Cincinnati Cavalcade of Customs- Live Winfield Chop Shop on a 1949 Ford Shoebox

This time the traveling Winfield Chop Shop stopped in Cincinnati for the 2013 Cavalcade of Customs. This time around the car under the knife was a stock 1949 Shoebox Ford with the original flathead V8 owned by Tim Jones. Tim has owned the car for 3 years and he’s been into cars since he was a kid. He told us that the chop and the project is in memory of his late Uncle Ron that had a shoebox Ford project he never got around to finishing. After hearing word the Winfield Chop Shop was looking for a car to chop at the Cincinnati Cavalcade of Customs, Tim quickly offered up his ride. The shoebox rolled into the show looking fairly standard and in pretty good shape overall. Before the show Tim had made up tshirts and banners to sell and display for the chop. This was a way for everyone involved and the crowd to get a souvenir of this historical event (and help Tim pay for the chop).

This time around Gene had a very talented set of hands to help him with the project. Mike Wagner from Cornfield Customs, Jason Graham of Jason Graham Hot Rods, and a bunch of other talented local builders help make this job go as quick and smooth as possible. In the end there were about 7 or 8 guys in the crew and each one worked really hard all weekend. The car rolled in Thursday and the crew jumped right in on Friday. Gene first laid some reference marks in tape while the crew got to business bracing the body, removing the interior, and removing paint where they wanted to make the cuts for the chop. In the end they agreed to take four inches out of the front and 5 inches out of the rear of the roof, while laying the back window down in the process. This is a perfect chop and won’t make the car look like a cartoon when it’s done.

With the car braced and the paint stripped down Gene got to doing what he’s done thousands of times before, cutting a roof apart. As always he showed everyone he’s a surgeon with the reciprocating saw and an angle grinder!

Once the roof was cut the crew began taking the height out of each end to get the lower, more streamlined roofline they wanted. From there they were able to relief cut the roof and the area surrounding the back window to lay it down to match the new lines of the roof. While doing this the crew decided they needed to fabricate new sail panels in the back which needed to be fabricated from scratch. Gene, Mike, and the crew used Eastwood teardrop mallets and sandbags, an english wheel, and a number of other tools to get the shape into the sail panels so that they could blend everything easily.

With all of the new panels held in the place with clecos panel clamps Gene and the crew began welding everything back together. As they welded Mike and the crew really put in some time hammer and dollying the weld seams flat so that the car will need little filler.

By the end of the day Sunday the majority of the roof was welded up and back together. The new lines and look of this shoebox is killer and we can’t wait to see it all finished. Tim commented after getting home “I had a blast being around Gene and the whole crew. Gene is a super nice guy, and I’ll never forget the experience. I also have to give a ton of credit to the entire crew for working really hard. Mike Wagner from Cornfield Customs was incredible. He’s a great guy and builder.” Obviously there’s more work left to get the car done, so Tim sent the car home with Jason Graham Hot Rods to complete the rest of the chop job. Tim tells us that he plans to build a driver. He wants something that has a low ride height (to match that roof!) with a strong running Flathead with a few tricks and upgrades. It’s obvious in the pictures that everyone involved was exceptionally talented and worked well together. Gene puts another live chop under his belt and he’ll be traveling to the Pittsburgh, PA World of Wheels on January 25-27. We can’t wait to see what car he does next, but we know Gene doesn’t care either way, he’ll chop anything they put in front of him!

If you want to see or purchase any of the Eastwood tools and supplies Gene is using in each of these events check out the Gene Winfield’s Chop Shop Tool List. If you want to see more coverage of the shoebox chop or to buy a tshirt or poster, be sure to check out Tim’s website about the project here: Also make sure to check out some of the shops of the talented guys that helped on this project here: Cornfield Customs Jason Graham Hot Rods. Also check the full schedule of indoor World of Wheels, Cavalcade of Customs, and Autorama shows at


  1. Gene I have one of your former “students” (Dr Mike Mortenson) helping me chop my 49 Lincoln (now a Merc) our two cars sat side by side in the Toppers car show last year, His finished, and ours in bare metal, (so all the cuts still showed) All the compliments we got, indicate that a Lot of people appreciate how you do things…..and I thank you for teaching this skill to our generation. Sincerely Roger Lonnstrom

  2. Hi Gene i would like to lean how to lead-choptops to modifications but ive been in the auto body business since 1978.But since 2002 i hurt my spine hade 7 operations on kneck and spine.Im out of work permetly and i got every tool i need to work excepet the lead kit,Do you have some classes because you are the best and i know i can lean alot from you even bought a plainishing hammer ,Englshwheel my freinds all think im nuts but have 60chevy/1970camaro SS 1970SS Chevelle/and a1963 olds f-85 2door with the aliminum motor but its on the rotisery now and its takeing me to long i need a jump start ,Thank you Gene.Michael.

  3. Gene where can I purchase one of your dvds, I have met you many times at car shows. You are a cool, snd awsome person. Thank you so much.1.513.255.2266

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