Early Custom Cars

August 30, 2016

Historic Customs USA Road Trip P3




By Ronnie Lindblom & Micke Hedberg.

With most of the problems on the cars now sorted Ronnie and Micke are ready to get the grand tour at Gene Winfields Shop, and prepare for the rest of their amazing trip.

In early July 2016 Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg left Sweden for their dream road trip in the USA. Both guys had bought an historic custom in the month prior to this trip, and along the way the idea had grown to fix up their cars and make a road trip of a life-time. After 11 long days and nights working on their cars, they finally had them ready to hit the road. You can read about the first 11 days of their journey in Part One and the first time on the road for the cars in Part Two of this series. The guys  worked till late into the night to get Ronnie’s Mercury fixed. They left Ronnie’s ’39 Mercury at Gene’s shop and took Micke’s ’36 Ford to drive up to the nearest Motel to get a few hours of sleep. Early the next morning they head back to spend some more quality time with Gene Winshield at his Mojave Desert shop.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-01After sleeping a few hours at the nearest motel the guys drove back to the Winfield shop with Ronnie’ s ’36 Ford early in the morning.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-02New day, new challenges. The Merc was fixed late last night and now Ronnie is almost ready for a test drive.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-03Ronnie only has to refill the water and check oil…


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-04The test drive went fine, and it´s time to re torque the heads. There was nothing they could do about the crack in the head. So, they did all other things they could do and hope the engine will last the rest of the trip.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-05The both cars are now ready for the rest of the journey. Micke, Ronnie and Mr. Winfield give the thumb up for the rest of the trip!


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-06Gene is 89 years old and still works on custom cars everyday. It´s really impressive to see a legend work and still enjoy it all like it was his firs day at the job. That´s amazing! When the Swedes were at Winfield’s, Gene was worked on a channeled ­’40 Ford convertible. 


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-09Then it was time to take a tour around the shop and inside Gene own little museum. Here Gene shows the unique bed he made from a model-A Ford pickup.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-10Gene sharing memories and stories from dry lake races in the early days while showing the guys old pictures on the walls.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-collageClose up of the early dry lake collage.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-11One of Gene’s old wood shop signs with his famous logo. Gene hold on to it all these years, and now it’s hanging proudly in his nice little private museum.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-12The “Thing”, a ’27 model T racer Gene built in the late 1940’s.  Well the original is long gone, and this one is an updated copy of the real ”Thing”. Gene told Micke and Ronnie lots of great stories from back in the day´s, It was a blast!


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-07Micke had parked his ´36 Ford in the shadow inside the shop to cool down.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-08Micke started his 36 Ford, and everything was still working fine, so they are all ready to go.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-13But before its time to go, they took Gene for a ride in the ´36 Ford.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-14here we go…


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-15Can you imagine how many memories this brought back for Gene… and created for Micke.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-16And of course Gene now also had to get a ride in Ronnie’s Merc as well!


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-17Cruising like it was the early 1940’s…


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-18And more memories brought back, and created.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-19Then it was almost time to say goodbye to Gene, a few last photos with the cars and the shop in the background….


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-24Before the guys left Gene drew a map showing how to best get to El Mirage dry lake and to a couple of friends which Gene thought visiting would be very well worth it. 


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-20And on the way to Palmdale, the first stop


Not long after they had left Winfield’s Ronnie’s Mercury started to get problems again. The engine started to run really crappy and they had to stop. After they had stopped and let the engine cool a bit the engine refused to start again. The guys checked all possible reasons for the engine failure. Condenser, pionts, distributor cap and several more things, but nothing helped to get the engine to start. Finally Ronnie found out that the distributor was flash-over to ground and he was able to fix the problem. Pfff, it was a hot day out in the middle of the desert!… but they were on their way again.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-21Finally the guys arrived at the first stop Gene suggested. Dave McCain, one of the worlds fastest Flathead Ford drag-racers.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-22Dave showed the guys around in his shop and they talked about Flathead tune up all night long.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-25This was the first night without working on the cars since they had arrived in the US. It felt like vacation, just having a good time and making plans for the trip to El Mirage tomorrow.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-23The cars early the next morning… all ready and excited for the drive up to the Dry lake.


Go back to Part 1, Part 2. Or go to Part 4


(this article is sponsored by)

CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob




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About the Author

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)


  1. Words can’t describe how much fun this is, and how much awe: this pair and their determination are inspiring.


  2. ^^^^ X’s 2 ^^^^^^^


  3. cool stuff…it reminds me of the research trip we did Rik. i we only live once, go for it.


  4. so much fun they are having going all over,


  5. I really like the story and the pictures are wonderful too!


  6. Great road trip series. You always remember the trips where a mechanical issue pops up and you have to improvise on the road. Look forward to part #4.


  7. Man this is cool! I need to get out to Winfield’s shop again soon…very cool pics and article 🙂


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