April 14, 2007 In another of the lifestyle branding partnerships that are becoming so common, Ford has announced the release of its F150 pickup as styled by Chip Foose, star of TV's "Overhaulin" and custom vehicle builder for "Gone in 60 Seconds".
The Ford truck team sat down with hot rod celebrity Chip Foose last year at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) convention in Las Vegas – the heart of the red-hot $34 billion auto aftermarket industry – and issued a daunting challenge:
“We asked Chip Foose to design a tough, muscular street rod based on the Ford F-150 FX2 Sport pickup that will knock the socks off even the most hard-core boulevard cruiser fan,” says Ben Poore, Ford Truck group marketing manager. “And let’s make it available in less than a year before the 2007 SEMA show.”
Right there and then, the seven-time winner of “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award” grabbed a No. 2 pencil and sketched out a conceptual offshoot of the popular pick-up with design elements that visually lower the truck.
It started with big 22-inch original wheels that fill the wheel wells with larger flares, causing the pickup to look lower. Foose also designed and fabricated a custom rocker panel that enhances the lowered look even though the truck was only slightly lowered.
“How the vehicle sits and how the wheels are proportioned to the body is the first essence to give it the illusion of something lower than it is,” says Foose. Wide, bold racing stripes further accentuate the planted stance.
Foose also has replaced the Ford F-150 FX2 Sport’s dark billet grille and bumper opening with a new grille design with horizontal bars that makes the frame look shorter. Then, he has surrounded the design with lower rocker moldings that seemingly further drop the pickup. Chip Foose’s primary personal ride is a souped-up 2005 Ford F-150 Lariat, so he was no stranger to the body shape.
Foose touches are carried into the interior, with Chip Foose signature headrests and floor mats. A unique, leather-wrapped center console features a Foose-designed serialization plate with vehicle identification number (VIN) and build-sequence numbers mounted on the ashtray door.
To match its muscular look, the Ford F-150 Foose Edition is the fastest and most powerful half-ton truck on the market. The intercooled, supercharged Triton® V-8 pumps out 450 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 500 pounds-foot of torque at 4,000 rpm.
Ford F-150 leads huge customization industry
The Ford F-150 was named the “most accessory friendly pick-up” by SEMA, a trade group that keeps tabs on the aftermarket – an industry that has grown eight to 10 percent a year in the past 10 years. According to SEMA, F150 owners spend an average of nearly $1,700 each to customize it – more than double the rate in 2004 and more than any other competitive truck.
“The Ford F-150 lends itself to accenting because it’s so recognizable as America’s favorite pickup. It’s already widely accepted because it comes in the most varieties and customers spend more on it than any other truck to personalize it even further,” says Foose. “And it’s clean, too. That’s why I drive an F-150 – it’s great looking, powerful and yet very minimalist in its design.”
Ford’s overall customization business grew 50 percent in 2006, far outpacing all other automakers, and is expected to double by 2008. This growth has been driven by full factory-customized vehicles – such as the Harley-Davidson™ and FX2 Sport F-150 model – versus individual parts sales.
“This is really a fashion industry,” says SEMA’s Peter MacGillivray. “Consumers want to put their personal stamps on everything they buy – from personalized rings to build-a-teddy-bear – and everybody knows that ‘you are what you drive.’ The Foose Edition is a fantastic collaboration between Chip Foose and Ford."
The 2008 Ford F-150 Foose Edition will begin life as an FX2 Sport model from the Kansas City Assembly Plant. The unique Foose elements will be customized at a modification center before being shipped to Ford dealers. The truck will go on sale by early 2008.
Powertrain: 5.4-liter Triton V-8, intercooled and supercharged - Iron block, aluminum cylinder heads - 450 hp @ 5,200 rpm, 500 lbs.-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm - Four-speed automatic transmission
Chassis - Wheelbase: 138.5 in. - Length: 224.0 in. - Height: 70.5 / 73.5 - Track (f/r): 67.0 / 67.0 in.
Suspension modifications - Front tuning: Eibach coil springs, Sachs dampers, jounce bumper - Rear tuning: Eibach leaf springs, Sachs dampers, jounce bumper - Wheels/tires: 22-inch forged, polished Foose wheels and P275/45R22 Pirelli tires
Exterior modifications - Ford Racing exhaust system - Foose designed and fabricated wheel flares, lower side and front rocker moldings - Unique front fender badges - Foose-designed stripe package - Foose-designed upper and lower grilles