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Designer Chip Foose creates a Ford pickup hot rod

April 27, 2007|by TIM SPELL / Motor Matters

Ford Motor Co. recently unveiled the 2008 F-150 Foose Edition, a show-and-go hot rod, dressed to cruise the boulevard.

It stands out among other trucks with a design created by Chip Foose, celebrated custom-car guru and host of TV's "Overhaulin.'" Fitting Ford's style, Foose creations aren't too "Pimp My Ride," said Ben Poore, Ford truck group marketing manager.

Foose is more minimalist in his styling and likes to show a truck's natural lines, Poore said. Foose's designs appeal to a wide range of consumers. "If you look at who is on his show, there's a cross section of America."

It was a lot like being a guest on "Overhaulin'" when Poore sat down to talk with Foose about creating the F-150 Foose Edition, based on the F-150 FX2 Sport.

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This meeting was at the 2006 Specialty Equipment Market Association convention in Las Vegas, where Foose was hosting his TV show. In fact, plans for the F-150 Foose Edition were discussed on the set at the table where he draws and plans custom treatments with guests.

"He did with me what he does with the other people on his show," Poore said. "He says, 'Ben, what are you looking for in a truck'?" Poore says he wants a Ford street-rod truck. He wants Foose to take the FX2 and carry it even further in terms of a street-rod kind of look. Foose immediately starts to jot down information.

"He starts to scribblin'," Poore said. "You can't talk to him without his hands starting to move. It's just amazing."

Terms bounce around, such as "tough luxury" and "street-rod tough" - keeping the toughness of the brand, but getting that street-rod look even more into it, Poore said. Foose asked where Ford wants to put the most concentration, on the interior or exterior. "Absolutely the exterior," Poore said.

Then Foose asked about the size of wheels Ford wants. "At least 20s," Poore said. "Let's try to go for 22s," Foose said, and Poore agreed.

The wheels are forged, polished Foose wheels wrapped by P275/45R-22 tires. They are shrouded by flared fenders that contribute to a lowered look. The show truck is lowered about 1.5 inches (may be different on production model), and Foose creates an effect to make it look even lower. Instead of merely fitting a chin spoiler up front, he puts the body kit with custom rocker panels all the way around the vehicle.

Enhancing this grounded look are bold racing stripes that start at the leading edge of the hood. Striping narrows significantly as it cascades down the front fenders. It then travels rearward as a trim band, above door handles and across to the tailgate. It ends with two wide stripes dipping down the tailgate.

Just as these wide stripes balance out those up front, Foose selects squarish dual exhaust outlets to complement the shapes of the ducts in the front chin spoiler.

The dual exhausts, from Ford Racing parts, lead to the most potent engine in an under-8,500-GVWR-class pickup. It's a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8, cranking out 450 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque. Its transmission mate is a four-speed automatic.

"This will be the fastest truck in the lineup, absolutely," Poore said. "It's tremendous power off the line," he said. "If you are cruising the highway and you get the rpm up and you just let it kick in, it just keeps going, and going and going."

The powertrain and exterior are where most of the extra attitude is invested, Poore said, noting the FX2 interior already has special touches.

Interior design changes are minimal. It's fitted with a full-leather center console armrest, and front headrests have contrast stitching and are embossed with the Foose signature. There's also Ford carpeted floormats with the Foose logo. A personalized build sequence badge makes it official this F-150 is a Foose creation.

Of course, for admirers wanting to know the source of the F-150's design wizardry, there are "FOOSE DESIGN" badges on the rear flanks. And Ford may take it further, substituting the F-150 badges on the front fenders with "FOOSE F-150" badges.

Ford's F-150 Foose Edition is scheduled to be available for buyers in the first quarter of 2008. There have been no announcements regarding pricing or the number of limited-edition pickups that will be produced.

"They will not be easy to come by," Poore said.

Tim Spell is automotive editor of the Houston Chronicle Cars & Trucks section.

Copyright, Motor Matters 2007

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