What Is Gene Winfield’s Next Challenge? A Land Speed Record

Robert Eugene Winfield, who simply goes by Gene, turned 90 years old June 16th. He celebrated at the L.A. Roadsters’ Show in Pomona, surrounded by friends and fans. At an age when most people are just happy to be alive, Gene is seeking his next adventure. If there is an ironman in the hot rod world, he would hold the title. From one adventure and challenge to the next, Winfield has led a life that others can only dream of. And he’s not even close to being done.

I want to make it official.                    – Gene Winfield

His next trick? “I’ve been over 200 miles an hour many times but I’m not a part of the 200 mph club. I want to make it official,” he said. Irritated by the rules, Winfield is set to play by the rules and etch his name into history.

According to Winfield’s secretary, Lindsay Ross, “Gene has a 1989 Ford Probe with a 2016 Ford FR9 NASCAR racing engine, provided by Hahn Racing.” The FR9 NASCAR engine is a custom-built 367 cubic-inch Roush-Yates Racing engine. The Ford Probe custom chassis was built by Bob Hustler. The team has not decided which class record they are going to attempt to break yet.

This is not Winfield’s first rodeo either. In 1951, when he was just 24-years-old, the youngster drove over 135 mph in a Ford Model T at Bonneville. From there, the veteran racer went back to Bonneville often.

Photo courtesy of Gene Winfield.

Winfield is best known as a custom car builder and people that may not even know his name have probably seen his work. His cars have been featured in many TV shows and movies including: The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, Batman (original TV series), Star Trek, Bewitched, Mission: Impossible, Robocop, Trancers, The Last Starfighter, and Blade Runner, among many others.

Winfield’s bid to break a 200 mph record at Bonneville begins durning the upcoming speedweek start on August 13. After setting a new class record, Winfield heads to the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for a panel session honoring his work. Winfield will be showing his famous Reactor futuristic custom car.

The Bob Hustler built Ford Probe custom chassis from Hahn Racing. Photo courtesy of James Hahn.

The Reactor is featured in a new book,  The Reactor, Gene Winfield’s Futuristic Custom Creation, a nearly 100 page book about the complete history of the show car.

The book begins with the first sketch created by Ben Delphia, to the construction by Gene Winfield. How he sold the car, how the car ended up on TV, how Gene bought it back, the previous owners, and how it eventually was completely restored.

Gene Winfield’s “Reactor” futuristic custom car as seen on the TV series Bewitched. Photo from www.imcdb.org.

Winfield plans on bringing the record-setting car to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance panel session as well. For Winfield, there just is no time to slow down. The team is still looking for sponsors for the attempt to break the land speed record at Bonneville. Anyone interested in being a part of the team should contact Lindsay Ross at Winfield Rod & Custom, 8201 Sierra Hwy, Mojave, CA 93501. (661) 824-4728.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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