6 Questions for Chip Foose

by • August 5, 2016 • FeatureComments (0)15408

We had a chance to spend a few minutes with Chip Foose at his celebration at the Petersen Automotive Museum where we asked him a series of questions to give his thoughts on cars.

“Chip tell us what was your most favorite car that you have ever owned?”
“It was my 1956 Ford F-100.”

His F-100 he considers to be a member of the family. Originally his father Sam’s shop truck, Chip bought the vehicle at the age of 13. He spent the next 3 years rebuilding and restyling the pickup, settling on a root beer brown paint color. It became his daily driver throughout high school and his early college years.

After years of use and storage, the vehicle eventually made its way to the front lot of the Foose Design shop where it sat for a few years. But the truck was never out of Chip’s thoughts. He drew sketches and concepts of how he would like to customize to the vehicle, if his hectic schedule ever afforded him the time.

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In 2005, as part of the show Overhaulin’, which featured Chip as co-host and lead designer, the truck was “stolen” from the Foose Design lot. Unbeknownst to Chip, his dad Sam led a team of builders and designers in reforming the ’56 into the truck it is today. They were able to use Chip’s drawings as their design template.

Nearly every panel was reshaped, reformed or cut. The cowl was sectioned, the hood was pie-cut, the front wheels were moved forward, the rear fenders were widened and raised up, the cab was section cut 3 inches at the rear window and the front fender wheel opening was moved up. A Roush NASCAR racing motor, serial number 1, was installed and one-off wheels were cut.

The Ford is again one of Chip’s daily drivers and he looks forward to the day when his son Brock will inherit this family heirloom.

“What about cars you have “Overhauled”, which is your most memorable car across all those episodes?”
“It would have to be the Lance Armstrong 1970 Pontiac GTO convertible.”

Foose and his team complete each project on Overhaulin’ in roughly one week. The GTO was penned by Foose, fitted with a 461 cubic inch Pontiac V8 and fully finished by some of the best fabricators in the world.

At the front of this goat’s body, a highly renowned Endura bumper hangs chrome-trimmed ‘kidney’ grilles and a yellow-detailed “SPRINT6” emblem between H4 headlights and clear, chrome-trimmed parking lamps. Behind those grilles, a Formula-style hood leads the eye to smoked glass that’s framed in bright stainless trim, cleared by correctly hidden wipers and sealed with a fresh black top. At the sides of that glass, smoothed ‘coke bottle’ fenders are highlighted by shaved doors and classy gray pinstripes. And at the back of the car, a color-keyed bumper hangs clean, factory tail lights above polished stainless exhaust tips. Under the hood was a 461 cubic inch Pontiac V8 that’s been stroked, smoothed, painted, and dressed in some of the best components on the planet.

The GTO combines professional grade performance hardware with some of the coolest customization in a muscle car. What Foose had done was create a pro-tourer that’s scary fast and an absolute blast to drive.

“Chip you spent time in the movie world what was your favorite movie car?”
“That would be the Eleanor 67 Ford Mustang from Gone in 60 Seconds.”

Fans of the Touchstone Pictures 2000 remake of the 1974 cult movie “Gone in 60 Seconds” will recognize this as the original Eleanor, the modified 1967 Ford Mustang piloted by retired master car thief Memphis Raines, played by Nicholas Cage. The “Hero” car driven by Cage during filming and used in movie close-ups, posters and promotional materials, launched a whole new trend in Resto Modding. Built by Foose at Cinema Vehicle Services (CVS), the design of the car is a work of art. Well-known hot rod designer Steve Stanford sketched out the original concept drawing for the car before the vehicle was brought to life by CVS.

The builders were able to mock up Eleanor’s body pieces on a Mustang using clay and wood. Molds were then made to produce a new fiberglass front end filled with high-powered PIAA driving lights, new fender flares, side skirts and scoops, hood and trunk lid. The front suspension was replaced with a lowered and reinforced coilover spring arrangement with power rack and pinion steering; 4-wheel disc brakes were installed and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires mounted on Schmidt 8×17-inch Cobra-style wheels. To give the car big-screen performance, it was treated to a 351/400 HP Ford crate engine, which shares room under the modified hood with a front subframe body brace by Total Control Products, LLC. This progenitor of the Eleanor revolution is relatively untouched inside with the exception of an Autometer Sport Comp Monster tach, fire extinguisher, Go-Baby-Go shift knob button for Line Lock and a switch for activating a nitrous injection system.

“What is your favorite American Car Chip?”
“It would be the 2005/06 Ford GT”

From the moment the first of these custom-built cars were delivered in late 2004, the Ford GT set the supercar world on its ear with its supercharged 550 horsepower V-8, 205-mph top speed and styling inspired by the historic Ford GT-40 race cars.

The GT is a high-performance, mid-engine, two seat sports car with an aluminum space frame chassis, aluminum body panels and a contemporary interior, the Ford GT showcased the engineering prowess of the Ford Special Vehicle Team and will forever stand as among the most memorable cars ever produced in Ford’s 100-plus year history.

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The Ford GT began as a concept car designed in anticipation of the automaker’s centennial year and as part of its drive to showcase and revive its “heritage” names such as Mustang and Thunderbird. Camilo Pardo, the head of Ford’s “Living Legends” studio, is credited as the chief designer of the GT and worked under the guidance of J Mays. Carroll Shelby was brought in by Ford to help develop the Ford GT; which included performance testing of the prototype car. While the project was still secret, it was called Petunia.

The GT is similar in outward appearance to the original Ford GT40 cars, but bigger, wider, and most importantly 3 in (76 mm) taller than the original 40 in (100 cm); as a result, a potential name for the car was the GT43. Although the cars are visually related, structurally, there is no similarity between the modern GT and the 1960s GT40 that inspired it. Three production prototype cars were shown in 2003 as part of Ford’s centenary, and delivery of the production Ford GT began in the fall of 2004.

“Chip what about a car across the waves in Europe, what would be your pick?”
“That is a tough one, but I can’t go past the 1950’s and 1960’s Ferrari’s”

Ferrari‘s first vehicle was the 125 S sports/racing model. In 1949, the Ferrari 166 Inter was introduced. The presentation of this car marked the company’s first move into the grand touring market, which continues to make up the bulk of Ferrari sales to the present day. Some of the cars Chip alluded to included:

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1953 375 MM
1953 250 Europa
1953 375 America
1954 250 Europa GT
1956 410 Superamerica
1956–1963 250 GT Europa/Boano/Ellena/Pininfarina Coupé/Lusso
1957–1960 250 GT Berlinetta/Cabriolet/California Spider/SWB
1960 400 Superamerica
1964–1968 275
1964–1965 275 GTB
1964–1965 275 GTS
1966–1968 275 GTB/4

“Chip thanks for your time, but one last one, what do you think to this day is the most underrated car?”
“I would say a late Chevrolet Corvair, I have always wanted to do one of those.”

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The Chevrolet Corvair was a compact automobile manufactured and marketed by Chevrolet from 1960–1969 over two generations. What makes the Corvair unique is it is the only American-designed, mass-produced passenger car to feature a rear-mounted air-cooled engine. The Corvair range included a two-door coupe, convertible, four-door sedan, and four-door station wagon body styles, as well as passenger van, commercial van, and pickup truck variants.

The Corvair’s legacy was affected by controversy surrounding its handling, scrutinized in Ralph Nader‘s Unsafe at Any Speed, as well as a 1972 Texas A&M University safety commission report for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which found that the 1960–1963 Corvair possessed no greater potential for loss of control in extreme situations than its contemporaries. However later models remedied these issues unfortunately the Chevrolet Corvair was never able to recover and 1969 was the last year of production.

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