Desert Sunset: The Sakuragi Brothers’ 1952 Chevrolet Styleline

Anne Grinney-Colomban Car feature, Pinup Tags: , , ,
1952 Chevrolet Styleline

2016 RodzDeluxe Winner – 1952 Chevrolet Styleline

Words: Anna Marco; Photos: Mike Basso, Model: Kelly

This beautiful Winfield fade paint job is just like a desert sunset.

Modesto Century Toppers

In 1946, Charlie Bell and his friends formed a car club in Modesto, California. Gene Winfield was elected the first club president in 1947 of the newly formed Modesto Century Toppers because most of the members were bringing their cars to his shop for custom work anyway and several of the group were participating in dry lakes events via the Valley Timing Association. Early club meetings were held at Gene’s shop and their club jackets were green and white with a black top hat logo on back (some guys wore those hats while zipping around in their hot rods). The Century Toppers hosted their first car show in 1949 at a Ford dealership. Al Slonaker, founder of the 1950 Oakland Roadster Show (now Grand National Roadster Show) attended their event to pick cars for his first show.

Metal Master

Gene Winfield is a metal master with a stellar career spanning 70 years. He is hailed as one of the kings of kustomizers for his pioneering and iconic custom car builds. A Winfield fade paint job alone is legendary. His first car was built at age 15; it was a homebuilt 1929 Ford Model A coupe, hopped-up so he could street race it. It sported dual antennas, foxtails, wig-wag taillights, and Gene’s first paint job, in blue. A taxi wrecked that car so he acquired a 1931 Ford Model A roadster next.

Today, after countless projects, Gene still claims that building cars makes him young.

Desert Sunset

The Sakuragi Brothers and Gene Winfield share the common bond of a love for custom cars. Yoshi and Kyohei Sakuragi helm the Century Toppers Modesto in Japan, and own several Winfield customs. As proprietors of Wheels Unlimited, they are active advocates of the custom car movement in Japan.

In 2009, they were stalking this ’52 Chevy on eBay to purchase it for a customer. In 2014, the client gave up the car for marriage and family responsibilities, so the Sakuragi Brothers took over, quickly shipping it to Winfield for his metal magic. The end result is a glowing vehicle sporting Winfield’s famed fade in a gold blend of candies and pearl. Extensive modifications include a 5” chop, frenched 1952 Merc headlights, Winfield’s custom stainless side pipes and 1957 Mercury Turnpike cruiser skirts. The grille sports 1959 T-Bird teeth supporting a 1957 Chevy grille bar. Winfield grafted in a 1950 Mercury hood and a one-piece 1950 Olds windshield replaced the two-piece Chevy one.

Inside, a 1958 Biscayne steering wheel, a 1960 Impala instrument panel dress up the interior, along with four T-Bird buckets covered in white vinyl by Bob Divine.

Air bags support the Mustang II front and 4-link rear suspensions. Power is the reliable Chevy 350/Turbo 350 combo.

This California customized Chevy quickly cruised into the night with a back seat full of trophies from the Grand National Roadster Show, the Sacramento Autorama and our own 2016 Rodz Deluxe Award at the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals. A Winfield custom is the only way to roll.

See: or Winfield Rod & Custom (661) 824-4728.


Owner: Wheels Unlimited/Yoshi & Kyohei Sakuragi

Location: Japan

Vehicle: 1952 Chevrolet Styleline

Builder: Gene Winfield

Chop: 5”

Other Body Modifications: 1952 Ford front fender flares, welded 1950 Mercury hood, 1955 Pontiac bumpers, stainless side pipes, 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser skirts

Grille: 1957 Chevy bar, 1959 T-Bird teeth, custom center w/V emblem

Paint: House of Kolor gold blend

Painter: Gene Winfield

Engine: Chevy 350

Transmission: Turbo 350 w/Trans-Go shift kit

Intake & Carb: Weiand intake/Edelbrock 600 CFM 4-bbl.

Ignition: Pertronix

Exhaust: Sanderson headers

Rear End: S10 10-bolt w/limited slip

Suspension: F- Mustang II w/air bags; R- 4-link w/air bags

Brakes: F- Disc; R- Drum

Wheels: 15×5 Coker steel

Tires: 6.70-15 Coker/Firestone WWW

Seats: (4) T-Bird buckets w/custom console

Upholstery: White vinyl

Upholsterer: Bob Divine

Dashboard: 1960 Impala

Steering Column: ididit chrome tilt

Steering Wheel: 1958 Chevy Biscayne

Windshield: 1950 Oldsmobile

Headlights: Frenched 1952 Mercury

Taillights: Winfield custom 1941 Studebaker bubble

Club Affiliation: Century Toppers