taillights in custom made openings.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-06The stock Chevy as Lanny bought it.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-07 During the chop at Clovis Body Shop.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-first-versionFinished first version with the stock front and rear. 
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-08Lanny damaged the front end on his just finished ’56 Chevy… time for another update.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-05Still in primer but now with the repaired front end and the 1957 Chevy front bumper, ready to go to the Winfield shop for the final details as the Lincoln taillights and of course the trend setting fade paint job.
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The finishing work was done by Gene Winfield at his shop in Modesto, California. Lanny visited the shop regulary, when Gene was doing the work, and when the car was close to getting painted. Gene told Lanny about this idea he had for a fading/blending paint job using transparant colors over a gold or silver base and fading from light to dark. Lanny loved the idea and gave Gene the green light to use his Chevy as canvas for Genes first ever blend paint job. The results were absolutely stunning. And Gene Winfield would get request for his blending paint jobs from all around the US after that.

Lanny showed the car a lot, and drove it where ever he could. In 1962 the paint job was faded in a bad way and it was time to let go of the car. After Lanny sold it it changed hands several times, it went from California, to Minnesota and back to California untill it ended up in Canada.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-color-01A few cropped images for a better look at some of the details.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-color-02Below the 1956 Chevy side trim Gene installed a 1957 DeSoto trim piece. Inside he applied some amazing blending shades.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-color-031956 Lincoln tailights sitting in custom made openingings. 
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-09Display board with fading color photos of Lanny’s ¬†1956 Chevy the “Violet Fantasty”.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-article-01One of the highlights for Lanny and the Chevy was the double photo on the cover of the April 1960 issue of Custom Rodder Magazine. 
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Lanny was reunited with the car in 1994 and brought it back to his home in California. The car was not in very sad condition and had been stored outdoors for many years. The custom front end and dashboard were long gone, cut out, and perhaps used on somebody else his custom. Lanny planned to rebuilt the car, or perhaps better use as much as could be saved but somehow never found the time for it untill…

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-00This is what was left of Lanny’s Chevy in the early 1990’s.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-01The drivers side looked even worse.
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Recreating the Violet Fantasy

Eventually the car was started, and there is a lot more to this¬†story than we care to tell at this point.¬†The good news is that the car, mostly recreated from another ’56 Chevy with as much parts/sections that could be saved from the original Chevy, is now nearing completion. Or at least getting close to paint time.

After we had shown the great collor photos of Lanny’s Chevy in another CCC-Article we recieved an mesage from¬†JaKo who worked with Lanny Ericson in 2006. Here he helped Lanny with the recreation of his Chevy. He took some photos of the progress during that time and wanted to share it with us.¬†Good timing since¬†Jacob Bain, who had shared the amazing color photos, also shared some photos of the current state of Lanny’s Chevy.

Lets take a look at the recreation of Lanny Erickson’s “Violet Fantasy” 1956 Chevy. We plan to do a full article with the whole history on Lanny’s Chevy once the car will be finished.

All the front sheetmetal work, the dummy side pipe exits, plus fixing a lot of bad metal and bodywork, (Pop riveted quarter panel patches ect), was done by the Hatfield Restorations Shop. Several people in this shop worked on the car, and one bodyman sadly did some really bad work. This was part of the source of the bad blood between Lanny and this particular shop, which resulted in a long legal matter which halted the work on the car for quite some time.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-18Lenny with his Chevy. Lenny performed a lot of the body work himself on the recreation of his Chevy.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-12Recreating the fender extension for the 1956 Lincoln taillights.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-14Metal working the exteneded section on the drivers side.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-15The passendger side rear fender works was already mostly done at this poing.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-28Fitting the 1957 Chevy front bumper to the 1956 Chevy.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-27Using old photographs to help with the recreation of the top section of the new grille opening. Most of the hard work on the grille and surround is done by the Hatfield Restorations shop.

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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-19The Mercury rear window opening. One of the unique features of Lanny’s Chevy.
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Jacob Bain met with Lanny in February 2015 and showed the progress on the recreation of the “Violet Fantasy” 1956 Chevy Lanny also shared some amazing color photos of the Chevy which were taken in 1958. We have used a few of them in this article, and the rest can be seen on another CCC-Article we did on those photos. ¬†Many thanks to Lanny and Jacob for sharing these with us.

The recent photos of the ’56 Chevy recreation show that a lot of progress has been made. Hopefully the progress will continue and we can look forward to see Gene Winfield recreate the trend setting blend paint job he did in¬†early 1958.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-21Several coast of primer, sanding and more sanding have been performed. Some more fine tuning is needed before the final primer coats will cover the body.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-22Great shape of the new rear fender taillight opening that will house the 1956 Lincoln taillights.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-23Gene Winfield create the dummy lake pipe exhit molding on the front quarter panels. The newly created units, created by the Hatfield Restorations shop, look just like they did in 1958.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-25A inspiration board keeps the team motivated in the shop. The original chrome plated rear side window garnish molding is used to frame some of the old photos of the car.
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Resources and more info

  • Custom Rodder, Magazine April 1960
  • Gene Winfield, book 2008

Special thanks to Lanny Erickson, Jacob Bain, and JaKo for sharing their photos and information

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Lanny Ericson Color Photos

LANNY ERICSON COLOR PHOTOS

Lanny Ericson shared some amazing color photos that he came across recently. Photos of his own 1956 Chevy with an amazing Gene Winfield paint, and some color photos of the white with fading green Leroy Goulart Ford.

 

Jacob Bain visited Lanny Ericson on Feb 09 2015 to talk cars in teh good old day. Lanny mentioned he had recently found a pile of really cool color photos of his old 1956 Chevy. The car was chopped by the Clonis Body shop, but all the other work was done by Gene Winfield and finished in early 1958. Gene created something new on Lanny’s Chevy, a “Blend job”. These amazing color photos show how nice and new this car looked in the late 1950’s.
 
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Lenny also had some color photos of the Leroy Goulart shoebox with the white paintjob and the green fade aways. I had never seen color photos of this version of Leroy’s shobox before. Thank you very much for sharing Lanny, and thank you Jacob Bain for making taking the digital photos.
If you want to see more on Leroy Goulart’s Ford, check out the two part CCC-article on the car.
 
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Gene Winfield’s Comeback

Golden Sunrise ’58 CHRYSLER

In 1979 Richard Zocchi asked Gene Winfield to turn his 1958 Chrysler into a typical Winfield custom. Gene outdid himself creating this show winning masterpiece. And with that he put himself back on the map again.

Famous custom car builder Gene Winfield is known for cars as the Jade Idol, the Solar Scene, the Ractor, the Strop Star, the Pacifica, and many more well – and not so well – known custom cars and hot rods. Gene had slowly faded in to doing other automotive work in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Until Richard Zocchi knocked on his shop door with the request to built him a show winning custom car, styled after the late 50’s, early 1960’s classic custom cars. For Gene this meant a comeback into customizing the “traditional way”. He would continue to be involved in this scene – up to this very moment – and hopefully for many more years to come.

We say traditional way. But in reality the Chrysler is not so very traditional at all. Even though Richard’s 1958 Chrysler New Yorker looks traditional – for the time it was built in – modern components were used to achieve the looks Richard and Gene were after. Gene started the job by lowered the car to the perfect ride-height, then he chopped the top 3 1/4 inch, and used a Dodge Challenger rear window to fit the new reshaped back of the top. The front fenders were extended, and slightly widened on the inside, to house a set of 1972 Oldsmobile Delta headlights. Far from traditional – but as the photos show – ¬†these modifications worked extremely well. All trim, and handles are removed, and the holes filled for an ultra smooth look.

CCC-Winfield-Golden-Sunrise-01-WRichard’s 1958 Chrysler New Yorker in progress at the Gene Winfield Canoga Park shop. The top has been chopped, and the reshaping of the front fenders to house the 1972 Oldsmobile headlights is in process. (Gene Winfield collection)
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CCC-Winfield-Golden-Sunrise-18-WThe nearly finished “Golden Sunrise” on its way to Richard’s home in Pittsburg, California. The car had deep chrome steel wheels at that moment, but those would soon be replaced with steel wheels and aftermarket hubcaps.¬†(Gene Winfield collection)
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CCC-Winfield-Golden-Sunrise-04-WAll finished with the new hubcaps, and wonderful polished chrome, the Golden Sunrise.
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A closer look at the Oldsmobile headlights, and the White Tuck & Roll and buttoned interior.
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This old aftermarket catalog image show the hubcaps “S” that Richard found. After having them re-plated, he used on his Chrysler. They fitted the car with its bullet grille, and fade away paint-job extremely well.
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The rear fenders were extended a little to work with the 1957 Chrysler taillights. The trunk was smoothed, and the bumper guards removed for a much cleaner look. Gene contracted an unique grille based on a wire mesh base, that was cut to fit the grille opening. Three rows of two different size chrome plated bullets were mounted on this base. A typical early 1960’s Winfield styling element which changed the look of the front dramatically. Together with the smoothed bumper and Oldsmobile quad headlights the front end looks absolutely stunning. Once all the body work was ready, Gene, and his team prepared the body for another unique Gene Winfield feature. The Fade-Away paint job. Gene painted the whole car in white pearl first, then started to blend-in candy yellow, orange, and golds to end up the the Golden Sunrise eye popping paint job.

The interior was handled by Dick’s Auto Trim in Concorde, California. Here, Skip DuMont used white leatherette tuck & roll, detailed with buttoned section on cut to fit Lincoln/Mercury Capri seats. Wide white wall tires, and 1957 Chrysler style with extra blades after market hubcaps, form the finishing touch.

Richards drove, and showed the car for a couple of years until he sold it to John D’Agostino in 1982.¬†Besides it being the come back to custom for Gene Winfield, Richard’s Golden Sunrise Chrysler is also one of those important custom cars that put Customs back on the map in the early 1980’s. Richard Zocchi and John D’Agostino both played a major role in that with their near annual new custom creations.

 

CCC-Winfield-Golden-Sunrise-19-WJohn D’Agostino, close friend to Richard Zocchi, and well known Custom Conductor, bought the Golden Sunset. He changed the hubcaps with his favorite trademark chrome wire wheels.
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CCC-Winfield-Golden-Sunrise-12-WCCC-Winfield-Golden-Sunrise-09-WThis photo was taken at the 1988 Paso Robles show. By then the car was owned by either Paul Glavaris or Harry Craycroft who had replaced the wide white wall tires with narrow white, and yellow stripe tires. The car still looked great, but I always preferred the original version with the full hubcaps, and wide white wall tires.
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CCC-Winfield-Golden-Sunrise-02-WMike Shelly’s photo give us a nice look at the bullet grille.
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CCC-Winfield-Golden-Sunrise-16-WThe current owner of the Golden Sunrise Bob Fryz, completely re-did the car several years ago. Now the car is painted a lime gold, outlined in white. Bob also removed the bullet grille, and replaced it with a chrome tube grille.
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The Golden Sunset has played a big part in my personal Custom Car history. In the early 1980’s the Classic & Custom magazine article on Richards Chrysler was copied in the Belgium/Dutch magazine Chroom & Vlammen (Dutch for: Chrome and Flames). This was basically the only magazine I was able to find back then. The wild fade paint job, the ultra bright chrome details like the bullet grille, fascinated me a lot. I must have stared at those photos for hours. A couple of years ago, I heard that the car was still around today. I was thrilled, but a bit disappointed to find out what the updated version looked like. The car looks still very nice with a slightly more forward rake. The new paint is also nice, and fits the theme. But personally I would love to see it restored back to its original Richard Zocchi version with the hubcaps, full whites, bullet grille and wild fading golden Sunset Gene Winfield paint job.

 

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Resource and more info:

  • Gene Winfield book,¬†The Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield
  • Classic Customs and Leadslead book, Bo Bertilsson
  • Classic & Custom magazine, August/September 1980

 

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LeRoy Goulart’s Shoebox Part 2

 

WILD-MILD CUSTOM

 

Part two on the LeRoy Goulart 1951 Ford Shoebox concentrated on the second and third version of the car with the help of the Goulart Photo Collection.

In part one we showed you the early version of LeRoy’s Shoebox. After showing his car for some time, LeRoy decided it was time for a make-over, and a bit more radical this time. Still the end result could be considered a mild custom. Although perhaps it can be considered a wild-mild custom. Since it still had a lot of body work done, but not the chopped top or sectioned body, that is considered a must, in order to deserve the title “wild custom car”.
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Once more LeRoy teamed up with his brother Ray, and later on in the process with Gene Winfield. First on the list was to modify the V-Shaped stock Shoebox windshield, and replace it with a round 1952 Ford unit. In fact the whole cowl and front section of the roof and A-pillars of a 1952 Ford donor car, was installed on the Shoebox body. Some adjustment work was needed to match the slightly smaller ’52 Ford windshield in the Shoebox opening. The front of the car was already reshaped in the first round. But LeRoy now wanted to have canted quad headlights.

Most of this work was done at the Winfield shop. The top and bottom portion of the grille opening, remained as it was created in the first version. But the sides, as well as the singe hooded headlights, were cut out. 1957 Chrysler Imperial quad headlights were positioned with the top light in the original Ford headlights position, and the whole headlight unit on angle. Round rod was shaped around the new headlights, to create a new opening flowing from the top of the fenders to the center of the old grille opening. The 1956 Chrysler grille bars were modified to fit the new opening. The front bumper remained the same as on the first version, and worked really well with the new grille headlight combination. The rear of the car remained the same as the first version, with the exception of the added scoop above the rear window.

In Ray’s original design sketches the sides of the car were altered dramatically as well. Newly shaped wheel openings, which matched the new shaped front of the car much better. Round rod was bend in a tear drop shape, to create a new wheel opening for both the front, and rear wheels. The shaped rod was welded to the body, and the inside body metal was cut out and concave shaped panels shaped, and installed in the new opening. Later these coves would be covered with hand shaped stainless steel panels. The ’55 Dodge side trim, and lake pipes were not altered. Once all the work was finished at the Winfield shop, Gene painted the car pearl white, with candy green fogged in around the edges.

 

CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-05-WGreat photo of LeRoy Goulart’s Shoebox in the white version. This one shows the work on the wheel well sculptured metal. Round rod was hand shaped, and molded into the body. The original body panel inside this shape was cut out, and replaced with concave shaped panels. This photo shows how extremely low this car is. LeRoy changed the hubcaps with what appears to be 1957 Chysler units. Notice how the drip rail from the 1952 Ford front section of the top continues onto the stock drip rail.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-04-WThe sculptured fender well’s, and license plate holder are really working great on this car. And so are the 1956 Olds taillights set into extended wind-splits, another wonderful detail of this great Custom Car.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-06-WA good view at the six rows of louvres.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-14-WWith every version of the car LeRoy was doing very well at the Car Shows. He won a huge selection of trophies during the period he showed the car. This snapshot shows the car in its white version, parked on the lawn with the trophies proudly displayed in front of the car.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-10-WThis photo shows how low the car really was…¬†LOW!¬†The car was raised a bit later on, to increase drive-ability. LeRoy did drive this car quite a bit, but it really was a bit to low to be really comfortable, practical and most of all safe. The 1957 Plymouth hubcaps are back on the car again as well, and they will also stay on the car after it was repainted green.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-collection-04Lanny Erickson shared three really great color photos of LeRoy’s Shoebox with us. This is the all white with green fades version. And these are the only photos we have ever seen in color of the car in this version.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-collection-05The color photos of the car in this version gave a whole different look at the car. The green accents are a lot more visible in the color photos than they are in the black and white photos.
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CCC-lanny-ericson-collection-06Gene Winfield even added green faded to the louvers on the hood.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-18-WShit happens… LeRoy Goulart’s 1951 Ford is shown here in the the white version, and it also shows the reason why it was later changed to the better known green version. DAMAGE… besides this passenger side rear fender damage the car was also damaged at the front. Sad for sure, but mishaps like this gave the owner/builders a good opportunity to give their Customs a face lift and score more points at the next Car Show season.
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After showing the car in this version for some time, LeRoy damaged the passenger rear fender, and the front of the car. So it was back to Gene Winfield for repair work, and a completely new paint job. LeRoy really loved the original Winfield green version of the car, and decided the car should be green again.

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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-03-WA photo of LeRoy Goulart after he won the Outstanding Award at the 8th Sacramento Autorama and Motor Sports Review in 1958 with his Shoebox. This photo also shows the nicely tuck&roll covered top portion of the dash. If you look closely, you can see a wire coming of the working spotlights.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-23-WTwo snapshots taken at one of the many shows LeRoy entered the car.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-21-WSnapshot of the Shoebox in front of LeRoy’s home garage.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-RC-58The July 1958 had a four page feature on LeRoy’s Ford.
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In 1960 LeRoy experienced once more that the car was really to low to travel comfortable with, and more important safe. On a trip from Minnesota to his home in California, he spun the car on an icy road in Wyoming. He landed in the field next to the road, and damaged the underside of the car since it was just to low. At that time he decided to let go of the car, he stored it in a close by barn, and would later advertise it in the paper. He sold the car by phone and never saw it back again. The last thing he heard about his old love was that it was left on the side of a street out in the open.

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Resource and more info:

  • Gene Winfield book,¬†The Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield
  • Custom Cars magazine,¬†January 1958
  • Rod & Custom magazine,¬†July 1958
  • LeRoy Goulart Collection

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Go back to Part One.
 

 

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LeRoy Goulart’s Shoebox Part 1

 

THE EARLY VERSION

 

The Goulart brothers LeRoy, and Ray, created a radical Custom Shoebox over a period of time. The car would make a huge impact in the custom car world, and even had model car companies copy ideas from it to include in their plastic kits.


LeRoy Goulart’s ’51 Ford was mostly built by the bothers LeRoy and Ray Goulart. The photos in this Two Parts article are part of LeRoy Goulard’s¬†personal collection, and are shared by Jerry Daman with the Custom Car Chronicle. The photo below shows the car in its most popular version, with the canted headlights, 1952 Ford windshield, and radical wheel cut outs front and rear. In part two of the article we will tell you more about his particular version.

CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-02-WThis is the best known version o the LeRoy Goulart Shoebox. We will tell you more about the car in this version in Part TWO.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-15-W Early photo from the LeRoy Goulart Collection shows LeRoy racing his Shoebox, before the Custom work had begun.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-13-W Another early photo of LeRoy’s Ford shows the car before the start of the body work. The interior had been redone completely, including a cover over the rear seats.
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-19-WBefore LeRoy started the body work he made some rough sketches on photos of his Car. This sample shows some side trim and taillight ideas.
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LeRoy bought his 1951 Shoebox in 1954. Before he started customizing the car, LeRoy used it as daily transport. In the weekends he did some racing with the car . Together with his brother Ray, he made some design sketches. When to both agreed on the design, the brothers started working. The front wheel openings of a 1952 Ford were added to the Shoebox. The grille opening was reshaped, using round rod and sheet metal. This new design matched the shape of the 1952 Ford wheel openings perfectly. Two 1956 Chrysler Windsor grille bars were installed floating freely in the new opening. The hood was extended, and incorporated the top section of the new grille opening. Jack Hageman added six rows of louvers to the hood. The front bumper was removed. A roll pan was created to which a 1955 Pontiac two part bumper was added. The brothers used wire mess to create the shape on the trunk to house the license plate. Once this shape was perfect, they covered it in fiberglass.

The door handles were shaved, and so were all other trim. A 1955 Dodge Lancer gave up its side trim which was mounted low on the body just above the rear wheel opening. The shape of the trim gives the flat side of the Shoebox a sense of movement. The car’s suspension was modified to allow for a radical lowering. The Cal Custom lake pipes were mounted on the rocker panels allowing the pipes to sit level with the bottom of the body.¬†The hooded headlights, and radical surrounds for the 1955 Oldsmobile 98 taillights were farmed out to the American Body Shop in Stockton.

When all the body work was done, LeRoy took the car to Gene Winfield for a paint job. The team at Winfield performed some fine tuning on the body work before the car was ready for the final paint. Gene painted the car in a brilliant lime green with a gold under-base. The paint really glowed in the sunlight showing dark lime green colors on the shadow sections, and gold where the sun hits the body. When the car was done, LeRoy  had Von Dutch do the pin-striping in his characteristic bold white line style. The upholstery in white with green piping, was done by the Tuxedo Auto Upholstery.

CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-01-W This photo, taken at one of the many shows the car entered, shows LeRoy’s Ford finished in its first version. Reshaped grille opening with a nice lip matching the 1952 Ford wheel openings, and 1955 Dodge Lancer side trim. The car is now painted green and Von Dutch did the pin striping in white.¬†
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CCC-leroy-goulart-50-Ford-08-WTwo nice color photos of the first version showing the new grille opening with Chrylser Windson grille bars, the Pontiac front bumpers, stock rear bumper, fiberglass molded in license plate surround on the trunk, 1955 Olds 98 taillights, 1955 Dodge Lancer side trim placed low on the body, Cal Custom lake pipes and 1957 Plymouth cone hubcaps. These slightly faded color photo also show a bit of how the lime green metallic/flake paint glowed gold when the sun hit the body.
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Resource and more info:

  • Gene Winfield book, The Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield
  • Custom Cars magazine, January 1958
  • Rod & Custom magazine, July 1958
  • LeRoy Goulart Collection

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The Jade Idol 1956 Mercury Gene

A VERY FINE GENE WINFIELD CUSTOM

A favorite Gene Winfield Custom is the Jade Idol 1956 Mercury Gene built for Leroy Kemmerer from Castro Valley, Ca. This color photo of the first version of the car is an all time favorite. Even though the drivers door and trunk are open, the setting and the rich colors are just as perfect as they can get.

A daring assignment

It’s not hard to image Leroy taking the photo of the car at his home garage after spending precious time prepping the car for just another car show. Leroy had $15,000 to spend and asked Gene to built him a custom car based on his two year old 1956 Mercury. He had seen so many great things coming out of Gene’s shop. So he was brave enough to let the design up to Gene. The car was sectioned 4 inches, and 1957 Chrysler New Yorker rear fenders where adapted to the sectioned body.

The front fenders where highly reshaped and a roll pan created. Gene crafted the quad headlights and used 1959 Chrysler toothed hubcap rings as the bezels for the headlights. A new grille opening was formed and stainless sheet shaped to fit inside it. A chrome tube grille was installed up front and also at the rear where a new opening was shaped from fender to fender. New taillights were shaped from red lucite. The bumpers front and rear are home made from sheet metal with an hand shaped aluminum rod inside which was covered with rubber material. This was far more sophisticated than the chrome nerve bars we see on many customs from this era.

The interior is custom built as well with a new padded dash including a TV and the instruments moved to the steering column hub. “Cocktail” style chairs where built and the front seats made so that they could swivel. They where upholstered in pearl white naugahide and green velvet. The paint job is one of Gene’s best ever fade paint jobs in multiple tones of candy and pearl greens over a pearl white and black base and some gold powered for extra sparkle.

The first version with the metal straps on the top, the 1957 Plymouth hubcaps on red wheels, and the paint job (as it can be seen in this photo) is outstanding. Later on a cross country trip in the car show season disaster stroke. The trailer on which the Jade Idol was transported flipped and the car landed on its roof destroying the top completely. Gene rebuilt the car with a new top, redid the paint job and a few other details. It was still very nice then, but was never again as perfect as the original version of the Jade Idol.

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