BY NOW MOST OF YOU KNOW THAT the '61 Buick Custom, "THE INVICTA", that you see in the Upper Left Hand side of the pages on this Website, and right here, is my personal car that was built by the late-MANUEL ARTECHE of Woodland, California. It had been Manuel's car before he passed away in 1999, and I purchased the car a year later. It has been on permanent display at Darryl Starbird's National Rod & Custom Car Museum & Hall Of Fame since January, 2004.
Manuel was an iconic upholsterer / builder that used his cars, like the INVICTA, as rolling showcases for the magnificient interior work that he was famous for. He was not only an excellent professional, but had suffered from bouts with cancer...the same disease that had taken the lives of his father and grandfather.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO MANUEL and his cars, came in the May, 1995 issue of Rod & Custom Magazine. The article was entitled "Physical Therapy" and featured Manuel's beautiful 1941 Ford radical custom. The story was written and photographed by Michael Breeding, and was one that affected me personally as my father also had owned a '41 Ford Sedan as I was growing up, and also passed away from complications with cancer.
Manuel's Ford had been chopped & sectioned...the top was actually a removable steel hardtop. The body work was done by Dickey Galloway and Bill Reasoner, the updated chassis was put together by Westbury Hot Rods, the SVO 5-liter Ford engine was from Broesch Automotive, and the original Black Cherry paint was applied by Don Honstein of Sacramento...the same painter that did the Candy/Laser Red paint a few years later on the INVICTA. And, of course, the interior was all Manuel ! A stunning '63 Riviera console & front bucket seats were installed, with the rear seats built to echo the Riviera theme.
ALL OF THE ABOVE INFO, story, and, pictures can be seen in that May, 1995 Issue of R&C beginning on Page 52.
SAME CAR, NEW BEGINNING. ENTER, GENE WINFIELD...
SO, HERE'S "THE REST OF THE STORY": A few years after the R&C article was written, Manuel turned to the Legendary GENE WINFIELD for a repaint of this fantastic custom, from its "Black Cherry" hue to this brilliant Gold, and at the 31st Annual KKOA Lead Sled Spectacular in Salina, Kansas, during our late-night Interview Session, I wanted Gene's story on how his involvement came about...and how much paint he had to apply to this beauty.
Gene never disappoints me, his memories of the cars that he's worked on is vivid, and the story about Manuel's Ford is one that I'm very glad to share with you...for, as I stated at the outset, I always felt a "kinship" with Manuel due to the similarities between that '41 Ford, and the disease that took both our fathers.
AGAIN, my sincere thanks to one of the longest-running Pros in the R&C Industry: GENE WINFIELD ! JK
SHORTLY AFTER MANUEL'S DEATH, his wife, Brenda, and daughters, Ashley & Lindsey, created the "Manuel Arteche Memorial Award" that's presented each year at the Sacramento Autorama in his honor, with the gorgeous '41 Ford being displayed at the event. As you can see from the photo above, it looks superb in its perfectly blended, smooth, stunning PPG experimental-Gold finish, by master-painter/builder GENE WINFIELD !
SPECIAL NOTE: That's a pic of Manuel's fabulous '41 Ford at the Sacramento Autorama that you see above. For my Tribute to Manuel Arteche, with comments from John D'Agostino, and, Jerry Weesner, just Click-On Right Here and it will take you to that Page.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE ! A WINFIELD-FINISHED MERC IN CKD #57...
.. GENE WINFIELD'S CAREER HAS given him a presence World-Wide, and to prove that, check-out the April, 2013 Issue of Car Kulture DeLuxe Magazine (#57), Pages 36-39 !
The story is about a beautifully-crafted '53 Merc Hardtop ('53-'54 Mercs are among my personal all-time faves !) owned by the Sakuragi Brothers of Japan. Gene not only painted the car - originally owned by Californian Chet Miller - but his Winfield Rod and Custom shop did many other cool modifications before the car was shipped to the land of sushi, pagodas, and, samuri.
DO YOURSELF A FAVOR: Find a copy of this Issue of CKD, and put it in the "keeper" section of your R&C Library, 'cause there's also cool stuff in there about that rare '59 Edsel Custom, formerly owned by CKD/OSR Managing Editor ALAN MAYES, and an Interview with everyone's favorite Pioneer/Legend: BILL HINES !
BE SURE TO SEE OUR "HOF LEGENDS" AD ON PAGE 47 OF THIS ISSUE OF CKD...and our thanks to Geno & Alan ! JK
[All images/photos shown on this page courtesy of their original owners/copyright holders...with sincere appreciation.]