Thursday, November 30, 2006

Award-Winning Auto Designer Chip Foose!

This is a blogg with focus on the worlds best automotive designer:
Chip Foose, the renowned designer behind some of the most famous vehicles of the past decade and the star of the popular TLC series "Overhaulin'.

Foose began working on automobiles at age seven for his father's company (Project Design). Encouraged by Ford and Preston Tucker designer Alex Tremulis, Foose started to attend the Art Center College of Design in 1982, however dropped out after two years due to financial difficulties. After working for four years at ASHA Corp., Foose returned to the Art Center to complete his education. After graduating in 1990, Foose worked full-time for Sterenberger Design and part-time for Boyd Coddington. In 1993, Foose resigned from Sterenberger to work for J Mays at Ford, however Coddington was able to convince Foose to work for him instead. Working for Coddington full-time, Foose eventually became the president of Coddington's company Hot Rods by Boyd. While working for Coddington, Foose designed many of Coddington's well known creations such as the Boydster I and II. In 1998, with Hot Rods by Boyd facing bankruptcy, Foose resigned his position and with his wife Lynne started his own automotive and product design company called Foose Design in Huntington Beach, California. Foose gained more exposure in 2003 as a result of a TLC documentary on his design and creation of a modified 2002 Ford Thunderbird called the Speedbird. In 2004, the TLC program Overhaulin' began to air with Foose as the star of show. As of 2006, Foose continues to operate Foose Design, star in Overhaulin', and provide design consultations to the Big Three automakers. Foose and his wife live in Southern California with their two children Brock and Katie.

Honors and Awards
Foose has won widespread recognition for the excellence and originality of his automotive designs and creations. In November 1997, Foose became the youngest person to be inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame. Additionally, Foose was inducted into the Darryl Starbird Rod & Custom Car Museum Hall of Fame in 2002, the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame in 2003, and the San Francisco Rod and Custom Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2005. Foose has also won the following awards for his work:

America's Most Beautiful Roadster Award in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2006. Some of these cars were designed by Foose and completed by other builders including such as Boyd Coddington, Barry White, and Bobby Alloway.
Detroit Autorama Ridler Award in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
The Good Guys Street Rod of the Year Award in the years 1990, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001.

In April 2006, Foose unveiled a quarter-scale model of the Hemisfear Hot Rod, a custom coupe he will create with sponsorship from toy company JL Full Throttle. The public unveiling of the full-size Hemisfear occurred at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in November 2006.
Episodes of the Discovery Channel TV show American Hot Rod indicate that a fierce rivalry exists between Foose and his former boss Boyd Coddington.

Chevrolet Rolls Out Chip Foose Tahoe for MTV Awards

A 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe concept customized by Chip Foose will make its red-carpet debut on August 31 at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards.

The concept showcases what General Motors describes as "classic Foose details," including a black powder-coated billet grille. Foose lowered the Tahoe and applied a two-tone paint job of silver birch and black with a thin Tangier orange stripe along the top of the door cladding.

Exterior features include Foose badging, dual stainless steel exhaust tips and chrome side molding. Inside, the Tahoe includes a stainless steel instrument panel and the Foose logo stitched into the headrests and stamped onto the door sill plates.

The event will also feature a customized fleet of 60 E85 SUVs. The fleet includes 2007 Chevrolet Tahoes, Suburbans and Avalanches. The vehicles are decked out with a custom billet grille, 2006 MTV Video Music Awards badging, Chevy wheels with Goodyear Eagle tires and chrome center caps, and a special cover trailer hitch receiver (on Tahoes and Suburbans only).

The vehicles will go on sale after the show at Chevrolet dealerships in the New York area. A commemorative plaque will be included with each sale.

What this means to you: Awards shows are becoming auto shows, judging by the effort put into them by automakers and customizers.

2007 “Foose Stallion” Mustangs Available

Chip Foose didn’t just put his name on the 2007 Foose Mustang, he put his heart and soul into it. He drew the concept sketches. Sculpted the clay. Helped design and spec every stitch in the custom interior and every pavement-ripping performance mod. The first production custom ponycar is named Foose Stallion which will be available in both coupes and convertibles.

The very first Foose Stallion Mustang was presented to Sam’s Club member Jay Benzingerat (who won the rights to be the first owner in an online auction) by Chip Foose in a celebration on June 20th. Since then, shipments of these custom Mustangs have been making their way to dealerships across the country.

Foose Stallion Coupe and Convertible

2007 Foose Stallion Specifications
Foose designed body with a modified hood, side molding, revised grille, fascias, custom side marker lights, side “C” pillar scoops, etc.
Rear aerodynamic spoiler
Optional custom graphics using DuPont’s Hot Hues finishes
Foose designed 20” custom aluminum wheels
20″ ultra high performance Z-rated tires
Racing inspired front and rear coil springs, shocks, dampers and rear sway bar
Baer Brakes front calipers (optional); Eradispeed cross drilled rotors front and rear
Ford Racing Performance Parts high flow Axleback exhaust with mufflers
Custom embroidered seats with dash & trim enhancements

Available Options
Custom two tone scheme
Custom racing stripes available in black or silver

Late 3Q Options
Ford Racing Supercharger system with custom hood scoop; Est. HP 425
Ford Racing “Power Pack” which includes cold air induction and ECM recalibrated for premium fuel; Est. HP 345
Baer Brakes Foose engraved front calipers with 14″ front rotor
Sequential tail lights

Exterior Colors
Performance White
Satin Silver
Torch Red
Vista Blue

Interior Colors
Dark Charcoal
Light Graphite

Designer Chip Foose join the MotorCity Casino

Chip Foose, the renowned designer behind some of the most famous vehicles of the last decade and the star of the popular TLC series "Overhaulin'," has joined MotorCity Casino's expansion project as a design consultant.

During his relatively short career, Foose has created a legacy of design accomplishments that are well beyond his years. He has built award-winning hot rods and some of the most revered vehicle and product designs of the last decade, including signature street rods, customs, studio vehicles and show cars for such films as "RoboCop," "Blade Runner" and "Gone in 60 Seconds." He has won numerous awards, including three of the last four Rittler Awards, the most prestigious all-around honor in hot-rodding. He has also been the recipient of the Good Guys Street Rod of the Year Award seven times. In 2005, he was inducted into the San Francisco Rod and Custom Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

"We are very excited that Chip has agreed to partner with MCC on our expansion project. His auto design roots bring a unique artistic perspective tot he project that will illustrate America's romance with the he automobile" said Gregg Solomon, CEO of MotorCity Casino.

Foose has consistently defied design norms. His role in the design of the MotorCity Casino and Hotel will continue this tradition. The expanded casino property will contain "must see" design elements for all visitors to the area," said Rhonda Cohen, COO of MotorCity Casino. "We believe we have captured the very best of Detroit's history, coupled with a vision of the best of Detroit's history, coupled with a vision of the best that is yet to be realized."

The 17-story, 400 room hotel tower and parking structure are expected to be completed in 2007.

MotorCity Casino is owned and operated by Detroit Entertainment, L.LC. MotorCity Casino's temporary facility is a four-story casino with two main floors of gaming as well as a third floor non-smoking gaming area and a fourth floor highlimit area.

Two live entertainment venues, four restaurants and parking for 3,500 automobiles round out the lineup to provide a fun, exciting and sophisticated entertainment experience.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Foose Design Hot Hues for NASCAR's #24

Our family history and the stories handed down through many generations are replete with examples of engineering and design skills not always supported by the availability of formal education, but there nonetheless. In the coal country near Scranton, PA, long before the times of CAD and detailed designs based on drawings and slide rules, a family member designed and built a conveyor system for the mined coal coming out of the ground. The story goes that the design was done in the person’s mind more than on paper, and the construction accomplished entirely under his guidance.

The story below is about another member of the family, distantly related though he may be.


Foose Design

Founded in 1998, Foose Design is an automotive and product development company directed by legendary designer and fabricator Chip Foose. Headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., the company specializes in illustration, graphics, ideation model making, surfacing, and the complete construction of automobiles and automobile-related products, including its unique line of Foose Design wheels. Its products and creative services are available to private individuals, television and film companies, and automotive manufacturers.

“Chip Foose is well known for his artistry and innovation, and he has produced yet another amazing-looking machine to add to his extensive repertoire of custom vehicles” said Fred Wagenhals, Action Performance’s chairman, president and CEO.

Chip Foose and his Foose Design team can be seen on the popular new Discovery Channel series Overhaulin’ that airs weekly on TLC, or visit the company Web site at for more information. Visit Motorsports Authentics website at

SEMA 2006 - interviews Pirelli about their relationship with Chip Foose.

SEMA 2006 - Chip Foose Hemisfear custom roadster.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Catching up with CHIP FOOSE

Chip Foose can be credited with designs and accomplishments well beyond his years. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, and automobiles played a major role in his upbringing. His father was the shop foreman for Gene Winfield and AMT models in Arizona. "I would go down there as early as age 3. There was a shop dog-the watchdog of the place, and I used to sleep in the doghouse with him when Dad worked late," Foose recalls. At age 9, Foose worked for his father's company, Project Design. By the ripe old age of 12, Foose had 5 years of experience under his belt and had already painted a car: a Porsche 356. Before he was of legal driving age, he bought his father's shop truck: a 1956 Ford F100. "The truck was a full-blown show truck. I bought it when I was 14 and started rebuilding it. At 16, I started driving it to high school," Foose said with a special longing in his eye. "I still have the truck. It's been sitting outside for years and needs to be redone again."

With gasoline and lacquer thinner in his blood, Foose took inspiration from his father and advice from Alex Tremulus, who designed the Tucker, to attend Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. With a major in automotive product design, Foose graduated with honors in 1990. While attending college, he pen-and-inked a car that caught the eye of Chrysler's Tom Gale. A few years later, a car based on those drawings was put into production as the Plymouth Prowler.

It didn't take long for companies to see that this Foose kid had true talent. Before he graduated from Art Center, he had already been hired as a staff designer and fabricator for Asha Corp., and he was promoted to its director of design in 1989. Foose was responsible for conceptualizing new ideas and for the fabrication of prototypes for the O.E.M.s. During those years, he also continued to work with his father at Project Design; he helped design and build street rods, customs, studio vehicles and show cars for films such as "Blade Runner," "Robo Cop" and "Gone in 60 Seconds."

In late 1990, Foose began working part-time with Boyd Coddington at Hot Rods by Boyd. He was soon promoted to managing director and eventually became president of the company. During this time, he developed what has come to be known in the industry as the "Boyd look." Among the most famous Boyd cars are the Roadster, Sportstar, Boydster I and II and Boyd Air. Foose's involvement with Boyd Coddington ended in 1998 in a whirl of industry scandal that had nothing to do with Foose. Foose and his wife, Lynne, started Foose Design, in Huntington Beach, California.

In November 1997, 31-year-old Foose was inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame at Petersen Publishing's 50th anniversary held at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas. This induction made history for Chip and the Petersen Automotive Museum because he was (and still is) the youngest member ever inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame.

In 1999, he won the prestigious America's Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) Award at the 50th anniversary of the Grand National Roadster Show with Fred Warren's "Shock Wave," and he earned a repeat honor in 2000 with Chuck Svatos's "0032." Overall, Foose has been involved with six AMBR winners, including the 1995 "Smoothster," the 1996 "Boydster," the 2001 "Impact" and the 2003 "Boydster II."

In 2002, Foose also won the coveted 2002 Riddler Award at the 50th anniversary show of the Detroit Autorama for Bob and Wes Rydell's 35 Chevy "Grand Master." In 2003, he was honored once again with an induction into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall Of Fame. These days, Foose can be seen each week in "Overhaulin'" on the TLC network.

In addition to building and collecting full-size cars, Foose remains hooked on the die-cast versions. "I usually collect the cars I think are really cool," he says. And even though he has a connection with Mattel, his collection doesn't consist exclusively of Hot Wheels' items. "I've got stuff that's not Hot Wheels. I'll collect anything that's a real hot-rod."

With all his awards, fame and fortune, you might think that Foose would be particularly proud of a signature accomplishment. This isn't the case. "When someone asks me what's my favorite car I've done, I tell them it's the next one. It's what I'm thinking of that becomes my signature car. It's about where I'm going-not where I've been."

Cars That Tell a Story, by Design

Each one of Chip Foose's vehicles has a unique inspiration. An exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum puts it all in context

People tend to look back on their lives as if composed of periods: my college years, my 20s in San Francisco, my first marriage. Chip Foose is no different, though he defines those periods by cars. "All of the cars that I have worked on represent a block of time in my life," says the 41-year-old custom car designer, hot rod fabricator, and creative force behind Foose Design. "There is a story or memory behind each of them."

Foose's stable of award-winning creations include modern interpretations of timeless classics, many hand-built from the ground up, all of which will be brought together for the first time at Chip Foose: From Pen to Pavement, an exhibition that opened at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles on Mar. 25.

Visitors will be able to see cars such as the Impression, a coupe inspired by the styling of a '36 Ford, and 1930s European models that won the 2006 America's Most Beautiful Roadster Award. "Almost every piece is hand made, fabricated from scratch", says Foose of the Impression, which has one-of-a-kind wheels and a skin of formed sheet metal.

AUTO ART.  The fleet of cars will be displayed along with full-scale plywood frames, sketches, and clay models that break down Foose's creative process and fabrication methods. The effect is an exhibit that educates, entertains, and enlightens.

"I went digging through my archives and cleaned up the clay models and molds in order to show how a car is started and finished," says Foose. "I don't consider these relics of individual design steps to be art; they are tools that lead to the final product." It's the finished car, he says, that is the art.

Without a doubt, the vehicles that roll out of Foose's Huntington Beach, Calif., shop are a notch above most other customs. The Foose team -- which stars in the TLC reality television show Overhaulin' -- excels at illustration, graphics, ideation, modelmaking, surfacing, and the complete construction of automobiles and related products.

IN THE GENES.  Foose cars can be compared to the classic autos shown at events like the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and indeed, Foose would like to see his creations displayed there. "My cars consist of all original fabrication, just like the coveted antique models did back then," he says. "And since most of the pristine examples at Concours d'Elegance shows are completely restored, there is almost no difference between what I make now and what the antiques have turned into after the restoration process."

Foose started drawing when he was just three years old, and at seven started going to work with his father, Sam Foose, a hot-rod legend in his own right. "All of my interest is based on my childhood experiences in the shop with my dad," recalls Foose. Years later, Foose attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., studying alongside J Mays and Chris Bangle, now chief designers at Ford (F) and BMW, respectively.

At one time, Foose was almost lured to Ford himself. "It would have been a career, not a lifestyle," says the designer, who enjoys the personal side of creating cars for specific people and seeing those cars 5, 10, and even 20 years later at shows and industry events.

ACROSS ERAS.  Foose is better off on his own, and not just because he believes cars should be made to last instead of conforming to the industry-standard five-year product lifecycle. Within the corporate world of the Big Three, a designer's creativity must co-exist with red tape, cost-cutting, and marketing trends. "I never really look at trends," says Foose. "Our cars take years to build, and if I worry about trends, I am not being true to myself."

What is impressive about the body of work on show at the Petersen Museum is its originality and breadth. Foose claims not to have a favorite era of car design, saying that "different elements of each time period are integrated into my designs." It's worth noting, of course, that Foose enjoys a high level of design freedom because he doesn't have to move 50,000 units. "A car needs to fit the individual who owns it," he says. "If they like what I have created for them, then I have done my job."

The designer wouldn't mind working more closely with the big auto makers, though. "I would like to see a brand like Lincoln or Cadillac collaborate with well-know coach builders to create and sell unique, high-end rolling chassis that sell without a body, like the French brands [Bugatti, Talbot-Lago, etc.] used to do," he says. "Let's bring some classy brands back into prominence, like the good old days."


Ladies and gentlemen, mr. Chip Foose!

26 Questions with Chip Foose (Part 1 of 3)

26 Questions with Chip Foose (Part 2 of 3)

26 Questions with Chip Foose (Part 3 of 3)

Foose / Pardo / Chetcuti

This brief, highly stylized video explores the dynamic fine art and design collaborations between hot rod designer Chip Foose, Ford GT designer Camilo Pardo, and metal fabricator and designer Michael Chetcuti.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Foose' favorite designer: Camilo Pardo

"Being an artist really complements my car designs. I can't imagine having one without the other. Both require me to deal with proportions, emotions and creativity, which all lead to perfect execution."
- Camilo Pardo, GT Chief Designer.

Camilo Pardo drew and re-drew the GT concept design in his mind for more than 10 years. Even when he was given permission to do an exploratory clay model of a modern GT in 1999, he never really expected to create a fully developed concept car.


The call that began the dream assignment of a lifetime came in March 2001, and Pardo was quick to begin work.

As chief designer in Ford Motor Company's Living Legends Studio, Pardo has led the development and design of the timeless GT concept. The re-birth of this legend first materialized in 1999, but it began long before—with Pardo's obsession with the 1960s-era racing legend.

As an accomplished artist, sculptor, clothing, and furniture designer, Pardo's work has been featured in galleries and shows worldwide. From caf├ęs in Monaco and Italy to the walls of the Detroit Institute of Arts, to the stages of the Paris Motor Show, his art is a true reflection of his love for innovation and design. Two of his GT paintings hang in the executive offices of Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. Another painting of a 1961 Lincoln Continental graces the offices of Ford's Premier Automotive Group's London headquarters.

Pardo is a native New Yorker who says he knew at a young age that both art and automotive design were his career path.

To follow the dream, he enrolled at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit where he graduated and was granted the Industrial Design Society of America Merit Award in 1985.

Immediately following his graduation, he joined Ford's design staff in Dearborn, keeping an easy commute to his downtown Detroit art studio and apartment, where he still lives and works on his other artistic endeavors in his spare time.

The attached garage in the studio houses his classic Ferrari 308 GT and topless 1964 Thunderbird, a project car with no convertible top and doors that are welded shut to eliminate all gaps in the sheet metal. To get in, Pardo just hops over the side or climbs out by stepping on the seat.

"If it starts raining, you just hope you don't catch any red lights on the way back to the garage," he says. "If you're going fast enough, the airflow blows the rain right over the car and off the deck. They knew a little about aero back in the '60s too."

Before taking on his role as chief designer in the Living Legends studio, Pardo spent much of his time in Ford's Advance Design studio working on the Ford Thunderbird, Lincoln LS, and Ford electric vehicles. He also has worked in Ford's design studios of Cologne, Germany, and Turin, Italy.

Upon his return to Dearborn, Pardo took on the role of design manager for Special Vehicle Team projects. The SVT studio shares space in what is now the Living Legends Studio.

Pardo has been with the modern GT design every step of the way—as one of the designers on the Ford GT90 concept of 1995, as design manager for the modern GT "exploratory" clay and now as chief designer for the GT.

Pardo's office, which opens directly into the Living Legends Studio, is filled with detailed die-cast models of GT racecars. On his desk is a miniature clay model of a seat design. He has a television and VCR in the room. In addition to powering up his computer each day, he turns on the movie "Grand Prix," watches the opening scenes and listens to the sounds of the race for inspiration—then, it's back to work.

More of his work here!



Check out this pictures at Walle's homepage!


Ron Whiteside's Stallion

Check out this pictures at Walle's homepage!


Ken Reister's Impression!

Check out this pictures at Walle's homepage!


Inside story on this latest Foose JL Full Throttle build

Hemisfear at SEMA!

Chip Foose's $3 Million Concept Car, "JL Full Throttle Hemisfear"

As members of the world press corps looked on, RC2 Corporation’s ( JL Full Throttle team of die-cast designers, in collaboration with automotive designer Chip Foose, introduced its JL Full Throttle Foose Design lineup of highly detailed, premium die-cast models at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. Many of these models are based on the incredible award-winning designs of the legendary customizer and current star of TLC’s hit show, Overhaulin’.

JLFT Team, Chip Foose Announce Successful Diecast Launch!

The JL Full Throttle die-cast lineup, which includes famous Foose show cars such as Impression, Grand Master, Double-O-32, and Sick Fish, made its official world debut alongside a full-size version of the JL Full Throttle Hemisfear, which Foose unveiled to an excited crowd of media and industry notables. The $3 million dollar JLFT Hemisfear is a dream car Foose has always wanted to build, and that dream has now has been realized through RC2 Corporation sponsorship.

“Usually a vehicle is built and then the die-cast replicas are produced using the full-scale version as a template,” said RC2 President Peter J. Henseler. “In this case, using Chip Foose’s sketches and model prototypes of the concept vehicle, our JL Full Throttle design team created the die-cast collector versions in tandem with the full-size JL Full Throttle Hemisfear vehicle. Our sponsorship enabled Chip’s dream of building the JL FT Hemisfear concept car he created during his student days at Art Center College of Design to come true.”

Me and the Hemisfera at SEMA, Las Vegas!

Engineered and constructed by MetalCrafters of Fountain Valley, Calif., the JL Full Throttle Hemisfear Coupe is a cross between a muscle car and a hot rod. This Super Hot Rod is equipped with suspension by Hotchkis and a Baer brake system. Foose’s ultimate dream car is powered by a new Mopar Performance 392 HEMI SEFI Crate Engine, which is visible through the car’s rear window. This high-performance Dodge powerplant, constructed of all-new components, sports a deep-skirted cast iron block with cross-bolted mains, CNC ported aluminum twin-plug cylinder heads, and delivers a monster 540 horsepower and 490 lf ft of torque.

Like the full-size JLFT Hemisfear, RC2 Corporation’s JL Full Throttle lineup of premium collectible die-cast cars is all about modern performance technology applied to classic and new model cars and trucks. These small- and large-scale “Hardcore Horsepower” die-cast replicas are larger in scale than traditional 1:64 and 1:24 scale models and offer high-quality detailing including engine components, opening doors and trunks and premium paint finishes.

“Working with Eric Tscherne, head designer for RC2 Corporation, and his design team to create these detailed models of some of my most famous hot rods has been exciting and a learning experience about the demands of scale,” said Foose. “I can’t thank RC2 enough for its collaboration in making the JLFT Hemisfear Coup become a reality.”

To commemorate the JL Full Throttle collectible die-cast lineup launch and the debut of the JLFT Hemisfear Coupe, RC2 Corporation gave away 500 small-scale and 100 large scale special launch edition JLFT Hemisfear replica die-cast models during the SEMA Show.

Awesome World Premier JLFT Hemisfear Unveiling!!


Foose on the Loose

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.

The Grandmaster
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.

The Stallion
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.

Boydster II
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 0032
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.

Ford Thunderbird
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.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Chip’s Challenger

Foose to build a limited run of modernized Challengers

Designer extraordinaire Chip Foose and Texas-based Unique Performance will build a limited run of cars based on the Dodge Challenger. Production begins in July to transform 1970 and 1971 Challengers into modern muscle cars equipped with Hemi engines and five-speed manual transmissions, along with new wheels, tires, suspensions and interiors.

Chip Foose and Unique Performance create MOPAR madness with limited edition ’70 Challenger

Team to Build A Handful of HEMI-Powered American Supercars

DALLAS – June 10, 2006 – A new line of limited edition supercars based on the 1970 HEMI Challenger from Unique Performance and Foose Design will stoke the imaginations of MOPAR fans worldwide. The two companies will turn a limited number of Challengers into world-class performance machines with ultra-cool design and 21st century speed technology. The prototype will be completed by June 15, 2006, and production will begin in July. Unique Performance is the premier manufacturer of signature series American muscle cars, trucks and motorcycles.

“The response to our Foose ’69 Camaro was fantastic, which led to an outpouring of requests for a similar car from MOPAR fans,” said Unique Performance President and CEO Douglas Hasty. “Our 1970 Challenger program is designed to fulfill those wishes with a very, very small run of an even more exclusive MOPAR. Working with Chip, our team will turn a handful of these vintage muscle cars into pink slip winning, Z06 eating supercars.”

The team will transform 1970 and 1971 Challengers with contemporary wheels, engines, suspensions, transmissions and interiors. Each Foose Challenger will be clad in DuPont’s Hot Hues™ custom finish and have a sleek custom interior. Either a 347 c.i.d. HEMI small block or a 426 c.i.d HEMI big block can be mated to the TKO 5-speed transmission. The car will feature a Unique Performance Parts rear suspension, 4-wheel disc Wilwood Brakes, Foose 18” wheels and BF Goodrich tires. Styling cues include Foose emblems, a custom front grill, shaved bumpers and custom hood. Each car will have a unique serial number for documentation purposes.

“I’ve always loved the lines of the ’70 Challenger,” stated Chip Foose. “It may be the quintessential American muscle car from that period. We’re adding contemporary speed gear and updating the Challenger’s style to redefine the vintage car as the ultimate limited edition MOPAR.”

Award-winning Chip Foose penned the Foose Challenger. He is the creative head and driving force behind the respected automotive and product development company Foose Design ( Headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., it specializes in illustration, graphics, ideation model making, surfacing and complete construction of automobiles and automobile-related products.

“Nobody does it better than Unique Performance and Chip Foose,” added Hasty. “Every car is a piece of art that is equally at home on the track, street or a Concours. With sizzling design and supercar capabilities, the new HEMI powered Foose Challenger will rocket past the pretenders on the road. It’s the ‘bad to the bone’ MOPAR that fans have wanted for the last 35 years.”

Unique Performance, which began as a hot rod shop 20 years ago, has evolved into a premier limited volume auto production manufacturer. Unique Performance manufactures the Shelby G.T.500E and G.T.350SR continuation cars based on vintage Ford Mustangs, as well as the Foose ’69 Camaro. The company offers a line of Foose designed cars based on the current Ford Mustang in cooperation with Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide.

The team will transform 1970 and 1971 Challengers with contemporary wheels, engines, suspensions, transmissions and interiors. Each Foose Challenger will be clad in DuPont’s Hot Hues™ custom finish and have a sleek custom interior. Either a 347 c.i.d. HEMI small block or a 426 c.i.d HEMI big block can be mated to the TKO 5-speed transmission. The car will feature a Unique Performance Products rear suspension, 4-wheel disc Wilwood Brakes, Foose 18” wheels and BFGoodrich tires. Styling cues include Foose emblems, a custom front grill, shaved bumpers and custom hood. Each car will have a unique serial number for documentation purposes.


5.7L Modern Hemi, 360 HP
Mopar 426 Hemi, 540 HP *
Fully Tuned High Performance Carburetor
Electronic Fuel Injection System


Tremec TKO 5-Speed Transmission


Custom Hydraulic Clutch


Two-Tone High Bucket Vinyl Seats w/ Suede Insert
Two-Tone High Bucket Leather Seats w/ Suede Insert

Foose Floor Mats
Carbon Fiber Gauge Package
15" Black Leather Wrap Steering Wheel
Old Air Products A/C System
Extreme Sound Dampening Package
Custom 4-Point Roll Cage
OEM Type Carbon Fiber Pistol Grip Shifter

Stereo Systems

CD Player Stereo System
LCD AM/FM/CD/DVD Navigation Custom Console
10-Disc CD Player Stereo System
Wheels and Tires

Foose Designed Wheels: 19x8" Front, 20X10" Rear
Z-Rated Tires: 245/40/19ZR Front, 295/40/20ZR Rear


Chip Foose Designed Five-Tone Paint & Graphics
Chip Foose Designed OEM Body Enhancements
Foose Emblems
Modified Front Lower Valance w/ PIAA Light System
Custom 55w Dual Headlight System

Rear End

Modified Posi-Traction Rearend 31-Spline Type Rotating Assembly


Quick Ratio Power Steering Rack
5-Way Adjustable Tilt Column


Front: Baer 14" Extreme System
Rear: Baer 13" Extreme System
Slotted, Cross Drilled & Zinc Washed Rotors
Adjustable Rear Bias Proportioning Valve


Headers w/Ceramic Coating
Dual 2.5" Exhaust with "X" Pipe
2.5" Aluminum Mufflers

Aluminum Cross Flow Radiator
Electric Cooling Fan, Pull Type

Chassis and Suspension

Tubular Front Coilover Supension
Competition Type Front K-Member
Parallel Bar 4-Link Rear Coilover
Unique Performance Products Rear Coilover Supension

The Mind behind the Deora II

Deora Reborn
Even inside a darkened studio, the shape of the Nathan Proch designed Deora II is unmistakable. When power is sent to the overhead lights 30 feet above the studio's floor, the car is bathed in a soft glow. This image isn't easily forgotten. The same can be said for the time I spent with Hot Wheels designer Nathan Proch and car builder Chip Foose.

From concept to reality, the original Deora and the Deora II had similarities and fundamental differences. The original Harr Bradley/Alexander Brothers custom was born in the mid-1960s, and it was one of the first factory-backed showstoppers to tour the country on the custom car, rod and motor-cycle show circuit. It drew rave reviews from show goers and sparked the imaginations and passions of a new generation of car designers, among which were Proch and Foose.

In 1968, Mattel Toy Co. was preparing to launch a new line of miniature cars that would reflect the unique creativity of America's car culture. A few years earlier, Mattel founder Elliot Handler had wisely visited Detroit, the mecca of the American car industry. He lived and worked, however, in the Valhalla of automotive self-expression-Southern California.

The two cultures engendered many fertile minds, and Handler subsequently raided Detroit of designers Harry Bradley and Larry Wood. Already highly influenced by the SoCal, hot-rod styles, Bradley and Wood joined Ira Gilford and Howard Rees at Mattel. As a team, these men set out to create the first set of die-cast Hot Wheels. Of the 16 first releases, one was the Deora show truck. The Alexander Brothers, who had become friends with Bradley during his Detroit days, had originally constructed the Deora as a dream-car project for Chrysler. At that time, it was Bradley's creative mind and the A-brothers' talented hands that made the unique car possible.

Remaking a Legend
Meanwhile, Nathan Proch was a typical six-year-old growing up in the rural community of New Castle, Pennsylvania, 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Proch fondly recalls, "I was a young kid when Hot Wheels were launched. I was the target market. I was the guy they were trying to catch. And they [Hot Wheels] got me-they got me big time." Proch found great inspiration in the original Deora. "Growing up in New Castle, you don't do a lot of surfing. The Deora was my first exposure to a surf culture."

Indeed, the long liner form of the original Deora, much like the surfboards that Hot Wheels had mounted on its tonneau cover, made a lasting impression and inspired Proch greatly. "Everyone who looks at the Deora thinks "surfboards"-as if the vehicle were designed to hold boards-which it was not. So, when designing the Deora II, I wanted to keep the design true to Harry Bradley and Hot Wheels, [so] we had to have surfboards," Proch revealed. But Proch's approach for the Deora II's shape was inspired by the curved, aqua-dynamic design of the boards used by today's surfers rather than the long, flat boards ridden by surfers in the 1960s.

Looking at the visual dynamics of the vehicle you will see Proch's mastery of combining the flat tonneau surface on top with the wave-like undulations of the lower body line. "The shape expresses the liquid element that is water," he explains. The stunning blending of machine and nature gave the car a haunting attraction, but the signature Hot Wheels muscle icon also had to be part of the design.

As a Hot Wheels guy, you have to address the engine. This is the symbol of power, and that has to be visually demonstrated," Proch explains with a glint in his eye. The idea was that car nuts, young and old, are drawn to the power source, thus the engine needed to be visible. In keeping with the Hot Wheels heritage, he knew the power should be provided by an American V-8, and that it needed a blower (supercharger). But because this was a modern reincarnation, Proch required that the D-II demonstrate current technology. Therefore, he inked the vehicle with a transverse-mounted Cadillac Northstar engine in the rear.

Proch was on a roll, but something was missing. Sure, the tires and wheels were monstrous, the styling highly progressive and the features over-the-top, but the last piece of the puzzle had yet to be integrated with the emerging whole. He put the drawing aside for a few hours, and when he returned to his studio, it hit him. "The rule of today is that every cool car has a rear-deck wing. Functional or not, spoilers are everywhere." The genius of his design presented Proch with his biggest challenge-to style a wing that complemented the shape of the D-II without taking away from its other remarkable features.

Indeed, Proch found inspiration from another icon of Southern California industry-aerospace. He explains his revelation: "The wing actually curves forward. I have never seen another [car] wing that curves forward into the wind. In an era where we have jet planes with forward sweptwings, I wondered, 'Why can't we do the same with automotive design?'"

Hitting the Big Time
eeing the Hot Wheels Deora II sitting on a toy-store shelf, you can't begin to appreciate the complexity of its design and the spirit that Nathan Proch engineered into it. Much like its predecessor, the contemporary version created a buzz in the die-cast world, but, quite unlike the original, this version was intended only for small scale. When the idea of turning this Rembrandt into a full-scale version was first discussed, it presented an entirely new set of challenges.

Nearly all die-cast cars begin life in 1:1 and are miniaturized until the desired dimensions are reached. The Deora II, however, was created in reverse, just as the full-scale Twin Mill that was built for Hot Wheels' 30th anniversary had been. The primary difference was that simply enlarging the scale of a Hot Wheels model to its 1:1 counterpart presented a bundle of problems, the most notable being the size and function of the tires and wheels.

When Mattel took on the task of creating a full-scale version of the Twin Mill, it turned to custom-car legend Chip Foose. Faced with the complexities of bringing the Deora II to life, Mattel once again sought out Foose and his band of manic machinists. "From the popularity of that car [Twin Mill] after it was resurrected and put on the show circuit, we [Mattel] knew the excitement of having Chip work on it. When this project came along for the 35th anniversary, it was only natural to go back to Chip," explained Mattel's Carson Lev.

Time, or the lack of it, presented Foose with the first major hurdle. "The time schedule on this project was unbelievably aggressive. I don't know of anyone else who could have pulled this off," said Lev. Twenty-four weeks was all the time the Foose team had to work with. In that time, they had to scratch-build Nathan Proch's dream machine. With funding from Mother's Wax, Foose was able to employ the talents of other top-level customizers to fast-track the project.

Few people in the automotive world are as passionate and as driven as Chip Foose. "There have been days or even a week that goes by where I get very little sleep in an effort to complete a car," admits Foose. "It's not that the car is important-it's not. What's important are friendships and my word. If I say I'll get it done, it will get done."

When the time came to begin the Deora II's life-size buildup, Foose started with a Cadillac Deville DTS. The front clip of the front-wheel-drive car was torn completely away from its platform. "The DTS was selected because we could take a front-wheel drivetrain and make it the back," Foose explains. "We now had the transaxle in place; all we needed to do was lock the steering." It sounds easy-yeah, right. Imagine the car with all of its electronics carefully pulled from its termination points and draped over the engine. "I didn't want to cut any wires. From there, it took about six weeks to build the entire rolling chassis," Foose recalls.

Unlike the original Deora-made from a Dodge A-100 pickup-the D-II body bore no resemblance to any modern car or truck. The body, therefore, had to be hand-crafted or formed, so Foose employed the talents of the Five Axis crew. Using digital data, a female mold was made to lay up the body in fiberglass. The body was then dropped over the chassis to determine the positions of the mounting points, the functional components and the accessories. As the body was being prepared for finishing, Foose's team of builders and the Five Axis team went about the task of constructing the D-II in the same way as they had built dozens of street rods and wild customs. Meticulous attention to detail was taken to ensure that the now grown-up die-cast could actually be driven.

The Start of Something Big
On November 11, 2003, after 24 weeks of Foose and his team's furious fabricating, the Deora II was ready for its breakout party. At the opening of the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, television star and renowned car collector Jay Leno fired up the Proch-designed, Foose-built Deora II and drove it into the star- studded gala event.

Under an agreement with Mother's Wax, The Deora II was used in a series of promotional events to highlight the company's line of premium car-care products. In May 2004, Mattel moved the vehicle to the Petersen Automotive Museum, where it is now united with the original Deora and the full-size Twin Mill as part of the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame exhibit.

To date, the Twin Mill and the Deora II are the only drivable, full-scale cars that originally started as die-cast models. As Hot Wheels' 40th anniversary approaches, however, there's no telling what Mattel might bring to life. As Nathan Proch sharpens his pencils, Foose is clearing shop space. When these two worlds collide, anything can happen.