By Andrew Ardizzi

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Chip Foose chatted with collision repair professionals for over an hour on Nov. 12.  

Toronto, Ontario -- November 13, 2013 -- Acclaimed hot rod designer Chip Foose chatted about his career as collision repair professionals looked on during a 3M-organized event at the Toronto Congress Centre.

Hosted by 3M's Automotive Aftermarket Division, Foose--the host of Velocity's Overhaulin' reality TV series--recounted his career for over an hour as a collection of his custom hot rods adorned the show floor.

Foose recalled his early experiences in his father's shop, Project Design, located in Santa Barbara, California, where he worked from the age of seven. He joked that he probably did more harm than good in those early years, dipping his fingers into the paints and running around. It wasn't before long though that Foose began to truly take car customization seriously, working side-by-side with his dad.

"I've truly loved working with my dad for the last 40 years," says Foose, noting his father was a great teacher who conveyed so much wisdom to him over the years. "My dad is my hero."

He says one of the first cars they worked on together was a '48 Ford that had a chop top and was a deep maroon colour, a car that appeared on 16 different magazine covers in 1975.

Over his career Foose designed hot rods for ASHA Corp., and later for Boyd Coddington whom he worked full-time with until 1998 once Boyd's fell into financial troubles. Foose left the company and started Foose Design later that year along with his wife, Lynne. Foose's company now designs cars for the major vehicle manufacturers.

Working at Boyd's will always have a special place in his heart, if not for the talented people he worked with, but also for how he and his wife were taken care of. And while there have been ups and downs for Foose throughout his career, he has few regrets.

"It's been a roller coaster ride that I wouldn't trade for anything," he says.

Once Foose Design had been established and the accoldades started piling up, Discovery HD Theater approached him to do a television series, several ideas of which he turned down. He knew what he wanted to do and thus Overhaulin' was born. 

"I wanted to go to shops owned by people who couldn't afford to build their dream cars," he says. "So I wanted to build it and give it back to them."

The series initially ran from 2004 to 2008, but was cancelled amid the economic downturn. Overhaulin' was resurrected in 2012 for a new season on Velocity, with the latest season having begun on Oct. 1, 2013. Foose is happy to be back doing a television series he loved doing the first time around.

"Sometimes in life you have a dream that is just a fantasy and sometimes it takes time to make that fantasy a reality," Foose says. "It's an absolute dream to build other people's dream cars."

 

 

Once Foose's presentation concluded he took questions from the audience. Foose was asked what kept him motivated after working in the business for so long and having obtained so many awards, to which he replied his fear of failure drives him and keeps him hungry and motivated. However, tying back to his previous comments, one fan asked him what his biggest failure was throughout his career.

"Missing five years of my son's life while he was growing while I worked on the television series," Foose says. "I worked too much and now I take the time to go home, sit and eat dinner every night with my family."

As for what the future holds for Foose, he continues to operate Foose Design out of Huntington Beach, California, and the latest season of Overhaulin' is already five episodes deep. In addition to his automotive design work, he's also worked on the Disney-Pixar Cars film franchise and hinted at a future project. Despite his professional work, what Foose really wants to do is put together another television series targeting kids that will show children how to draw.

The premise for the series would have children pick any object they can think of and have them try to draw it. From there he'll take them to professional designers to see how they go about drawing the same object, and ultimately how the object is taken from the conceptual stages and is made into reality. His hope is to show kids that if they like to draw, there's no shortage of career paths to take. 

"No matter what it is that you like to draw, there are so many opportunities for careers," he says.

 

 

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