In Rod & Custom's 50-year span, only nine motor-oil-for-blood fanatics have sat behind the editor's desk. As the second, Lynn Wineland had few traditions to work from, but Lynn, an artist, a writer, and a rodder, had all the makings for the job.

Lynn got involved in rodding as a youngster living in Long Beach, California, during the late '30s. A teenaged family friend, five years older than Lynn, raced his '32 Ford roadster at the dry lakes, and Lynn and his dad, an auto mechanic for Shell Oil Company, got involved in running the roadster at Muroc.

Lynn was a teenager when he acquired his first car, a '29 roadster. His dad made him strip it completely apart and rebuild it. Money was hard to come by, and Lynn's only sources of income were sneaking dimes from his lunch money and his paper route. When he found a cracked Winfield head for five bucks, his dad welded it. Lynn couldn't afford popular '39 Ford taillights, so he used clearance marker lights from junked Shell Oil trucks, which were free.

In February 1945, 17-year-old Lynn enlisted in the Air Corps and passed all the tests for pilot/bombardier/navigator training. Three days after graduating from high school, he sold his roadster and reported for duty. Lynn was qualified for pilot training, but the war had ended and the schools had closed, so he ended up in Aircraft and Engine Mechanic School.

Lynn eventually attended a school for jet-fighter mechanics, and ended up as crewchief on the FP-80 photo chase plane at Muroc Flight Test Center, arriving in time to hear the boom as Chuck Yeager broke the sonic barrier in 1947. Lynn, a capable artist, designed an emblem to commemorate the achievement. He was also involved with the YB Flying Wing project. After co-pilot Glenn Edwards was killed when the experimental plane crashed, Muroc was renamed Edwards Air Force Base in his honor.

At Muroc, Lynn kept in touch with friends from his dry lakes racing days and met Alex Xydias and Dean Batchelor at So-Cal Speed Shop. At the first Hot Rod Show at the L.A. Armory in 1948, he met Doane Spencer, who became a lifelong friend. He was totally taken by Spencer's black roadster. "I went to the show every day and kept going back to that roadster," says Lynn. "It was different from anything else!" Lynn began work on a roadster of his own-a unique one-door Deuce with a speedboat windshield resembling the DuVall on Doane's '32. Spencer and Lynn would cross paths again at the '51 Indianapolis Hot Rod Show, where they were both showing their roadsters. "Doane parked his roadster right next to mine," Lynn recalls. "Little did I realize that someday I'd own that car."

While stationed in Ohio, Lynn started looking under the hoods of local rods, usually finding stock engines. He began to sell So-Cal speed equipment to Midwest rodders, who called him "that damned hood-lifter." In 1948, he and his friends started a club called Hoodlifters. When the club sponsored a reliability run in 1950, Lynn wrote an article about the event for Hot Rod magazine.

After leaving the service, Lynn graduated from the Dayton Art Institute and worked for six months in the styling department at Ford Motor Company in Detroit. He continued to submit freelance stories to automotive magazines in California. His stories for Motor Trend announced Ford styling trends without revealing specifics.

One day, Lynn looked out his studio window at his '32 five-window coupe sitting in the snow-covered parking lot and covered with salt from a passing 10-wheeler. This is not the place for a California boy, he thought. He resigned, got in the coupe with his wife and six-month-old daughter, and headed to California, where he attended Art Center in Los Angeles.

Doane Spencer, now a neighbor, helped Lynn get a job as a flight line mechanic for Flying Tigers. After a week on the job, he felt that his training and experience were wasted working on piston engines. He walked across the runway to Lockheed and was hired to work on a top-secret 1950 spy-plane project called U-2.