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.
Still 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.
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…
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.
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.
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)