Chip Foose got his start in the world of hot rods and building one-of-a-kind custom builds by helping his dad, Sam Foose, in his Santa Barbara, California, auto workshop.
30 years ago, Street Rodder Magazine asked Chip, who was 27 at the time, about his first introductions into the car building world. “When I was growing up, I used to watch him, bothering him, spilling paint on vintage cars,” he said about his father. He always had great respect for his dad, and when interviewed another time in his career, he shared that early on his father taught him “that trendy design dates faster than bellbottoms on a hippie.”
In the Street Rodder interview, Chip was asked a few questions as he passed by, including this one: “Where do you hope to go with your design work?” Chip’s answer: “I like doing the OEM work, and I’ll probably stick with that. I don’t know where it will lead, but street rodding will be a part of my future as a hobby. I don’t plan to make that a full-time job.” At this stage in that interview, the editor’s note read as follows: “Chip has to leave the interview at this point. But we’re sure we’ll be hearing from him in the future.”
No truer words have ever been spoken.
The impact that Chip Foose has had on the industry is immeasurable. While displaying 12 of his cars at the running of the 2019 Grand National Roadster Show, he was presented with “The Builder of the Decade” award. He is also a member of the Hot Rod Hall of Fame, a four-time recipient of the Ridler Award, designed the 2000 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winner and has received too many other trophies and awards to list here.
At the 2021 SEMA Show, Foose displayed 20 of his vehicles for the “Chip Foose Experience” exhibit, which was the largest ever gathering of Foose-designed vehicles in one place. Inside the North Hall, showgoers were able to see the cars and absorb what Chip Foose is about: designs that hold the test of time.