The Story of Master Car Designer Chip Foose

by Ed Attanasio - Thu, May 19, 2016 3:30 PM

If you are a car fanatic or have ever worked in some capacity within the collision repair industry, you likely know the name Chip Foose. Within just 26 years, Chip Foose has established himself as one of the finest automotive and product designers in the world.

The Foose story starts in Santa Barbara, CA, where he first discovered that automobiles were undoubtedly in his DNA at a very early age. By the time he was 12, Chip had also painted his first car, a Porsche 356.

Encouraged by Tucker designer Alex Tremulis, Foose started to attend the Art Center College of Design in 1982, but had to drop out after two years due to financial issues. After working for four years at Clenet Coachworks, Foose returned to the Art Center to get his degree.

Chip Foose

After graduating in 1990, Foose began working full-time for Sterenberger Design and part-time for Boyd Coddington. Soon he began working full-time for Coddington and eventually became the president of Coddington's company Hot Rods by Boyd.

In 1998, Hot Rods by Boyd was in financial trouble, so Foose left his job there  and opened   his own automotive and product design company called Foose Design in Huntington Beach, CA. This is where his career started to really take off!

Foose started to become an even familiar face for car lovers in 2003, when a TLC documentary featured his modified 2002 Ford Thunderbird, aka the Speedbird.

In 2004, Overhaulin' (TLC) made a big splash with Foose as the star of show.

Then, at the 2005 SEMA show, a unique 1969 Foose designed Camaro Convertible was displayed, to be produced in a 300-car run by Unique Performance.

Also at SEMA that same year, Foose designed an eye-catching paint scheme for four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jeff Gordon to feature Dupont's Hot Hues paint line. Foose has since severed ties with DuPont and now promotes the BASF Glasurit paint line exclusively. Overhaulin' by Chip Foose

In 2006, Foose began producing a line of die-cast replicas of his most famous designs partnering with the makers of Johnny Lightning in the creation of JL Full Throttle. This line has become a huge success and now features other award-winning Foose designs, including the Grand Master and the Impression.

In 2007, Foose began making  50 versions of the Hemisfear. Also known as the Foose Coupe, the Hemisfear was designed by Foose back in 1990 while he was a student time at the Art Center and it unveiled at the SEMA trade show in November 2006. It was mega popular and garnered Foose a ton of media attention for the now legendary Hemisfear.

Also in 2007, Foose was hired as the design consultant to work with builders and architects to come up with unique styling elements for the exterior and interior of the $275 million expansion of Detroit's MotorCity Casino.

Today, Foose continues to operate Foose Design and provides design consultations for some of the biggest car manufacturers in the world. Foose started as a young man in Santa Barbara with a dream and a creative zeal and has created a career that is unprecedented in the industry. 

Ed Attanasio
Ed has been a professional writer for more than 35 years and his specialties include B2B reporting, blogging, ad copywriting, public relations and general editorial.