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Chip Foose-Designed Luc De Lay-Built Roadster was the Best Car at SEMA

foose de lay roadster from sema
Foose-Designed De Lay-Built SEMA Roadster Rules! NewspressUSA

Hiding in a far corner of the North Hall at the SEMA show was what may turn out to be the coolest car of the year: the Chip Foose-designed, Luc De Lay-built MarCel Roadster.

“It’s just my rendition of a late-‘50s Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin, Scarab, whatever you like,” said renowned metal shaper Luc De Lay. “I wanted to show off the metal shape.”

De Lay is the son of Marcel De Lay, founder of Marcel’s Custom Metal now in Norco, California. Marcel was famous among hot rodders and custom car kings for his work. He could take any drawing, any shape, any idea, and make it into a vision of rolling art. All those cool cars you’ve admired over the last several decades—think of Rick Dore’s customs for Metallica frontman James Hetfield—were hammered and wheeled into shape at Marcel’s. The founding father passed away in 2018 at the age of 89, but he had been teaching his sons, Luc and Marc, all the tricks of the trade.

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“I wish I knew what he forgot,” Luc De Ley told Hemmings after his father passed away four years ago. “I feel I have metal shaping skills, but he was an artist. He had a vision in his head and he would build it.”

foose de lay roadster from sema
The MarCel Roadster is all hand-formed.NewspressUSA

Luc has those skills, too, as you can see here. There’s no other way to make something like this.

“I start with nothing,” Luc told SENtertainment Digital Media at the SEMA show, where this beautiful MarCel Roadster was revealed. “I take a sheet of metal off the rack and I make everything. This was built exactly like it would have been built in 1930.”

And in 1930 there was no CAD, no CAM, no computer-aided anything.

“I have three main tools: I have an English wheel, I have a hammer, and I got a couple of tree stumps. And those tree stumps, I use them every day. There is no technology in what I do.”

How does he get the shape right? Symmetrical?