Chip Foose is a superstar of hot-rod design.
Here are a few of the models that put him on the map
It is almost impossible to write about Chip Foose and not sound like you're exaggerating. Now, the founder and creative director of Foose Design, he tricked out his first car -- a Porsche 356 -- at the tender age of 12. In 1997, at the age of 33, Foose became the youngest designer ever to be inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame. And he has since been inducted into the Darryl Starbird Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame and the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame in 2003. One guy, three halls of fame. He has won the annual "America's Most Beautiful Roadster" award seven times -- a record. Ditto for the Goodguys Street Rod of the Year Award.
If you've seen Blade Runner, Robo Cop, or Gone in 60 Seconds you know his work. Foose, while working with his father -- legendary hot-rod designer Sam Foose -- helped create numerous movie cars. Today, Foose and his design team star in the TLC television series Overhaulin'.
1935 Chevrolet Master Sedan
This sketch shows Foose's vision for the 1935 Chevrolet Master Sedan, owned by Bob and Wes Rydell. He imagined a car so sleek that it almost appears to be moving while it's in park.
Realized in 2002, the Grandmaster took six years (an estimated 13,000 hours to 15,000 hours) to complete, and it shows. Or in some cases, doesn't. No bolts or door handles are visible. Every piece on the car is handmade, including the remote-controlled gas and radiator caps, chrome suspension, and wheels.
Foose completed the Stallion -- a 1934 Ford Mercury Monarch -- in 2003. The three-window coupe began as a scruffy drag racer and ended with more than 700 hand-shaped modifications. Its owner, Ron Whiteside, purchased the stripped-down Monarch in 1965, when he was just 15 years old, and used it for drag racing from 1972-75.
After its retirement, the car sat untouched for more than 30 years until Whiteside asked Foose to give it a new life. Six years later, the Stallion was ready to hit the road.
The Impression Car
In 2005, the Reister 36 concept was realized as the Impression Car, a 1936 Ford Roadster owned by Ken Reister. More than 12,000 hours were spent carefully installing more than 20,000 parts, such as teardrop headlights (with subtle eyebrow distinctions), bodywork reminiscent of a vintage Jaguar, and taillights borrowed from Ford's vintage V8 logo.
Foose's sketch for the Boydster II -- done while he was president of Boyd Coddington's Hot Rods by Boyd division -- is a supermodel of the auto world. Whether you're male or female, gay or straight, car-obsessed or an advocate of public transit, it's hard to not he turned on by the sexy lines of the Boydster sketches.
America's Most Beautiful Roadster
When completed, the Boydster won the 1996 America's Most Beautiful Roadster award. Somehow the car managed to be friendly, powerful, and sexy at the same time.
The same base model as the Boydster, the 0032 -- owned by Chuck Svato and completed in 2000 -- won that year's America's Most Beautiful Roadster award.
Chip Foose sketched this Ford Thunderbird design in 2002. Notice the details in the front lights and wheels, elements often abstracted in car design renderings
Foose's redesign of the Thunderbird debuted at the Specialty Equipment Market Assn. show, where it received a "Best of Show" award from Ford. The construction of the car was filmed for TLC's Rides program.
He'll Take Manhattan
Foose hopes that his dream Manhattan concept -- if and when he finds a willing client -- will help move hot-rod design into the Concours d'Eleganc league. Manhattan, meet Pebble Beach. You two would like each other.