A Closer Look at Chip Foose’s Impostor, the 2015 Ridler Award Winner

headlamp and bumper detailHere’s our detailed look at the 2015 Ridler Award winner, the Impostor—a ’65 Impala owned by Don and Elma Voth and constructed by Foose Design

 

 

Nobody knows better than Chip Foose how to create a Ridler Award winner. The car designer and TV personality has now accomplished the feat four times. His latest build, the Impostor, is essentially the mashup of a 1965 Chevrolet Impala and a 2009 Corvette. That is, the car’s outer skin is ’65 Impala Sport Coupe, but the chassis, driveline, and running gear are C6 Corvette. (When the project began more than five years ago, a brand new 2009 Corvette was purchased and dismantled just for this purpose.) To merge these two packages of radically different dimensions, the Corvette portion was stretched nearly eight inches, while the Impala body was shortened 14 inches.

 

left side

In other words, the six-passenger, full-size hardtop has now lost its rear seat, and the overall package dimensions are closer to those of a two-seat sports car. Naturally, the Impala sheet metal had to be carefully cut apart and rejoined in multiple locations in order to maintain proper proportions. The roof is now eight inches shorter and 1.25 inches lower, but the bulk of the reworking took place in the rear quarters. This work was so extensive that the Foose team brought in a stock production ’65 Impala for the Impostor’s display at Cobo Center to illustrate just how they did it. In the photo below, the black areas indicate areas where metal was removed and rejoined.

 

cutting diagram

The interior also includes plenty of ’09 Corvette content, with the complete dash, steering column, wiring harness, and electrical system adapted to the Impala’s cabin space. Meanwhile, the production C6 powertrain with six-speed automatic transmission and 430 hp LS3 V8 has been upgraded with a Magnuson supercharger.  Exhaust ducts in the front fenders (“waste gates” in Foose’s sketchpad vernacular) serve as visual signifiers of the C6 Corvette hardware under the skin.

From there, the Impostor abounds in all the small but perfect details Foose is noted for in his designs, which he uses to tie a car together into a single unifying theme. Bumpers, grille, lamps, trim, wheels—all have been reimagined and fabricated from scratch to serve his vision. With every inch of the car given the full Foose treatment, the Impostor is a treat to the eye at five feet or 50 feet.  There’s more to see in the gallery below.

 

right rear wheel
deck hinge
left rear wheel
left front fender and wheel
trunk
headlamp and bumper detail
left front overhead
left side
right front
right front fender and wheel
dash and interior
engine and blower
Corvette door handle detail
rear suspension
front end
deck lid and taillamps
interior
right door
schematic
taillamp and quarter detail
left front

right rear wheel

deck hinge

left rear wheel

left front fender and wheel

trunk

headlamp and bumper detail

left front overhead

left side

right front

right front fender and wheel

dash and interior

engine and blower

Corvette door handle detail

rear suspension

front end

deck lid and taillamps

interior

right door

schematic

taillamp and quarter detail

left front

14 thoughts on “A Closer Look at Chip Foose’s Impostor, the 2015 Ridler Award Winner

  1. Love his work over the years, but I still can’t get into the baby carriage wheels.

  2. Agreed. The only thing I don’t like is the wheels. They would have been much better painted, using the colors chosen for the body. the original hubcaps have a handsome look, maybe use them as the inspiration

  3. It’s great to see Foose’s true genius at work when he has the time and budget to fully apply his talents. His TV show is better than most but the slap-dash timing of those builds puts severe restrictions on what he can do. I’ve looked at these photos several times and I find a neat detail I missed each time. There’s no doubt in my mind that the judges made the right choice.

  4. Why do they have to ruin these gems with such ugly rims and tires. That would definitely deter me from buying one.

  5. Remember that these cars are built for the customer, not necessarily to Chips own ideas. It is hard to be all things to all people.

  6. Love everything about this car (yes, including the rims and tires). Of course, I’m more impressed with his skills with pulling off this mash-up and still making it look amazing. Great work Chip.

  7. I’m a car builder and I think I’ve had some good ideas now and then. But when I see the invention of this and other cars Chip has done. It makes me feel like humble pie.

  8. Very impressed with the 65 most car guys look over them but I am building one and some of the ideals that was used i have implanted those into mines.But of all the work I am not Mr.Foose thanks for putting the 65 impala out for the public to take notice of.(O.P

  9. ~ I’d like to see other views of the production car and Impostor comparison.
    Superlative design and workmanship.

  10. For as much heart Foose puts into it, the ( left as a ) Corvette dash / interior leaves a lot to be desired. He dropped the ball there. Just not right and customized like the rest of the car.

Comments are closed.