This year at SEMA 2012 we were running around shooting some of our favorite show vehicles of the week. I happened to run into Gene Winfield as he was debuting his 2nd rendition of his custom Ford he calls the "Pacifica". We did a nice interview with Gene (check it out below!) to find out about the truck and also hear about what he's up to in the future. He told us about an exciting tour he was starting shortly after SEMA with Championship Auto Shows called the "Gene Winfield Chop Shop". During the tour Gene will be working with a local car club to chop a different car at 9 different Autorama, World of Wheels, and Cavalcade of Customs shows. These events are already some of the best hot rod and custom shows in the world; but this really gives you something unique to see at each event!
We were extremely excited to hear about something like this and Gene mentioned he needed some tools to help him get each chop done right. Gene's been a long time customer of Eastwood and he's always mentioning our products in his workshops and instructional videos (Thanks Gene!). So when we offered up our tools and supplies for the event, he was happy to supply us with his "wish list". Fast forward a few weeks later and a "workshop in a truck" was enroute to the 53rd Annual Houston Autorama full of Eastwood tools and everything he needed to feel right at home.
Once the truck arrived and everything was unloaded, the custom hand painted backdrop built by Detroit artist Julie Fournier was setup and the first "patient" was rolled in. The task was to put an aggressive chop on a 1951 Chevy Hardtop. They only had 3 days to give the car a new look and they jumped right in. The lines were drawn out, paint removed, and the reciprocating saw and plasma cutter made quick work of removing the roof.
After removing the excess, Gene and crew dropped the lid back down on the car and they used the Eastwood MIG 135 and an oxy acetylene torch to reconnect everything. Along the way Gene gave a great tutorial on hammer welding the chop seams flat with Eastwood Pro Hammers and Dollies.
After the long days of work, the Chevy was looking much better with the chopped top and is now ready for body solder lead filler, or plastic body filler to smooth the seams and get the car ready for paint. This was only the first event, but we can already tell it's creating a lot of buzz in the show circuit, and we can't wait until the next one at the 53rd Cincinnati Cavalcade of Customs.
We weren't able to make it out to Houston this year for the show, but the guys at Bang Shift were there and had some great coverage! We put a few of their great photos of the Chop Shop below, but be sure to check out all of their coverage of the Houston Autorama HERE. Want to see what tools Gene thought were necessary to chop a roof or build a custom car? Check out Gene's Chop Shop Tool List.