Car Guys and Charity in the Twin Cities

Barry Meguiar and Chip Foose – Photo by Craig McNitt/McNitt Photography

To raise some money for your charity, you have to bring out your best.

This is true everywhere. Including the automotive world. And, it could be anywhere.

In the Twin Cities, 3M has a standing relationship with the United Way. The company has given well over a hundred million dollars to the charity over the years – one of the deepest philanthropic relationships in the Minnesota business community.

Through the 3M Auto division, another charitable opportunity was created to bridge the automotive community with the United Way. On a mixed-weather Saturday, 3M Auto set up an event at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen called “Car Guys for United Way.”

Car Guys? Which car guys?

The answer was simple. Through 3M's corporate ties, they brought in Barry Meguiar, founder of the namesake automotive finishing products company and automotive designer and builder Chip Foose.

There is certainly a clear connection was made with 3M's portfolio of automotive products, including Meguiar's own offerings. 3M Auto has also been involved with other automotive endeavors that happen to close to V&R's radar, such as developing the wraps and decaling for the Crown Rally.

While Meguiar was a natural choice for this event – a very recognizable person in the automotive business. The main draw had to be Foose. He was very personable, and loved to talking to everyone at the event.

As a focal point, I was curious about how Foose approaches his work that we have become familiar with for years. I figured I would ask some questions of Foose. Here are these questions and Foose's responses…

VICTORY & RESEDA: Knowing where you came from and how your designs and builds have captured the eyes of enthusiasts and others worldwide, where are you at currently in terms of the brand, the business and yourself these days?  

CHIP FOOSE: For the Brand, we are strive to stay in touch with our fans, sponsors and clients.  Much of the brand awareness comes from them.  We also strive to continually move our brand forward, looking for projects that stretch our boundaries and capabilities, and still maintain relevance in an ever changing world.  For the Foose Design Business, we are busy with some very cool client projects; the Mach Foose, Jaguar E Type Roadster that is being elegantly reshaped and will have an all new drive train, and two 1932 Fords; one roadster for my wife and a 5 window coupe for me, (pictures attached). For me personally, I am always busy, always in motion.  My kids are getting older, and are busy with their interests.  My wife continues to play an integral part of the business, handing legal and administrative duties.
V&R: I have seen your work and find a high level of creativity that is unmatched. Where do you find inspiration for your designs and builds? 

FOOSE: I find inspiration almost everywhere.  In the pattern of fine china I see wheel designs, in architecture, fashion  and industrial equipment I find elements and details that give me inspiration.  I try to keep an open eye, even when I am deep into my work. The details are very important in my designs.  Inspiration also comes from the design process: always refining, organizing and always simplifying.
V&R: There is a lot of correlation between creative people – writers, artists, musicians, architects, even car designers. Do you see yourself among the creative people as a car designer/builder? If so, how do you approach your creativity and the process of building these automotive works of art? 

FOOSE: I see myself as a Designer first, with a concentration on vehicle design.  I‘ve  been fortunate to have done a lot of industrial design in my career; everything from sunglasses, shoes, apparel, watches, audio equipment, bikes, even architecture. I have done some collaborations, but most of my work starts with my design theme and collaboration takes place with specific fabricators or technical manufacturing.  The process is collaborative with all of the necessary resources, but it starts with a concept or vision.  I am thrilled that I get to work with the talented staff at my shop and many talented people in this industry.
V&R: Is there a tie-in with 3M seen on your designs and builds?  

FOOSE: 3M is known for innovation and creativity in all their products.  I like to think that is also something that defines Foose Design. I have been using 3M products since I was a kid in my dad’s shop.  Their products allow me to express my creativity at the highest level.  Every build I have every completed has used 3M products somewhere, they have been a part of my professional life since day one.

All told, the event raised $40,000 for the United Way. Among the auction items, the two hand-drawn color sketches Foose made for the event.

Will this be a repeat event for next year? According to the spokesman from 3M Auto, this could turn into an annual event. No details on what that will be in 2018. Consider this a start towards creating a deeper level within the Twin Cities car enthusiast community.

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