Growing up in the shadow of custom culture greatness might be a burden, but Cole Foster shows no resentment of famous father Pat, whose showcars and drag-racing career made him a hero of Hot Rod magazine. While Cole idolized his dad, when he started customizing his own cars and bikes, he had to teach himself how to manipulate sheetmetal, weld, and build engines, as he spent limited time in Dad’s shop, and laments nowadays that he’s not as good as he’d like to be at any of these skills, but is confident his ‘eye’ is his best tool. Armed with this, in only a decade Foster has created a legend of his own, building the cleanest customs anywhere.
Dad provided an excellent standard, and it didn’t take long after Cole started messing about with his first ’56 Chevy coupe for his breeding to shine. By 2001, his ’56 Chevy F100 pickup won the Chip Foose award for excellence at the Grand National Roadster Show. That same year, he turned his attention to a big V-twin motorcycle for Custom Chrome, and the ‘Blue Bike’ raised the bar for a simple and elegant custom, on which every line seems perfectly placed. A speedway racer with thyroid issues, the bike is solidly Trad, but the skill of execution and blade-tight lines prove that the best of the old school is still a very appealing package.
Ten years later, ‘Blue’ still looks fresh and inspires a legion of copycats.Press frenzy over the Blue Bike launched Foster’s two-wheel business, part of his Salinas Boyz Customs, and subsequent machines have all been consistently clean, interesting, and perfect. Especially his ‘Moon Rocket’ of 2007, a drag bike with an alloy café racer fairing, a mix just odd enough to be spectacular, a peace-maker for two very different camps, and a clear statement that Cole Foster has earned his own place in the Custom pantheon.
This article originally appeared in Motorcycle News' 'Retro' supplement of Sept. 2011
copyright 2011 Paul d'Orléans/The Vintagent