Chip Foose Experience at SEMA 2021

Taking up about a quarter of the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center this year at SEMA was the “Chip Foose Experience,” billed as the largest collection of Chip Foose designed vehicles ever assembled, including all four of his Ridler Award winning cars. 

Arguably the most talented and influential automotive designer of the last 30+ years, the man needs no introduction, but let me remind everyone of his bona fides:

Award winning designer? Check these out:

Hall of Fame inductee? Sure:

Convinced? Ok, moving on…

Although the car display on its own was an awesome experience, we were also able to catch Chip on stage more than once sketching car and wheel designs, along with answering questions posed by the audience.

Chip Foose

“P-32” 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster

One of my favorites on display was the “P-32” 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster. Powered by a ’39 Lincoln V-12, Foose styled this ’32 in homage to WWII fighter planes. Lots of special touches: real B-17 bomber seats, reworked bare metal, rivets, fighter plane nose art, and an oval drab interior complete the look.

“P-32” 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster

I still think it needs machine guns.

“P-32” 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster

Dig those pie crusts.

“P-32” 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster

Looks like a modified ’39 Lincoln dash, but knowing Foose, there probably isn’t an original piece of sheetmetal in there.

1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe

One of Foose’s personal vehicles, this flathead powered ’32 Ford 5-window coupe stood out from the rest of the vehicles on display for one main reason: it’s lack of significant body modifications. Starting with an original steel body, the coupe rides on a stock frame and traditional running gear. The Halibrand inspired wheels designed by Foose are a nice touch. 

’32 Ford 5-Window Coupe

“Imposter” 1965 Chevy Impala (2015 Ridler winner)

I’ve seen this car in person a few times and I think the only way for someone to really appreciate the Imposter would be to put it next to a stock ’65 Impala and compare the differences. Staring with a ’09 C6 Corvette chassis that was lengthened over 7 inches, Foose then mated said chassis to an Impala body that was shortened 14 inches. Utilizing many Corvette parts, including interior pieces such as the original Corvette bucket seats and dash, the Imposter is powered by a Magnum supercharged LS3.

“Imposter” 1965 Chevy Impala

“FD-100” 1956 F-100 pickup

Another of Foose’s personal vehicles is the “FD-100” ’56 F-100 pickup. Owned by Chip for 40+ years, the pickup was originally owned by his dad, Sam Foose, and used as his shop truck. Back in 2005, Sam, unbeknownst to Chip, worked with the Overhaulin’ crew to rebuild the truck using Chip’s own design sketches. Powered by a 451 cubic inch Roush NASCAR racing motor, just about every piece of sheet metal was reworked.

Foose Design “FD-100” (“Overhaulin’” build)
Foose Design “FD-100” (“Overhaulin’” build)

“0032” 1932 Ford Roadster

What started as the “Boydster”, the Foose designed winner of the 1996 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award, was renamed the “0032” after a complete restyle. It won again in 2000. It’s hard to believe this is the same iconic red highboy that rolled out of Coddington’s shop.

’32 Ford Roadster “0032”
’32 Ford Roadster “0032”

“Keystone Coupe” 1933 Ford Coupe

Originally a Speed 33 roadster body, Foose penned new lines to create what we see here. Along with the new roof, scratch built fenders, running boards, hood, and grille complete the sleek look.

’33 Ford Speed 33 “Keystone Coupe”
’33 Ford Speed 33 “Keystone Coupe”

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Restomod

Another classic, this ’69 Camaro was given a once over by Foose, incorporating subtle body changes. If you were a fan of Overhaulin’, you know that on the show Foose would often take original bumpers and rework them to better follow the original body lines of the project cars. The same was done here and it is just another one of the imperceptible design choices that Foose is known for.

’69 Chevy Camaro

“Madam X” 1939 Cadillac 60 Special

This ’39 Caddy is based on an original 1935 concept design by Art Ross for a ’38 Cadillac 60 Special, reimagined by Foose. You wouldn’t know it, but this car started life as ’39 4 door and now sports a removable Carson top. 

’39 Cadillac 60 Special “Madam X”

“Cool Air” 1954 Chevy Bel Air

What looks like a stock ’54 Chevy Bel Air has been tweaked and sculpted by Foose to give us the “Cool Air.” While it looks good in the pics, the copper paint is just outstanding in person. Riding on an Art Morrison Max-G chassis with a Corvette C5 suspension, the Chevy is powered by a modified LS1.

“Cool Air” ’54 Chevy Hardtop
“Cool Air” ’54 Chevy Hardtop
“Cool Air” ’54 Chevy Hardtop

“Magnatude” 1932 Muroc Roadster

Built for the owner of Magnuson Superchargers, this ’32 roadster is based on one of the twenty Murdoc roadster bodies that were designed by Foose and Them Taylor and fabricated by Foose’s long time collaborator, Marcel DeLay of Marcel’s Custom Metal. After being smoothed and reshaped by Foose, it was covered in a two-tone butterscotch and champagne paint scheme mixed by Foose. And of course, it is powered by an LS1 topped with a Magnuson supercharger.

’32 Muroc Roadster “Magnatude”

“Stallion” 1934 Ford Coupe (2003 Ridler winner)

One of the amazing parts of this build is that the owner had owned it for 50 years before he brought it to Foose. Chopped and smoothed, Foose created  the “Stallion”, reimagining the Ford as if was a Mercury Monarch (that is if the Mercury brand existed in 1934; it didn’t until 1939). This former drag racer went on to win the 2003 Ridler award. 

’34 Ford Coupe “Stallion”

“EldoRod” 1948 Cadillac 

The EldoRod was originally designed by Foose when he worked for Boyd Coddington and was built in Coddington’s shop. When it left Boyd’s shop it was painted a deep maroon, but after a a few owner changes, the Caddy made it back to Foose for a repaint and redesign. Starting with Chip’s first drawings, the car received a new custom bumper and grille, sectioned and lengthened hood, sectioned decklid, reshaped tailfins, a redesigned removable Carson top, and of course, the brilliant blue paint you see here.

’48 Cadillac “EldoRod”

“The Black Bow Tie” 1935 Chevrolet Phaeton

This ’35 Chevrolet Phaeton is the only Chevrolet to ever win the award for the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster at the Grand National Roadster Show, which it did in 2014. A collaboration between builder Troy Trepanier and Foose, this understated build is powered by a fuel injected Chevy small block.

’35 Chevrolet Phaeton “The Black Bow Tie”

“Sniper” 1954 Plymouth Hardtop

Starting with a 1954 Plymouth convertible, builder Troy Trepanier collaborated with Foose to create the Sniper from a Foose design. Although hidden underneath the custom bodywork (including Mercedes headlights) the car incorporates many parts from a 1997 Dodge Viper, including suspension pieces, a Viper V10 and six-speed, and several interior components.

’54 Plymouth Belvedere “Sniper”
’54 Plymouth Belvedere “Sniper”

“Boyd Air” 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 

Born from his collaboration with Boyd Coddington, the heavily modified ’57 Chevy “Boyd Air” has been widened 4″ from front to back. From the rake of the windshield to the dropped stance, this Chevy makes a bold statement. Take a minute to compare the details with the slightly modified Bel Air below that sat next to it.

’57 Chevrolet Bel Air “Boyd Air”
’57 Chevrolet Bel Air “Boyd Air”

1957 Chevy Bel Air Restomod

It’s always great to see Foose designs that show what can be done with a fairly stock car. This ’57 rides on a Roadster Shop chassis and is powered by a LS3. And those wheels! Taking design cues from original hubcaps, the machined aluminum wheels are a beautiful addition.

’57 Chevrolet Bel Air Restomod

1974 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

Tasteful Foose design tweaks complement the original classic form of this Jaguar E-Type. Powered by a 525 hp LS3, this roadster is a head turner.

’74 Jaguar E-Type Roadster (Battle of the Builder category winner)
’74 Jaguar E-Type Roadster (Battle of the Builder category winner)

 On display, but not shown:

“Impression” (2005 Ridler award winner)

“Hemisfear” (Handmade original Foose design)

’35 Chevrolet Master “Grandmaster” (2002 Ridler award winner)

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