The Foose Bus

One of the Custom Car world's brightest stars at the moment is a fellow by the name of Chip Foose.
Do a little online search on Chip and you will see that he is one popular guy!
With a list of award winning customs and incredible designs, Foose has built an impressive name for himself.
And checking out the cars that he has is no wonder why.
He is innovative, he is fresh, and he has an eye for style and the blending of old and new that is really amazing.

A few years back, Foose took on a new challenge...straying away from the normal American Made Iron
that he is known to handle. He took on the VW Bus...and this is the outcome.
For one of the final episodes of the TV show "Overhaulin", Chip assembled a crew of VW's finest
and set out to re-do a Bus owned by one of So Cal's VW scenes key figures...everybody's buddy...Hot Dog Fred.
Fred has long been known for feeding the masses at the VW events with his grill skills and his "truck"
was a very ragged 65 21 Window Microbus that was primered in spots and deteriorating as each year passed.
One year while attending an event in Northern California, Fred's Bus was stolen and then recovered in LA
some time later...the poor Bus had been through a lot and Fred would probably never have the funds to
restore it into the dream machine... until Foose came along!

Foose sat down at his drawing board and went to town.
One of the key signatures of his designs is to re-think much of the original design and
just tweak it a bit...bringing it into the modern day.
And I will show you some of these details as we move forward...he has done some truly innovative things
that I have never seen done before...but will be repeated in the years to come.

The overall look is classic and modern at the same time.
The Bus retains some vintage appeal and yet, the deeper you look into it...the more you realize that this is no stocker!

The nose is smoother and cleaner than original... the most controversial change
was the exchange of a Volkswagen script emblem for the original big VW logo.
The purists screamed "NO", but the build was not to satisfy the restorers, but to take a new approach.

The relocation of the turn signals is another design choice, that while simple to do...greatly changes the look of the front of the Bus.

The re-shaping of the bumpers is one of my favorite subtle changes that really looks cool.

Another really slick modification is the re-shaping of the bottom of the door to match the wheel arch.
This is so clean and smooth...Ive never seen anyone do it before and I think it is fantastic!

The side view mirror is another one off item with a smooth soft curve to the arm.
Note the grey pinstriping under the color division.

Here's a different angle of the wheel arch re-shape...awesome.
The wheels themselves are another one off custom detail that utilize a taller and fatter
wheel rim with a smaller bolt pattern, yet the stock style hubcaps have been modified to fit.
The low profile tires and the polished trim rings round it all out.

Many changes are obvious at first glance, like the re-location of the aluminum body trim,
while others such as the additional skylight window on the roof, the extra pop-out window
and the change to the smaller earlier taillights appear to you as you stare deeper.

The use of a Beetle Wolfsburg crest hood emblem to cap off the end of the body trim is very cool
and at the back having the trim end at the taillight is also very smooth.

The big modern wheels and tires that retain the classic look and feel are very sweet.

A few custom touches were added to make it uniquely "Fred's" such as the lettering on the back window. of the biggest names in the industry!
Hot Rodders and Collectors around the world covet his cars like fine jewelry.
To own a Foose car, is a very unique opportunity. To own the one and only Volkswagen
ever designed and built by him is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Now back to the details...

The rear bumper is really cool, with the cut down center section that allowed the bumper to be raised higher
and closer to the body, and the exhaust cut outs.

Not only was the bumper re-shaped. the engine lid was as well to match the shape...
Brilliant small detail...awesome!

The side skirts give the appearance of a lower body while also covering the less than stylish
jack points and raw pinched edge on the stock body.

The raising of the rear bumper and the side skirts make the bottom of the car level
from front to back rather than broken up in the stock design.

Bodyowrk and paint on the Bus is excellent by the way and the fit and finish is very good.

Window frames are chrome plated which add a little more flash.

Here is another very subtle , yet very cool design change...a very slight pak along the center of the roof in front.
The first Busses, the "Barndoors" had this, but it was lost in the mid 50's... so subtle you probably
wouldnt notice it while walking around the car...but once you see looks like it should be there.

Here is another super subtle but really slick change.
Normally the drip rail drips downward for the drain as if someone tweaked it down with a pair of pliars.
and in the front it dumps out right on to the windshield.
Foose smoothed out the drip rail edge and fashioned a hole within the bottom edge
to allow the water to drain...AND he put it in a spot where it runs down the factory seam between the door and the nose.

Look along the roof edge in this photo and you can see how smooth it is...
Also check out the big factory sunroof of course, but look at the skylight windows...
there are five of them down the side instead of four...and each is lined up with the window below it.
It just looks like it should be that way.

The additional I suppose it is now a "23 Window" not a 21 as stock!

Chrome pop out windows were installed in all positions, even the farthest back which is normally stationary.

Safari front windows of course...gotta let that breeze flow in!

This modification is really subtle and is another of my favorites...can you spot it?
The mounting tab for the headlight is gone!
Now mounted in place from behind, the trim ring was smoothed out
and rechromed and the tab is gone!
Such a simple, yet super clean change!!!
Why did I not think of that?  AWESOME!

Side windows are also chromed...all new window rubber and felts and such of course.

The interior was done so it has a very stock appearance, but again, subtle changes and modern additions
were put into play.

Stock restored steering wheel...note the two tone paint on the dash.

Very vintage...the stock clock and a flower vase...

OK...check this out!
No radio hole!!
An extra section of vents was fabbed in to make the dash grilles un-interupted across the dash.

Gene Berg shifter.


At a glance you wouldnt notice the dash just looks like it is supposed to be that way!

Here is the re-shaping of the dog leg to match the smooth...LOVE IT!

Modern audio head unit was mounted under the driver's seat...very low key.
Carpets are all the nice square weave stuff by the way...

Seat stands and divider wall have been carpeted too...seats done in the stock mesh grey vinyl.

Interior retains that totally stock feel...yet everywhere you look you see one of the subtle custom touches...
like those extra skylights in the back... it looks like it was always that way!

Fresh air box...

The view in through the back.

Molded ever so smoothly into the back seat are these amazing Arc Audio amplifiers for the audio system!

Under the back seat are the powerhouse speakers...oh sure you see the little round ones, but in a full molded
enclosure underneath are huge subwoofers that will rattle your fillings out if you crank up the volume.

Seat upholstery is excellent.

Center seat retains the stock kick panel.

Divider wall panels are all stock.
The carpets have a few spots on them from use by the way, but this will be cleaned
up prior to delivery to a new home.

Interior panels are all stock and proper.

Back outside...
I know the purists are cringing...but that wasnt the point of the build another stock one.
Anybody can do that...and Foose does not follow "the rules" when it comes to that... he makes his own way through.

Side view...


Again...check out the reshaping of the engine lid and the bumper and how they line up... slick.

The engine room is very clean as well, and gone is the stock 1200cc unit that was in the Bus originally!

Mild performance engine with dual carbs boost the Bus into modern day driveablitity as does the suspension
and transmission upgrades. Gone are the gear reduction boxes and drum brakes
and in goes modern bits that make it a fantastic freeway driver.

Polished aluminum alternator and billet pulley.

Modern distributor with pointless MSD ignition.

Crank pulley and timing mark bit are very cool!

MSD Ignition

Optima gel cell battery.

Full custom exhaust by Tiger at A-1

Underbelly of the beast is very clean.

Solid underneath.

Wagenswest front beam.
Disc brakes with drilled rotors.

The Bus was featured in many many magazines around the world.

Cover Star!

The first concept sketch and a photo of the Bus "before".

The whole build was filmed and eventually seen on TV.

Foose fitting the  turn signals.

Detail of the brakes and suspension.

Engine on the stand...

Some of the crew.

Detail of the custom hubcaps.

Contruction of the bumpers.

In the end we have a masterpiece!
Some may love it, some may not...but everywhere the Bus goes, the crowd gathers and the conversations start.
It is an impressive bit of work and the more you look, the more you see.
This is a once in a lifetime chance to own the one and only Foose Bus.

If you have the means and the desire...give us a call!


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