Custom Car Chronicle
Gene Winfield

Recreating Lanny Ericksons 56 Chevy




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.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-07 During the chop at Clovis Body Shop.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-first-versionFinished first version with the stock front and rear. 


CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-08Lanny damaged the front end on his just finished ’56 Chevy… time for another update.

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.

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.

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.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-color-031956 Lincoln tailights sitting in custom made openingings. 

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-09Display board with fading color photos of Lanny’s ¬†1956 Chevy the “Violet Fantasty”.

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. 

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.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-01The drivers side looked even worse.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-02As it was sitting at Lanny’s place waiting to see what could be¬†resqued.



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.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-12Recreating the fender extension for the 1956 Lincoln taillights.


CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-14Metal working the exteneded section on the drivers side.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-15The passendger side rear fender works was already mostly done at this poing.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-28Fitting the 1957 Chevy front bumper to the 1956 Chevy.

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.


CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-19The Mercury rear window opening. One of the unique features of Lanny’s Chevy.


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.

CCC-lanny-ericson-56-chevy-clone-22Great shape of the new rear fender taillight opening that will house the 1956 Lincoln taillights.


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.


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.


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




(this article is sponsored by)





Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

9 thoughts on “Recreating Lanny Ericksons 56 Chevy

  • What a great car and story here Rik. The progress looks good and getting this on the road and at shows for all to enjoy is exciting! I look forward to hearing more in the future. Geoff

  • Great to see another one being brought back to life.
    I am usually not a big Fan of Chevy tri 5 customs but this one hits all the right notes.
    Looking forward to a follow up article Rik.

  • What a labor of love that restoration project has to be, looking at the state of the car when Lanny retrieved it. That much of it could be salvaged is almost beyond belief. For all of us who drooled over those little pages, thank you for bringing it back. And thank you again, Rik, for helping all of us go along for the ride!

    Larry Pointer

  • I’m so glad to hear it’s back under way. I met Lanny at the GNRS a couple of years back and he talked about the car being hung up at the time. Thank goodness it all got worked out and he will be able to see his car all back together again.

  • It’s really great to see Lanny’s Chevy coming back to life…I saw the car in pink primer on a trailer at Paso Robles WCK- probably around 2004-’05…can’t wait to see it finished ūüôā

  • John (T-ski)

    What is the latest on this car??? Has someone taken up the project to finish or does Mr. Erickson still have it ??

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