Sunday, December 17, 2006

21 Questions with Chip Foose brought to you by: JL Full Throttle

It's an honor to talk with the folks at Joes Diecast Shack. I always enjoy talking to the fans of the show and my work. This has been a really exciting time creating the new Foose diecas tline with the JL Full Throttle Team. It's a dream come true for me to be able to share replicas of my designs with my son and my fans.

On to the questions:

On your show Overhaulin', how do you get the cooperation of the local authorities when you "steal" the cars? Has there been an occasion when you stole a car and the owner called the police?

Chip: In the early episodes of Overhaulin, Yes, they were reported to the police, and it took some "fast talking" to set things straight. Now, we've made friends with most of the local authorities and the various police departments work with us and have a lot of fun with the show.

2. Is there any chance you are going to take your show (Overhaulin') on the road? Into other states, so your fans outside of California might get to see a car, Overhauled?

Chip: Our original plan was to take the show on the road in Season One and Two. Between Seasons Two and Three, Discovery Channel took ownership of the show and decided to keep the "steals" to Southern California, but we are planning several shows where we will be traveling to different states in the near future. I can't tell you where yet, but we'll be knocking on people's doors saying "Your car's going to get Overhauled!"

3. Ever consider doing a Big Rig on the show?

Chip: My original intent for Overhaulin' was to take cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, and transportation in general, but since there were other shows with motorcycles and trucks as the subject, the show was limited to cars. I'd love to overhaul a big rig - it would be a huge job, but I'd love to do it someday.

4. Have you ever been asked to do a '57 Ford F100 on Overhaulin? They are kind of an "ugly duckling", but when built right they look as awesome as any 56!

Chip: Discovery Channel does the final picks, and if they choose a 57 on the show - and I believe a 57 has been submitted, I'll be glad to overhaul it.

Editor's Note: All cars are picked by Discovery Channel / TLC. They must all be submitted through

5. About the die-cast, are there plans to take all of the actual cars and shrink them down to diecast size? Some of them are absolute dreams. Especially the Comet Convertible. Not just because it was the car I rode home from the hospital in after I was born...

Chip: As long as collectors keep buying the line, we'll keep on making them! So, keep on buying them and we'll bring your favorite one to ya'!

Editor's Note: The JLFT Team has many new models comingKeep checking out Joes as well as and

6. Will your 56 Ford F-100 Truck, The '56 Nomad, the ford Model A hot rod or even Bud's own 69 Mustang make it into the line

Chip: Of course, I'd like to see all of those cars recreated in the die-cast line, but if they aren't, there are still a lot of dream vehicles that can be built and while we're at it, hopefully make a lot of people's dreams come true.

Editor's Note: The '56 Nomad is on it's way and at least one of the others exists in an early production stage!

7. Have any of the big name auto companies approached you yet, to do a "Foose" model of a production car? Is this something you would be interested in or are you more interested in smaller 1 on 1 projects?

Chip: I am in negotiations with several OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) - can't tell you who at this point - to create a special project. One OE is getting serious about an entire lineup of vehicles. I'll know soon.

8. There are a bunch of guys who'd like to see more rubber and smaller wheels and an equal number who like 'em large. At the shack we always get a few hard questions, So tell your fans about how you choose your wheels and tires.

Chip: It's all about proportions to me. I think small wheels make the body look smaller, but that's ok if you're trying to hit a specific era. Technology has allowed us to go forward, and there's no question that a larger diameter wheel makes the vehicle drive and ride better, plus, I think the larger wheels look a lot cooler.

9. What about White Walls and do you dig "Rat Rods"?

Chip: White walls are very cool and I really like rat rods. If fact, I'm building one now called P-32 which will be in die-cast. It's an extreme rat rod based on the theme of WWII war birds such as the P-38. It will be debuting at this year's SEMA. It's something that I've been dreaming about for 11 years, and finally found the parts to build it.

Editors Note: On Overhaulin', Chip has used white walls on 2 vehicles, can you name them?

10. What custom elements define a Hot Rod for you? What makes the car more than just "customized" and What takes a car to the "next level"?

Chip: I like to say there are no rules in hot-rodding. I can't tell you what elements make a hot rod, so it's whatever you do and as soon as you personalize a car - that's what makes it a hot rod to me. It's not that I'm not interested in the performance aspect, what's important to me is how it looks proportionally. For me, the starting point is wheels, tires and stance. If you get a car down with those three elements, it looks like a hot rod. It could be completely stock underneath. So again, the minute you set rules, you put an end to something. You always have to keep your mind open to new ideas.

11. What is your everyday driver? Is it something you've created or something driven straight off the lot?

Chip: My everyday driver is an '05 Ford F150 which is available in diecast now. It's been a fun vehicle. We hand-built chrome moldings, did the bigger wheels and tires, narrowed the rear bumpers, lifted the front bumpers. I also have a '69 Camaro and my '02 T-Bird I call the Speedbird. It has a little speedster-type one-piece wrap around 9" tall windshield.

Editors Note: The Speedbird was featured on the very first episode of Rides. You may still catch it in reruns on TLC.

12. What is your favorite car that you've created or Overhauled?

Chip: My favorite car is always my next one. The are two reason for that answer: First, is that it keeps us excited for what's coming up and secondly, it keeps people from being offended and no one says, "Well why isn't my car your favorite?". I love all of them.

13. Do you have a favorite rare car or dream car?

Chip: I can't say that I do. I'm a fool for cars and I fall in love with what's in front of only!

14. Chip, I'm a bit of a Mopar fan,, so here goes; What's your favorite from Chrysler Corp. that you HAVEN'T done?

Chip: You're going to see the JL Full Throttle Hemisfear shortly) and that will be my favorite Mopar, and I hope it will be the favorite of a lot of Mopar fans too.

Editors Note: Check out to get the full story and behinds the scenes epics and video of the creation of the JLFT Hemisfear. It will be making it's world premier on October 31st at SEMA in Las Vegas!

15. Have you ever done or are you ever planning to do a '49 Merc

Chip: Yes. I have worked on a few '49 Mercs and I'm working on a proposal for a celebrity right now that could be a real fun project using late-model Mercedes Benz parts with a V12 in the Merc in the coolest Merc you could build. Could be a two-seater because the celebrity is VERY tall. That's all I'm saying!

16. What about some early Chrysler cars like those from the 30's 40's and 50's?

Chip: I still think the '70 Cuda is one of the coolest Chryslers ever built as well as the early Belvederes and Imperials - just some outstanding design work done back then. I've also got some cool vehicle coming up that is inspired by the 50's Chryslers.

17. And lastly on the car questions, I have a soft spot for the old economy cars from the early and mid 70's. have you every thought about doing up an old Gremlin, Vega, Pinto, Maverick or even one of the old rear drive Datsuns or Toyotas?

Chip: I really want to do a Pinto on Overhaulin'. I think it would also be a lot of fun to do a Gremlin, or Pacer or some of these crazy cars we remember as kids.

18. What is the process someone would need to follow to get you to draw a design idea for a vehicle (in this case a '68 GMC Truck, late 60's early 70's Australian Ford Falcon). Many people would love to try and build one of your designs

I used to do a lot of drawing for people on the outside, but I've been so busy with Overhaulin' and the JL Full Throttle die-cast line and other projects that I'm no longer taking any outside design work because I have no time to do so. Now that I have two kids, I'm devoting time to them, so I'm telling everyone no artwork until I'm finished with the TV show.

19. How old were you when you started customizing/designing cars?

Chip: I sat next to my father when I was three years old and copied whatever he was drawing - not too many people know he's an artist as well - until I was actually drawing better that he was and he just let me take over when I was about 17 year old. I still sit down with my dad when I'm drawing with him and we go over things together and as a team we come up with some cool things. When I was seven, I was going to the shop and building with him and to this day my dad still is my hero. He has more skills and fabrication talent than anybody I know and I still learn a lot from him.

20. What types of toy cars did you play with as a kid and did they influence your line of work today?

Chip: When I was a kid, my dad worked for AMT model kits and a lot of cars they built were for model kits or as Hot Wheels. I remember him driving the real cars home then bringing the models of the cars home and I'd play with those. When I worked at Boyd's, it was a continuation of my childhood and at the time, Boyd was building the coolest cars on the planet and I said to Boyd "we've got to make these into models or die-cast" and I got in touch with Larry Wood and he started to build a few. Now, with RC2 and JL Full Throttle building the Foose cars, it's really a dream come true and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to come home and hand them to MY son. That's a real continuation of my childhood.

21. Do you still have any of them today?

Chip: I still have most of my toy cars from my childhood.

22. Does your son have a passion for Cars? Real ones or Toys?

Chip: My son seems to have a passion for cars - the real one as well as the toys, and dinosaurs too! Brock is a super-creative kid and he gets me to draw dinosaurs driving cars. So if you ever see that combination in die-cast, you'll know where that idea came from!

23. Have you ever been into collecting die-cast cars?

Chip: Yes I have been and I still do. I have a TON of die-cast. The one thing I've always done is to tear open my die-cast and play with them - even though everyone says to leave them in the package. Mine are all scratched up!

24. You built a life size car based on a scale model once, is there any other fantasy car (or real car even) that you would love to try your hand at? What catches your imagination?

Editor: Oops! Between a number of phone calls Chip needed to answer, and
Foose's busy shop activity, this question got lost in the shuffle. Sorry!

25. What excites you about your line of die-cast from JL Full Throttle? What part(s) of the process do you enjoy/work on.

Building new friendships. That's the coolest thing for me. I'm having a lot of fun doing this. With this line, we're doing cars that are real, and in the future, we'll be building cool dream cars that are really exciting. The JL Full Throttle team and I work together sometimes I say, "Yeah, let's do that", or sometimes I say "let's try this". It's all a part of the process that makes it a lot of fun.

26. Artwork, Many of the fans asked about your artwork please answer these questions about your incredible skills:

a: Do you do a drawing for every car?

Chip: Yes. . I don't think of my drawings as art, but merely a tool to build the art, which is the real car.

b. How long does it actually take to do a drawing like those we see on Overhaulin'?

Chip: Most of the Overhaulin' cars are quick, an hour and a half to two hours. The originals belong to my son!

c. What kinds of materials do you use in your work, paper, pens, pencils, markers etc.

Chip: Whatever I can find. The majority of my art tools are maker paper, ad markers, colored pencils, gauche, and whatever it takes to make it look like a real car.

d. Is your artwork available to the public? If so where can we get it and can we get it with the die-cast cars?

Chip: That's very possible to do and we'll be looking into this. In the meantime, some of the prints are available at

That's all the time we had with Mr. Foose!

Chip: Enjoy collecting and hopefully, we'll keep bringing out things you'll enjoy! This all comes to you from JL Full Throttle and!

WATCH the complete video-taped interview with Chip, soon to be posted on!


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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Exclusive Chip Foose Interview - Sport Truck

Sport Truck Goes In-Depth With the Man Himself

If you do not know by now, Chip Foose is the man when it comes to designing and building custom vehicles. He is a living legend that is on the quest for the ultimate build. He is always looking forward and striving to put out the finest quality vehicles around. And unless you've been living under a rock or in a deep cave, then you should already know the extent of his workmanship.

This month, Sport Truck spent many hours working on our feature story, covering the complete buildup of the Overhaulin' Napa truck. We camped out in the garage, while Chip and his team of fabricators turned a plain delivery truck into a blown modern-day pro-street terror. Foose was the chief designer of this crazy Chevy S-10 project that was fully revamped on the latest episode of the television show. During that time, we watched a man who is not only an excellent customizer but a natural leader, corralling a team of 30 to achieve the unbelievable in just seven days.

Foose has had an incredible career so far that has included several prestigious awards, such as the AMBR (America's Most Beautiful Roadster) and inductions into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame and Rod and Custom Motorcycle Hall of Fame. We wanted to gain some in-depth information on Foose and his design work, so we called our contacts and managed to get a chance to talk to Chip and find out the story in his own words.

Here is the interview!

Sport Truck: Who originally got you into cars and trucks and can take credit for your hands-on interest?

Foose: My father who liked to draw and started his own shop in Santa Barbara, when he was 14. I watched him, and from age 3 on up, I started drawing with him, and it led me to building when I was 7 years old.

Sport Truck: How would you describe your design style?

Foose: Timeless. I like to build vehicles with good design that are not trendy.

Sport Truck: What is your favorite color to paint a vehicle?

Foose: I don't have a particular color that is my favorite. I generally pick a color that fits the needs of the car and owner. Each owner has a character that I go along with and tailor to their needs. The color is not the statement, the design comes first.

Sport Truck: What was your favorite vehicle that you have built?

Foose: The next one. I am always trying to make my client happy and expanding from there. If you go backward, you are getting lazy.

Sport Truck: What difficulties have you run into with your career?

Foose: That you are only as good as your clients. Limitations are how far your client will let you go.

Sport Truck: What have you learned from your experience in the business?

Foose: Teamwork. Everyone needs to get along and have the same goal. It's all about the different personalities that pull together for the same objective. I always want to use professionals who are having fun building something that they like.

Sport Truck: What do you think was the key to your success?

Foose: It's going to show if the builder loves what he is doing or not. For me, it would be loving what I do. You can't see it as another job or the quality of the work will show that in it. I choose my builders by those who are passionate about working on their projects.

Sport Truck: What advice would you give someone who would like to build and design vehicles like yours?

Foose: Follow your heart, as I have done throughout my career.

Sport Truck: How old is your son, and is he influenced by you in the same way you were by your father?

Foose: My son Brock is 6 years old and is extremely into cars and likes to draw. I don't take him to my shop, and I haven't put him to work either, but eventually I can see him being influenced by me, like I was by my father.

Sport Truck: What vehicle would you build if given unlimited money?

Foose: At the time when I was working for Boyd, I tried to build something with a European flavor. I would build something with a Mercedes or Bugatti influence. A design like that would be like my "Hemisphere" design that I came up with in 1990, when I was at Art Center. It was a rendition of the modern early '30s coupe with a fast-back, and when you looked through the back glass, you would see a 426 Hemi with a Pantera trans axle. When I drew it at Art Center, one of its renderings went to Chrysler and was developed into the Prowler. But, I always wanted to build my coupe version of it. Now, RC2 (Racing Champions/Ertl) is now helping me fund the build of the car as a cross-promotional vehicle. It should be done and debuted at the '06 SEMA Show along with RC2's die-cast version of it.

Sport Truck: How are things with you and Boyd?

Foose: Boyd has chosen to not have any relations with me, since I stopped working at his shop.

Sport Truck: Why did you stop working for Boyd?

Foose: Everyone always asks me why I quit working for him. That is not true. The truth is that I simply lost my job there. Back then, Boyd's company was publicly held, it went bankrupt, and I was forced out of there. After that, it took me 3 1/2 years to recover and gain a good crew again. I enjoyed what I was doing there and thank him for my experience that I have gained from his shop.

Sport Truck: How did you get involved with Bud, the producer of Overhaulin'?

Foose: I met Bud a year before Overhaulin'. He came to me as he wanted to do a show on cars but had nothing to come up with. I pitched him the idea of a show based on building cars for the SEMA Show. He sold the video to the TLC network, which became Rides, a show that is basically a video magazine for the automotive enthusiast. With his success with that, I went to him with the idea of a Monster Garage–style of show with real cars built for real people. In the end of the show, I wanted the cars to be appreciated and not just stored away. In a sense, they would really serve their purpose, and it was Bud's idea to steal the cars, which just added to the realism and drama.

Sport Truck: In what aspects has the show benefited you?

Foose: Meeting different people and developing their talents in a project. During the time with the show, we have created a system to fully restore a car in seven days. We have a list, and we break up the several stages and assign everyone to do a part. In the first few shows, it was a different crew every week and going through these times we saw people on the crew that we liked and asked them to stay and they have become full-time regulars.

Sport Truck: Where do you end up spending most of your time?

Foose: If I'm not at Overhaulin' or at my shop, I'm at home with my wife and kids. I don't get to spend hardly enough time with my family as I would like to.

Sport Truck: How often do you do the show? What is your scheduling like at that time?

Foose: In our third season, we are doing three episodes in a month. It is very tiring because after the shows I am beat and want to take time off, but then I have to go back and play catch-up at my shop.

Sport Truck: Has this affected how you run your shop?

Foose: It has definitely affected how I run the shop. It means that I am out for a long period of time, and I have to make people accountable when I am not there.

Sport Truck: What is it like when you finish a vehicle for someone on Overhaulin'?

Foose: In the end there is nothing better than the feeling of making these people's dreams come true on the show.

Sport Truck: Thanks for talking with us, Chip.

Foose: Thank you.

There you have it. Twenty minutes with the one and only Chip Foose. He is a very busy man and it was difficult to catch him for an interview, but our staff would like to personally thank him for his contributions to this issue.