Home Design Tips Custom Cars That Chip Foose and Danny Koker Got Horribly Wrong
Design Tips

Custom Cars That Chip Foose and Danny Koker Got Horribly Wrong

Cameron Eittreim November 8, 2023

Photo Credit: Foose

MarCel Roadster

There’s no denying that Foose was a child of the hot rod era. He loves hot rods and roadsters and most of his designs are inspired by them. The problem is that a lot of these cars look like nothing more than real-life Hot Wheels. The first and most obvious thing about this car was the two-tone paint job that included a brown convertible top. The paint was beautiful but it wasn’t enough to sell the public the rest of the car. Foose went over the top with the curves and the shape of the car (via Autoweek).

Photo Credit: Foose

Obviously, the first and most notable thing with a retro-mod should be the styling. The Merkel Roadster was more over-the-top than the average classic hot rod and it took away from the styling of the car. If anything, this car was more suited as a concept car or a life-sized toy than an actual classic. There’s no denying that Foose had a lot of fun with this one, but for many, it was too much fun.

Photo Credit: Chip Foose

Impression

The Impression was a car that Foose designed to leave an impression, and that it did. The sleek hot rod design was in line with just about every other design that Foose ever built. The Impression didn’t leave the mark on the automotive world that Foose had hoped for. The design just wasn’t the best that Foose has done, it was bland and a mere shadow of his other designs. You’ll notice that a lot of Foose designs in recent years have stayed to the same formula and there isn’t much surprise (via Chip Foose).

Photo Credit: Chip Foose

While it is cool to have a modern hot rod, it’s not exactly anything to write home about. Foose has a reputation for being one of the best designers in the world and this car wasn’t his best work. Needless to say, the Impression didn’t leave a good one. This is one car that the world could have done without. There are just a lot of better-looking modern hot rod designs out there.

Photo Credit: SEMA

P-32

Foose loves to fabricate vehicles from scratch, which is why he built the P-32. The problem was that the P-32 wasn’t the exciting hot rod that people were used to seeing from him. If anything, it was a bit bland and harsh to look at, but nevertheless, he went forward with the design. There is no denying the battleship influence in every part of this car. The stainless steel-looking body and the classic wheels almost resemble a go-kart more than anything else. As a result, it definitely wasn’t one of Foose’s best creations (via Chip Foose).

Photo Credit: SEMA

The P-32 didn’t generate the type of buzz that Foose had hoped for. It just wasn’t the type of car that enthusiasts were used to seeing Foose design. Nevertheless, the P-32 did have a number of unique elements, they just weren’t enough to make the car have the same type of reputation as the rest of the Foose creations have had.

Photo Credit: Chip Foose

Custom 1948 Cadillac “Eldorod”

Another sort of unique one in the history of Foose designs, the Eldorado was a rendition of the classic Cadillac models from the past. The Eldorod was a decent attempt at building a retro-inspired Eldorado, but it just didn’t resonate with the audience as Foose had hoped for. The styling was more extreme than anything that Foose built prior (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Chip Foose

Sure, there were some cool attributes to the Eldorod, but it wasn’t what the famed designer hoped for. The coolest-looking thing about the car was the slick blue paint job and the white wall tires. The rest of the car was a bit too over the top for what it was. There were definitely better cars that Foose has built over the past couple of decades.

Photo Credit: SEMA

Custom 1967 Dodge Charger

One thing that people know Chip Foose for is his love for Mopars, and one Mopar in particular is the Dodge Charger. When Foose was growing up, the Charger was one of the most popular cars in the muscle car world. So naturally, when he became a nationally televised automotive designer he wanted to do something special to it. Unfortunately, he butchered what was one of the most iconic cars in the muscle car world. A bunch of weird mods threw off the original styling of the car (via Hagerty).

Photo Credit: Barrett Jackson

Needless to say, this Charger wasn’t one of Chip Foose’s best creations by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, it was a car that fell flat on all cylinders literally. The front end was bland and the rims were not at all what traditional Mopar enthusiasts were looking for. The car was a mere shadow of what you’d expect a legendary Mopar muscle car to be.

Photo Credit: SEMA

Custom 1970 Plymouth Barracuda “Terracuda”

Foose loves to design and build custom Mopar models and the Terracuda was evidence of that. But once again he missed the boat when it came to the design and there was much left to be desired. The main thing about the car that stood out was the root beer brown paint job. It had brown and gold lettering all over it and bold-looking wheels. The problem was that the design was too extreme for what the Barracuda was, but that was what Foose was going for with the design (via Mens Gear).

Photo Credit: SEMA

The Terracuda had a lot of things that made it unique but it just wasn’t the best of Foose’s work. He’d built other custom rides that really resonated better with the community. The overall design of the Terracuda had a lot of unique attributes to it, but it seemed Foose got a little too excited with his sketchbook. Nevertheless, the Terracuda was not the notable Foose concept that the famed designer hoped for.

Photo Credit: My Hot Cars

Speedbird

When Ford brought the Thunderbird back to the market in 2003 there was a lot of hoopla around it. The car already had a notable look to it which made the design quite unique. But Foose took things a bit further and did a sketched design that changed up the basic look of the car. Obviously, the sleek look was still there but now the car had a notable sleekness to it (via Chip Foose).

Photo Credit: My Hot Cars

The problem was that he chopped the car so low that it didn’t look like anything original. The cheap rims only took away from the overall look of the car and that didn’t help things either. The silver paint was bland, to say the least, and the interior was pretty much left alone. Overall, the Speedbird wasn’t the car Foose hoped it would be.

Photo Credit: Chip Foose

Grandmaster

The Chip Foose Grandmaster, in spite of its high price tag and designer pedigree, leaves much to be desired when it comes to styling. The vehicle’s design appears to be an overblown exercise in excess, with an overabundance of unnecessary curves, angles, and embellishments that detract from its overall aesthetic appeal. It’s a prime example of style over substance, as the excessive detailing and ornamentation overshadow any sense of cohesiveness in the design, making it look gaudy and ostentatious (via Chip Foose).

Photo Credit: Chip Foose

Moreover, the Chip Foose Grandmaster’s design choices seem to prioritize form over function, resulting in a vehicle that is impractical and uncomfortable to drive. Its cramped interior and visibility issues due to the overly-styled bodywork make it a less-than-ideal choice for practical transportation.

Photo Credit: Chip Foose

Stallion

When Foose showcased the Stallion at various car shows on the circuit, it received a lukewarm reception to say the least. Despite the hype and anticipation surrounding a creation bearing Foose’s name, the Stallion failed to generate the enthusiasm and admiration one would expect. Many attendees and automotive enthusiasts found themselves underwhelmed by the design and features of the vehicle (via Chip Foose).

Photo Credit: Chip Foose

Critics and visitors expressed their disappointment with the Stallion’s design, describing it as an attempt to merge classic and contemporary elements that didn’t quite hit the mark. Some pointed out that the styling lacked a cohesive vision and came across as a mishmash of conflicting ideas.

Photo Credit: Foose

32 5 Window

The Chip Foose 32 5-Window falls short in the aesthetics department. Its design has been widely criticized for missing the mark, with many describing it as simply ugly. Foose’s modifications have been seen as excessive and have detracted from the classic, timeless appeal of the original 1932 Ford Model B (via Chip Foose).

Photo Credit: Foose

It’s a case of overdesigning that results in an unattractive and overstyled appearance, failing to capture the essence of the original classic car. There were much better designs that came from Foose.

Photo Credit: Mecum

Danny Koker – 1956 Chevy Stepside

Koker’s 1956 Chevy Stepside, with its bold black paint job adorned with red flames and rather bland metal-looking rims, has often been criticized for its over-the-top design. The combination of the black paint and the fiery red flames can be seen as a jarring clash of styles (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Mecum

Ultimately, Koker’s ambitious design choices might be appreciated by some, but for many traditionalists and classic truck enthusiasts, it’s a case of overdesign that diminishes the original charm of the 1956 Chevy Stepside.

Photo Credit: Treaper Performance

Danny Koker – 1966 Mustang GT350

Koker’s 1966 Mustang GT350 has raised some eyebrows due to its unconventional body modifications and questionable choice of black and gray rims. The custom body effects added to this classic muscle car have often been seen as odd and discordant, straying from the original design’s sleek look (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Treaper Performance

In addition to the peculiar body effects, the decision to equip the vehicle with black and gray rims has been met with criticism. These rims, while potentially intended to lend a modern touch, appear drab and lack the finesse associated with such a legendary car.

Photo Credit: Mecum

Danny Koker – 1973 Buick Riviera

The 1973 Buick Riviera restored in the Count’s Kustoms garage stands out as one of the most notorious projects, but not necessarily for the right reasons. The paint job on this car goes far beyond extravagant, bordering on garish. Despite the car’s elaborate appearance, the longer you gaze at it, the more flaws and outlandish details you notice (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Mecum

From the roof to the tires and wheels, the excessive efforts to achieve perfection have resulted in a car that appears more like an overindulgent art project than a well-executed car restoration.

Photo Credit: Counts Customs

Danny Koker – 1974 Roadrunner

Despite its lightweight design and supposed power, the 1974 Roadrunner has never managed to shake off its reputation as an unattractive and uninspiring vehicle. Over the years, this car has failed to maintain the sought-after status it once enjoyed. As a budget-friendly muscle car, the Roadrunner may have attracted some loyal followers (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Counts Customs

Koker’s attempts to put a signature touch on this project at the Count’s Kustoms shop haven’t managed to salvage the Roadrunner’s unfortunate distinction as an ugly and unimpressive vehicle.

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