We’re sorry to report that legendary leadslinger Bill Hines passed away early this morning. He was 94.
Bill was an artist in lead and a master craftsman whose career spanned more than seven decades. Originally from Pennsylvania, he learned the basics of bodywork while living in Detroit. By the time he was in his early 20s, he started customizing with a chopped ’41 Buick. After short stints at the Alexander Brothers and Barris shops, he settled in Southern California to work for Barris full-time. In the post-Barris years, he continued working out of his own shop in Long Beach.
All customizers have their signature cars, and for Bill, it was his “Lil Bat.” The Bat was based on a ’50 Ford that he had chopped and fitted with sweeping tailfins while still living in Detroit. It went through several iterations before landing a spot on the cover of Rod & Custom in March 1959.
Bill Hines has leaded his name into the history books. He dedicated his life to his craft, and he continued to build and customize into his 90s. Throughout the day, the web and social media have been abuzz with heartwarming tributes to “The Leadslinger.” Our hobby won’t be the same without you, Bill. We send our condolences to the Hines family and custom fans across the globe.