The man is a master with just a pencil and paper.
Quite a few people consider the 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda to be one of the best-looking Mopars ever made, if not one of the best-looking cars period. It’s definitely one of the quintessential American muscle cars from the era. But if you know Chip Foose, the man is a master at taking cars you might think are perfect and making them look even better.
This lesson from the master is all about proportions. Foose says when he’s about to do a build, there’s always something which jumps out as a design element that doesn’t belong on a car. He cites the front overhang on a Ferrari Testarossa as a prime example of a beautiful car with a glaringly gaudy design detail.
There are a few quips Foose has with the ’70 Plymouth ‘Cuda’s overall design. One is the long front overhang. Another is the boxy, boring door handles. He also isn’t a fan of the sharp angle in the daylight openings, or both rear quarter windows. So those three elements are what he wants to change in his sketch.
Watching Chip Foose work is mesmerizing, like an episode of The Joy of Painting. He just effortlessly sketches out the Plymouth, showing how adept he is at remembering all the lines of the classic. Alone, that effort is impressive, but what comes next surpasses that.
The tweaks are surprisingly simple. Moving the front wheel forward about two inches makes the overhang look more proportionate. He also erases the boxy door handle and replaces it with a longer, sleeker handle which is actually from a 1969 Jaguar. It works because the handle is long and thin, just like the car’s body. As for the daylight opening, Foose simply rounds out the top corner, softening things up for a different feel.
What do you think of Chip Foose changing the look of such a classic Plymouth? Should cars just be kept the way they were originally made, or is tweaking them a way to make a good car better?