Following the success of last year's inaugural event, legendary painter and all-around nice guy Gene Winfield opened his shop and property in Mojave, California, near Edwards Air Force Base, last October, to co-host another Winfield and Watson Custom Car and Hot Rod Gathering. As if having Winfield and Larry Watson on hand wasn't enough, the event honored George Barris, Bill Hines, and Sam and Chip Foose, along with a tribute to Von Dutch and Ed Roth. Roth's sons Charlie and "Lil' Daddy" Dennis where on hand selling T-shirts and Dennis' 'flake paint.
In addition to the well-known builders, also in attendance were a number of pinstripers and custom painting alumni, the former demonstrating their talents throughout the day, with many of the finished "objects d'art" available in the charity auction later in the day. Pinstriper East Coast Artie and Winfield himself took to the stage along with a professional auctioneer, raising $15,000 for the Progeria Research Foundation, a charity close to Sam and Chip Foose's hearts.
Sponsored by the Rod Tossers Car Club, and scheduled to run 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., cars and people were showing up and leaving throughout the day. In fact Rob and I unintentionally tag-teamed the event, as I showed up halfway through the day just as he was leaving, ensuring total coverage. Are we dedicated or what? OK, it was luck! I took the opportunity, along with countless others, to wander back to Winfield's kustom graveyard of unfinished and abandoned projects, then farther back to his personal junk yard, containing enough donor vehicles to keep him busy for a while! You could spend hours wandering around back there dreaming! Winfield also had a number of the cars he's built over the years on display, adding to the atmosphere of the event, and it was great to see cars I've only ever seen displayed in indoor shows like the GNRS, parked in the dirt outside Winfield's shop.
With the auction wrapped up, one of those photo opportunities of a lifetime presented itself, as gradually all the car builders, pinstripers, painters, and personalities present assembled for a group shot, everyone previously mentioned included, as well as Norm Grabowski, Bo Huff, Bob Spina, and Blackie Gejeian, and many more. It was good to see a healthy smattering of young faces amongst those grand old geezers, all of whom had rallied from around the country to support Winfield and Watson. Guess you could call 'em a Gene pool.