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Ford Gets Hip and Hot: Funkmaster Flex and Chip Foose Editions at New York

Ford Expands Partners for 2008MY
For those of you uncool enough not to know (like me), Funkmaster Flex‘s artistry goes well beyond being a hip-hop DJ. He has created a career as a car customizer, including custom jobs for Sean Puff Daddy Combs, Shaquille O’Neal, and the Orange County Choppers. His reach goes from radio, to stars, to television (“All Muscles with Funkmaster Flex” appears on ESPN2), to the street (his nine-city “Custom Car and Bike Show” is in its sixth year). FMF prides himself on researching what people want in custom vehicles and being able to bring it to them.



Chip Foose is a legend in the hot-rod world, being the youngest inductee to the Hot Rod Hall of Fame (in 1997, at age 31). Foose has his own TV show as well, “Overahualin'” on TLC, and his list of movie credits includes custom cars for Blade Runner and Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000). Among the customs highlighted on Foose’s web site are Speedbird, a versions of the last Ford Thunderbird; the Foose Stallion, based on the current Mustang; a take on the Cadillac SRX; as well as tricked-out Challenger and traditional hot-rods and even a chopper.

What both Foose and Funkmaster Flex add to their portfolios this year are factory-built special-edition models. Each put their distinct touches on entries from the current Ford lineup, and the models will be available by the end of 2007 (2008 model year). We got the chance to take a look at the vehicles just ahead of their introduction at the 2007 New York Auto Show.
A New Definition of Halo Car
Admittedly, neither of these products fit my image, but I was impressed by both, and by Funkmaster Flex’s presentation. FMF understands today’s urban auto enthusiasts, and is helping Ford act on its realization, as Brian Engle (general manager, Ford Division Marketing) said, that there are no average customers today. There are diverse customers, many want to personalize their vehicles in some way, and they are willing to pay for it. Further, those who are vested enough in their cars to customize them are typically trendsetters, loyalists, and “image advocates.” Partnering with the right people can help any brand reach customers who may skip right by without a hook like this helping to raise the image of the brand in their terms. The idea of an image car or halo product these days does not only apply to limited-run sports cars.

2008 Ford Expedition Funkmaster Flex Edition
Funkmaster Flex tricked out an Expedition for 2008. FMF chose Colorado Red (from the Mustang color palette) and black, with orange pinstriping, for the two-tone exterior paint job. The Colorado Red is carried into the interior in the center console (including a plaque numbering the vehicle), shift knob, and contrast-red stitching and FMF logos in the headrests of the leather seats. According to FMF, step one to customizing a car is a custom paint job, and the paint this 2008 Expedition gives it a tough and lowered look. He says, “The scheme developed shouldn’t be too busy or overloaded with color. You want to make a statement at a stop light with no overkill!” Chrome is used effectively, with chrome FMF side badges and twenty-inch chrome wheels. FMF’s advice on exterior touches: “Make sure to add anything that you like as long as it’s not gaudy,” and he’s given customers an example to follow with his Expedition.


The bodykit, developed with Ford partner 3d Carbon in Newport Beach, California, includes a strong grille, custom front fascia, side skirts, rear fascia, and trailer hitch cover. (3d Carbon also provides Ford body kits for Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ.) This Expedition does with luggage racks, not a problem as it is more about style than family vacations anyway.

The feature-heavy FMF Expedition gets a standard 340-watt Audiophile Sound System, MP3 input jack, power third row, and heated and cooled front seats. The special edition will offer navigation, power liftgate, air suspension, and rear-seat DVD entertainment as options. As for how many Ford will build, that depends on demand. Though this is a special edition, its basic parts are mostly from the Ford corporate bin. Ford can easily adjust volume for demand for both the FMF Expedition and the 2008 F-150 Foose Special Edition.
2008 Ford F-150 Foose Edition
Ford calls the Foose Edition F-150 the “ultimate street tough F-150.” Backing this statement up is a 450HP 5.4L intercooled and supercharged V8 in the F-150 FX2 Sport. While the FMF Expedition is the production version, the Foose Edition concept shows the intent of the fall 2007 production model. Dressing the truck up inside and out are Foose styling elements, for a tough and lowered look (it isn’t really lowered). As Foose said, “How the vehicle sits and how the wheels are proportioned to the body is the first essence to give it the illusion of something lower than it is.” So he gave his F-150 twenty-two-inch wheels, larger flares on the wheel wells, and custom rocker panels.

The Foose exterior includes, of course, a unique paint job. Unlike the two-tone FMF Expedition, the Foose F-150 carries racing stripes that start wide at the leading edge of the hood, but thin out and wrap around the truck, widening again in the tailgate. Foose also swapped out the F-150 FX2 Sport’s dark billet and bumper opening with a new grille with horizontal bars and surrounded it with lower rocker moldings. Inside, the Foose is even more subtle than the FMF Expedition, with black leather seats, headrests embroidered with Foose’s signature, and a leather-wrapped center console sporting the personalized build sequence badge. Along with giving this model the supercharged and intercooled V8, the front and rear suspensions take Eibach springs (coil in front, leaf in rear), Sachs dampers, and jounce bumpers.

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