Kevin Woods wanted two things in his latest car purchase-lots of muscle and the legendary styling of the 1969 Camaro. That's why he chose the Foose '69 as his Bow Tie dream car.
"When I saw the Foose Camaro, it was everything I wanted in one package," explained Woods. "It had the look and the engine choices that I wanted."
Everybody has heard of Chip Foose. He's a red-hot custom car designer and the creative "grandmaster" on the popular cable TV show Overhaulin'. Tune in and you'll see him build dream cars from dreams you didn't even know you had. Old and new, classic to custom, Chip can transform the mediocre into something magnificent.
In 2005, Chip Foose teamed up with Unique Performance (which was building Shelby continuation cars like the GT500E) to create limited edition musclecars. The team's first project, based on the 1969 Camaro, was coined the Foose '69, and was introduced at the Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. The process of designing, building and unveiling the car was documented by the TV program Rides for TLC.
"While most people are drawn to the flash of billet inserts on a custom hood or the Foose design wheels, not everyone can spot the subtle nuances that transform this classic musclecar into a Foose," said Douglas Hasty, president and CEO of Unique Performance. "For example, Chip worked his magic on the front valance of the Foose '69, the smoothed body color bumpers and stylish Jaguar-esque exterior door handles. He also freshened the style of the popular RS grille and headlamp doors. These subtle changes give the car a smooth, muscular look that mystifies the untrained eye, but tells you that this car is something special."
Kevin is a die-hard car guy too. Years of helping his father drag race fueled an automotive addiction. Kevin decided to build his own hot rod, a Fox-body Mustang with a 302 stroked out to 347 cubic inches. But, as family came along, so did family friendly cars. While Kevin wheeled through life in his Audi S4 (soon to be supercharged) and his Mazda 3, he felt something missing. He longed for the feel of an American musclecar. However, at this point in his career as a network engineer, Kevin didn't have the time to devote to building a '69 the way he dreamed.
"I've always wanted a Camaro," Kevin said while waiting for delivery of his dream ride in Farmers Branch, Texas, where Unique Performance builds the Foose Camaro. "I thought about getting an old Camaro for a long time, either as a project to build, or one already restored."
When choosing a color for his dream car, Kevin wanted something that was clean but emphasized the lines of his custom Camaro. Many Foose '69 owners opt for the stylish Foose Design orange and gray paint, but that combo was a little too flashy for Kevin's taste. He believes that when you're building an American musclecar of this caliber it's hard to beat the classic look of black and silver. The body was sprayed ebony black with the engine dressed in black and silver. Foose Design 18-inch wheels and a splash of exterior chrome to finish out the car's timeless look.
Kevin fell in love with the '69 Foose from the beginning, but had some important choices to make. Midstream in the build process, Kevin made a choice that changed the course of this build. According to Kevin: "At first, I was going to get the LS2 motor, but I decided to get the big-block instead. It will be one of only 75 big-block Foose Camaros that will be built."
The Hogan fuel-injected 572 Rat motor built by GM Performance Parts touts a whopping 620 hp and an astounding 650 lb-ft of torque. One can imagine the capabilities of such a machine. All that torque is fed through a Tremec TKO 600 5-speed transmission and 3.25 gears in a Currie-built, 31-spline Ford 9-inch Truetrac-equipped differential.
After his first road test Kevin put it simply: "You have to be careful at low rpm not to lose control of the vehicle. A burnout is way too easy to do."
Of course, there's a lot more to a Foose '69 than tons of horsepower and big cubic inches. To put the power to the pavement, Unique Performance bolts its fully adjustable coilover suspension to the rear. The front end handles the curves through a Chris Alston Chassisworks subframe and coilover suspension, complete with rack-and-pinion steering to keep that all that power going in the right direction. Baer disc brakes, front and rear, supply ample stopping power for the whoa! after the go.
"Each Foose '69 receives its own serial-numbered build plate mounted under the hood to document its exclusive heritage," noted Unique Performance Vice President Brent Fenimore. "Each car comes with a complete specification sheet listing the build options. When you own a car this rare, lineage is everything."
Kevin says he didn't buy his Foose '69 Camaro for the collectability or its exclusivity. He didn't buy it so he could resell it someday and make a tidy profit. "That would be nice, and you never know what the future holds. I bought the car because I just love the way it looks and the fact it has late model characteristics, such as power windows, a DVD player and air conditioning. Yet, it still has the big-block under the hood."