“Hemisfear” Wild Custom Street Rod
Owners: Don & Elma Voth
Location: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Both Elma and I came into this world 67 yrs ago, with Elma spending her first 15 years in southern Alberta as her Dad pastored small Churches in small communities, before deciding to take on a starter Church 60 mi east of Vancouver in a town called Chilliwack, where I grew up in a high intensity family that was very work oriented. It was all about what you did, and not always who you were. I met Elma on the walks home from high school (she always walked just ahead of me and kept dropping her damn books on the ground) we dated for 3 yrs., got married at age 19. She put me through school to get my business degree. I went into business in 1971, and remain so over these 46 yrs. since. We have 3 children aged 44, 42 and 39, all married with 3 children each from the ages of 8 to 16. All 3 husbands work together in business with me. Our dominant core was high rise construction for many years, completing over 300 bldgs, of which 77 consist of high rises we have built in the Pacific Northwest. We just recently sold the building business, but continue as a bank for financing building development projects, and own and operate a 36 acre greenhouse – growing, packing, distributing and selling sweet bell peppers for the North American produce market.
Cars have been a part of my life since preteen years, and went from looking after family cars to saving my first $2500 to allow me to purchase my first car- a 1965 Chev Impala SS. Dad would only allow me to buy if I had ALL the money in the bank. Anyways, did the norm from engine bldg, to suspension, to paint, to where I traded up even for a 69 Beaumont. We then moved on to a 70 ½ Chev Camaro Z-28 365 HP 4:10’s! to muscle Chevelles and Corvettes until the family became a factor. Anyway, back to the Impala. That was a favorite, and we dated with that car, and in fact travelled to Disneyland on our honeymoon. We had a special place in our heart for that car, and tried to find it in our later married years, but did not. In the meantime as the kids left home, we got back into cars and decided to stick with Chip Foose’s involvement in each of them for retention value as well. We have 9 cars, starting with a ‘32 Boyd Coddington Ford, ‘33 Vicky with twin blowers , a ‘49 GMC candy red pick-up, a ‘37 Hudson Terra Plane 900 HP PU, a’ 69 1000 HP Camaro, ‘67 Cobra with 427 side oiler and 8 Weber Carbs, a ‘62 Corvette Resto Mod under construction, the #1 Hemisfear 392 Hemi, and the 2015 Ridler Winner – 1965 Impala SS combined with a new Corvette with 27,000 hrs in it. It was while we were testing out our HF in Calif with Autoweek, that Elma asked Chip to do the ‘65 Impala. He said sure, but we needed to combine it with a new Corvette, a most formable task!
We set budgets with Chip and schedules for the Impostor, but as we moved through the build we eventually figured it out that combining vintages of 1965 and 2008 , a 43 year spread, was a lot more than a cosmetic marriage, and involved major changes structurally, so engineering became a focus. We believe we brought the 2 cars together seamlessly, and set our sights on winning the Ridler, involving 27,000 hrs of labor. In March of 2015 we did just that! Moving into the type of play with Chip Foose had all started with us working with Chip on the Hemisfear build, and we had a high level of confidence in Chip as well. Chip had agreed with Chrysler to design and build a car with hotrod, muscle, and supercar ingredients, for the 2006 Sema Show. We discussed with Chip to help along with the funding by buying the 001 car based with what had been learned from the prototype that Chip was working on. Long story short- Chip, together with Metal Crafters, got it done and the car was featured at center stage at Sema at Las Vegas that Nov. It is a unique carbon fiber automobile with many engineering and cosmetic features that are still advanced of what is common today. One last comment- the automobile hobby is most unique. What can you enjoy that at age 10 is still most enjoyable at age 67? And the bonus is you can enjoy fellow hobbyists, car guys, always. And the super bonus is my wife joined me in the later years and enjoys it with me.
A couple of added comments – #1- Chip’s money he received from RC 2 Corp was not adequate to complete the car. Enter Don Voth! I think you could say their money “helped ” to, but it was not adequate. #2 – the Front suspension was in many ways similar to F1 suspension, anchored by the twin shocks located behind the radiator. #3 – the carbon fiber body, net of the glass, only weighs 120 lbs., and is 7 times stronger than a typical steel body. The car only weighs about 2200 lbs., and with just under 600 HP, provided by the 392 Hemi, it peels the cornea off your eyeballs! #4 – We chose to clear coat the decks of the car to show the carbon fiber striping and the intricate jointing in herringbone fashion of the mats.
“Hemisfear”…#1 of 5 built
Don and Elma Voth, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
Owned by Don and Elma Voth, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Candada, “Hemisfear” is the culmination of a 16 year personal dream for Chip Foose. In 1990, during his senior year at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Chip and his classmates were presented with a Chrysler-sponsored graduation project. They were to design a vehicle for a niche market. Chip took a bit of a spin on the concept, he didn’t want to design for an existing market, he wanted to create a new one.
With its unique flair, Chip’s 1:5 scale model of the Hemisfear gained significant recognition and was even featured in an issue of HOT ROD magazine. It also became the inspiration for the Plymouth Prowler, as careful study of the two will show many design similarities. OEM’s had now recognized the need to fulfill this “hot-rod” niche market as vehicles like the PT Cruiser, Chevrolet SSR and Chevrolet HHR were made available to consumers.
Chip actually began building a chassis for a real version of the Hemisfear while working for Boyd Coddington, but there was never enough time to complete the project. That all changed in 2005, when Chip signed a die-cast toy deal with RC2 Corp that also included seed money to complete the Hemisfear build. The entire car was first designed on the computer with CAD drawings. The original scale model was digitized and a full size version was computer-milled out of foam. The foam was then used as the buck to form the carbon-fiber body.
A limited edition vehicle program was also introduced and at SEMA 2006, two Hemisfears were unveiled, the preproduction unit in Hemisfear lime green and the first production model in black #1. It was a full 16 years for this vehicle to make it from original concept to working vehicle. In total, 5 Hemisfears were built and produced.
Part supercar, part custom and part hot rod, Hemisfear is perhaps the most renowned Foose vehicle.