As I was motivatin’ over the hill
I saw Maybelline in a coup de ville
A Cadillac a-rollin’ on the open road
Nothin’ will out run my V8 Ford
The Cadillac doin’ ’bout ninety-five
She’s bumper to bumber rollin’ side by side
(Chuck Berry, 1955)
Listening to Chuck Berry’s hit song “Maybellene,” with lyrics about a wayward girlfriend in a fast Cadillac Coupe DeVille, legendary custom car builder and designer Gene Winfield decided he would build his own custom Cadillac that would be worthy of the name “Maybellene” and to serve as his personal drive-around custom.
When Gene finished his dream car, he had created a masterpiece, a showstopper and a jawdropper, a unique Cadillac that is signature Gene Winfield. And now this masterpiece will cross the auction block at the Russo Steele auction in Scottsdale January 20-24, 2010.
Winfield is well known in the custom car and hot rod community. Winfield has been profiled in a newly released book titled The Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield. Gene has been inducted into Darryl Starbird’s Custom Car and Hot Rod Hall of Fame and in 2008, Winfield was honored as “Builder of the Year” at the prestigious Detroit Autorama. At the Autorama, classic examples of Winfield’s custom car genius were displayed from his breakthrough “Jade Idol” to his Hollywood creations for productions such as “Bladerunner”, “Star Trek”, and “Back to the Future II” along with his Bonneville racecar and many more. Among the array of history making customs, Winfield proudly displayed his wild Caddy “Maybellene” and autographed photos of the Caddy for countless fans.
When Gene started imagining Maybellene, Gene knew what he wanted, something long and low and Gene chose a finned 1961 Cadillac as the starting point. To achieve the long low look, Gene chopped off the stock Cadillac roof and grafted on a sleeker roof from a 1959 Olds lowering the roofline four inches. Gene resculpted the body, smoothing out the lines, extending and remolding the tailfins, and adding features like hidden pop-up door mounted rear view mirrors. Winfield built an air bag suspension that adjusted the ride height from street ride height to a dropped down ground-hugging ride Winfield labored over every detail even constructing a hand made golden translucent steering wheel with embedded 14kt gold flakes. Winfield installed a modern drive train powered by a Cadillac Northstar engine. Winfield topped it off with one of his signature “fadeaway” paint creations in shades of cream and butterscotch.
Winfield will be on hand at the Russo Steele auction and will proudly drive Maybellene onto the auction stage. And although Winfield will say goodbye to his personal custom Cadillac, he can be expected to return to his custom shop in the Mojave, California and continue customizing as he has done since first opening his shop in 1946.
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