In a relatively short career, Chip Foose has created a legacy of designs and accomplishments that are well beyond his years.
Chip was born and raised in Santa Barbara California and automobiles were definitely in his blood. Chip’s first job was working for his father’s company, Project Design. By age twelve, Chip already had five years experience under his belt, and had also painted his first car, a Porsche 356.
Early on, a chance meeting from Alex Tremulus, the designer of the “Tucker”, was Chip’s motivation to attend Art Center, where he majored in automotive product design and graduated in 1990 with honors.
Chip’s career profile is staggering; in 1986 he was Staff Designer/Fabricator for the Asha Corporation, eventually becoming director of design in 1989. Chip was responsible for conceptualizing new proprietary ideas and fabrication of prototypes for the OEM’s. Other work has included: Stehrenberger Design as an automotive designer, creating illustrations and conceptual models, Baker Sportronics, as chief designer and fabricator of electric vehicles used in the NFL and MLB, and of course, working with his father, designing and building street rods, customs, studio vehicles and show cars for films such as Blade Runner, Robo Cop, and Gone in 60 Seconds.
November 1990 brought about the beginning of a relationship with Boyd Coddington and Hot Rods by Boyd, becoming a full time position in 1993, where Chip eventually became the President. Chip, who is widely acclaimed for his “Boyd Look” design and creative skills, was responsible for many internationally known vehicles such as: Roadster, Sportstar, Boydster I and II, and Boyd Air to name a few. Chip’s venture with Boyd however, ended in 1998.
At this time Chip and his wife Lynne started their Huntington Beach, California based company Foose Design, an automotive and product design Development Company. His company specializes in illustration, graphics, ideation model making, surfacing and complete construction of automobiles and automotive related products. These products are available to private individuals, television, film and the automobile manufacturers.
In November of 1997, Chip was inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame at Peterson Publishing’s 50th anniversary held at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This induction made history for Chip, becoming the youngest member ever inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame at the age of 31. In 1998, Chip was honored at the SMRA banquet and was the first recipient of the Good Guys Trendsetter Award, once again creating another historic moment in the Hot Rod industry. In 1999, Chip won the prestigious AMBR (America’s Most Beautiful Roadster) Award at the 50th Anniversary of the Grand National Roadster Show with Fred Warren’s “Shockwave”. In 2000 Chip won the AMBR again with Chuck Svatos’ “0032”. Overall, Chip has been involved with seven different AMBR winners, the last in 2006.
The new millennium meant new endeavors for Chip, in January of 2000, he signed a licensing agreement with MHT Luxury Alloys, allowing Chip to start the production of Foose Wheels. In 2002, Chip won the coveted “Ridler” Award at the 50th Anniversary Show of the Detroit Autorama with Bob and Wes Rydell’s 35 Chevy Master, otherwise known as the “Grandmaster”. He was inducted into the Darryl Starbird Rod & Custom Car Museum Hall of Fame. The end of the year closed with a bang for Chip and his highly acclaimed staff at Foose Design when the Discovery Channel filmed a documentary, “Rides”, which aired repetitively on the TLC network in March of 2003. The documentary featured several of Chip’s award winning vehicles, but the show’s focus was to give viewers a chance to witness Chip’s visionary talents come to life with a re-design of the 2002 Thunderbird. The redesigned Thunderbird otherwise known as the “Speedbird” received another award for Chip, as it made its debut at the 2002 SEMA show in Las Vegas, where Chip was presented the “Best of Show” award from Ford Motor Company.
The year 2003 was equally exciting for Chip. He was honored once again with an induction into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame. He then received a second “Ridler” award at the Detroit Autorama for his work on Ron Whitesides 34′ Mercury Stallion.
Throughout the course of Chip’s career he has been honored to receive the Good Guys Street Rod of the Year Award eight times, Most recently he captured the award in 2010 with the “Magnatude”, a 1932 Custom Muroc Roadster (body by Marcel and design by Chip).
2004 proved to be as exhilarating as the past years, Chip started a television series called “Overhaulin'”, which began airing on the TLC network late April of 2004. With 5 successful seasons in the books and nearly 90 vehicles restored, the show continues to air in most domestic and international markets.
2005 opened with Chip being inducted into the San Francisco Rod and Custom Motorcycle Hall of Fame. He also received his 3rd “Ridler” Award for, “Impression”, a Foose designed and fabricated 1936 Ford based roadster owned by Ken Reister. Also that same year, Chip was honored to be personally selected by John Lasseter of Pixar to contribute paint schemes and graphic treatments to certain characters from the hit movie “Cars”. This relationship has since expanded to a showcase of original Chip Foose “Cars” artwork at Disney Theme Parks and a role as a consultant on the sequel, “Cars 2”.
In 2009, Chip made a return to television, serving as a guest judge on the Discovery Channel’s “Ultimate Car Build-Off”, where top auto shops in LA, Detroit and Atlanta competed for a chance at glory and a $100,000 grand prize. Recently, he also hosted the documentary series “American Icon: The Hot Rod” on Discovery’s HD Theater.
Encouraged by the continued popularity of “Overhaulin’”, Discovery Communication’s Velocity network relaunched the show with all new episodes in October 2012. Chip and longtime co-host Chris Jacobs are now finalizing the second season of the rebooted format.
Along with his wife Lynne, Chip continues to run his business Foose Design, where he designs and builds automotive masterpieces.