SEMA Show: Foose’s ’57 Chevy
The latest project to roll out of the Foose Design shop is a stunning Chevy convertible built for Michael Malone of Pasadena, California. It was decided early in the build that is was not going to be an over-the-top custom. Instead, they decided that a simple, yet highly detailed “restomod” was the style they wanted. Chip always has new ideas bouncing around in his head. He was anxious to try them out on an iconic convertible that owners usually don’t modify. A 1957 Chevrolet has such a classic shape that it doesn’t really need drastic changes to make it more appealing. Modifying one of these cars and not changing it’s identity is much more difficult than it appears.
THE RIGHT FOUNDATION
All good projects start with a good foundation, and a Roadster Shop is as good as it gets. The fully boxed rails and stout center crossmember add the structural strength that a convertible needs. A-arms with drastically improved suspension geometry make up the front suspension. A Ford 9-inch rear axle with a 4-link handles things out back. Coil-over shocks on all four corners soften the bumps and set the ride height.
Large diameter sway bars on the front and rear make a huge difference when the road gets twisty. Baer got the nod for the brakes, with 14″ rotors and 6-piston calipers on all four corners.
The car is powered by a stout LS-3. The accessories are neatly packaged in a custom serpentine belt system. In a throwback to the past, early Corvette 7-fin valve covers are used with custom adapters. The engine is backed by a 4L80E transmission. The entire chassis is an impressive combination of strength, reliability, and excellent performance in all departments.
SHRINKING THE CURVE
Here’s where you have to be careful. Earlier, we talked about the iconic shape of a 1957 Chevrolet. It’s a stunning design, but there was always one element that drove Chip nuts. He has always been bothered by the convex shape of the doors and fenders and the fact that they aren’t straight from end to end. Look down the side of any stock ’57 Chevy and you’ll see what he means. The fender, doors, and quarter panels each bow out and dive back in at their intersection points. Chip spent many long hours with a torch and a quench rag to shrink the curve out of each panel. After he got them straight, they were primed and blocked to perfection. The final effect is dramatic, especially when compared to stock.
Chip always places a huge emphasis on the color of a vehicle and how it looks in different light. This car was no exception. The long hours spent on getting the sides of the car flattened out required the right color choice. He spent a lot of time on his paint bench mixing up various shades of Turquoise until he finally found one that he liked. This custom mix of BASF/Glasurit paint was named “Tropical Turquoise Pearl.” Seeing the car just out of the paint booth confirmed it. The color looked just as good as the name sounds!
When it came to the interior stitching, Alfredo from Al’s Garage in Santa Ana, California got the nod. He definitely didn’t let the group down. The interior of the ’57 is absolutely gorgeous, and given it’s own style away from the original design.
THE WHEEL DEAL
Rounding out the amazing car is a set of Foose one-off custom wheels based off the ’57 Bel Air side trim. Wrapping the wheels is a set of 235/40 18″ front and 285/40 18″ rear Pirelli P-Zero tires. It’s the details that bring the theme together and make the entire car a standout in the most subtle of ways.