Homestead: Chip Foose - Ford Friday interview

Chip Foose noted hot rod designer and star of TV's "Overhaulin'" talks about designing the Ford F-150 Foose Edition for Ford Championship Weekend. In addition to designing the pace truck, Foose will climb behind the wheel of the F-150 Friday ...

Chip Foose noted hot rod designer and star of TV's "Overhaulin'" talks about designing the Ford F-150 Foose Edition for Ford Championship Weekend. In addition to designing the pace truck, Foose will climb behind the wheel of the F-150 Friday evening as the celebrity pace truck driver for the Ford 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finale.

CHIP FOOSE

How did you get involved with this deal for the NASCAR race? "With NASCAR and Ford, they called us. I think that it's a natural thing that the Foose F-150 is a truck to do the NASCAR truck race, naturally. And it's an honor to drive the pace truck. Even more, it's nice to see the truck with all the graphics on it."

WHAT'S THE TRUCK HAVE ON IT? WHAT DID YOU DO TO IT TO MODIFY IT? "Well, we take the [Ford F-150] FX2, and we do a suspension kit to drop the truck, which has 22" Foose wheels, we've got the Pirelli tires. We've got a stripe kit on it and then of course on the pace truck, it's got all of the official pace car graphics as well and the light bar. We also do a new grill in it and we've got ground effects, floor mats, headrests, and of course it's got a Roush supercharger that brings it up to 450 horsepower and with the Roush exhaust."

IS THAT PACKAGE GOING TO BE AVAILABLE THROUGH DEALERS? "It will be available through dealers and I believe we're supposed to hit the dealership late December."

WHEN YOU CUSTOM DESIGN A VEHICLE, WHAT SORT OF THINGS THAT GO THROUGH YOUR MIND AS FAR AS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE IT FIT? "When we signed our deal [with Ford], I have an '05 F-150 that I had built and it's a four-wheel drive, but I call it an all-wheel drive after it did some things to it. We weren't sure which vehicle we were going to do right away, and in the signing, they gave me an F-150, a '07 two-wheel drive, that exact truck we're doing. I went ahead and built that truck for myself. I didn't have 22" wheels, I have 24" inch wheels on it and when they saw it, they said that we should start here. So that's how it started, just building a truck for myself. I looked at the truck and just did basic things that I would do if I owned it. So, now it's just an extension of my personal truck; that we're duplicating to be able to sell to the public."

THERE IS A HUGE MARKET FOR PEOPLE THAT WANT TO CUSTOMIZE THEIR VEHICLE. "Yes, there is. Everyone loves to personalize their vehicle, and that's what I did here. I personalized mine and then with Tecstar's help, we're offering it to the public."

WITH WHAT YOU'VE DONE WITH THIS F-150, IT'S GOING TO LOOK GREAT UNDER THE LIGHTS AT THE RACE. "I won't be able to see, because I'm going to be inside it, but once I get up into one of the suites for the race, someone else will drive it, so I'm hoping there will have to be a caution so it will have to come out the track."

BEING INVOLVED IN FORD CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND, HAVE YOU DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE? "Well, I've never done the pace car at an official NASCAR race, but I've done the pace car at Irwindale, a local track for me. I'm looking forward to this. To make it any better, I'd have to stay out there the whole race."

WHEN YOU SAW THE TRUCK FOR THE FIRST TIME ALL COMPLETED, YOU SAW SOMETHING ON THE TRUCK THAT WAS CLOSE TO 1/16TH OF AN INCH OFF. YOU JUST HAVE AN EYE FOR VEHICLES. "Guilty (laughing). I look at things really in an interesting way. I line things up and look at one element of the truck and I'll know that I designed it to line up with another element, and I see that it's not. I'll just bring that up with Thom Sundberg whose here from Tecstar, because they are the ones that are going to be building the truck. I told him and he said that once we go into production, we can make sure that doesn't happen."

YOU'VE APPEARED ON OVERHAULIN' ON TLC AND PEOPLE HAVE SEEN WHAT YOU DO, BUT WHAT DOES BEING INVOLVED WITH THIS RACE AND THIS PROCESS MEANT TO CHIP FOOSE? "I never thought of it that way. I just love the chance to play with cars. I love the opportunity to play with cars, so this is another opportunity. For me, I'm still living my childhood dream."

THIS IS GOING TO BE A TRUCK THAT ONCE THEY SEE, THEY'RE GOING TO WANT TO GET THEIR HANDS ON ONE. "Thank you. Working with Ford Motor Company is also a dream come true. Ever since growing up when I was a kid with my dad, we always had Fords in the family and now I'm going to add another one to the garage."

YOUR BACKGROUND INCLUDES WORKING ON OLDER FORDS AND COUPES. "The first vehicle that I ever owned was a '31 Model A, that my dad said was going to be mine, and that was when I was 12 years old. He sold it when I was 15. I was devastated that that one went away, but I went and bought his '56 Ford pickup and then I redid that one when I was 16, and redid it again when I was 18. Then I was getting ready to re-do it, I had all the drawings, and that's when Overhaulin', they actually stole it from me and took my drawings and had my dad run the A-team and they built my dream truck and they gave it to me at the Roush booth at SEMA two years ago."

YOU MENTIONED JACK ROUSH PARTS ON THIS TRUCK. "Well, yes. We've got the Roush Supercharger and exhaust system on the truck. Jack's done some beautiful work, and Roush has the engines we use on Overhaulin', as well as Ford Racing engines and other people's. It's the vendors who help us on things like this that make the show even a possibility."

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR STUDENTS LOOKING TO GET INTO THIS OCCUPATION? "Follow your heart. Do what you really love doing. I was lucky enough to do that. Even when I went to Art Center, I would change projects to fit what my passion was. I got lucky enough when Chrysler came in and asked us to create niche market vehicles, rather creating a niche market. I took the approach to catering to a niche market. I designed a hot rod which became the Prowler. I did it two ways. I did it as a roadster and as a coupe. I'm building 50 of the coupes with Metalcrafters out in Fountain Valley and selling those to the public."

WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE PACE VEHICLE AFTER THIS WEEKEND? "After this weekend, the pace truck, I think it will go to a couple shows, but it will end up at Barrett-Jackson in January and be auctioned over the block."

-credit: ford racing

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