Son of legendary drag racer, builder and tuner Pat Foster, Cole spent his youth always close to his father that he idolized, hanging around, observing and learning how to fabricate motorsports stuff, always keeping an open mind to everything, from race cars to hot rods to motorcycles. Owner of Salinas Boyz Customs, Cole Foster is in business since close to 20 years, building rolling pieces of art on 2, 3 and 4 wheels without paying too much attention to what has been done by others and published in magazines. Simply because what has been done has been done. He will tell you that maturing in the business, his inspiration for new creations can be found from “outside” sources, like nature, architecture, interior design, appliances, furnitures, colors, textures, etc.
Far from pretending that he is the best at all skills required to build from the ground up or to restore any cars and motorcycles (personal note: nobody is), Cole prides himself on the fact that he has a very good eye to know what is right or wrong. I completely agree with him when he states that “There are plenty of great metal workers and mechanics in the world building ugly shit.” Having a good eye is what took him where he is today. For all other skills we all learn everyday, improve and when we love what we do we always find a solution to make it happen. So, every day in his shop of Salinas, CA, as a perfectionist, either working on a full car or sweet Panhead rebuild, Cole Foster torture not only metal but himself (“I have an idea in my mind and it’s killing me…”) until his creation is “way good”, an expression that his father used to mean “way bitchin”…
Cole Foster loves to ride motorcycles and also the fact that instead of spending a couple of years and much more on a car, he can build them pretty fast, 6 months or less for a bad ass creation. His first iconic motorcycle build, simply known as “The Blue Bike”, was created after he convinced Custom Chrome to let him do a project to illustrate the company catalog and to be displayed as a showcase of their parts during the yearly vendors and bike show circuit tour. With a taste for vintage, deep roots in car racing and having a liking for showing each machine mechanical details, Cole’s vision went opposite to what was done at the time by other motorcycle builders, often quite big, heavy and long choppers. Instead, he went for a smaller, ligther and agile look, showing on purpose all intricate parts of the motorcycle. At its first appearance the “Blue Bike” got Cole patted on the back by all the custom motorcycle industry and he admits himself that “coming out of the box pretty hard”, he knew it would be pretty hard to top it.
Reason why Cole immediately decided not to duplicate this “Blue Bike”, but instead work very different bike styles based on different platforms (can’t reveal what’s coming next.) His most well known recent creation is the acclaimed Super 70’s Flashback Chopper he completed in 2010 for CCI 40th Anniversary Celebration. As down to earth and talented custom builder he is, Cole still needs and has since 2006, a trusted partner in his wife Susan, a former producer of automotive TV programming, who is now in charge of his business, merchandising and promotion. Wile traveling in California I met with Cole Foster and grilled him with my questions. Salinas Boyz Customs (photography: Mark Kawakami, Jerry Southworth, Michael Lichter, Archives)
Cyril. In High School, what your teachers said about you? Cole. Apply yourself!
Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes? Cole. Dad, Roger Decoster, Gene Romero, Kenny Roberts.
Cyril. What was your 1st vehicle? Cole. First vehicle with an engine (6 years old) Dad brought home a race go-kart Hodaka 90 Engine.
Cyril. If you were not working in the motorcycle industry, what would you do? Cole. I already do something else, Hot Rods. But i guess i could still wait tables.
Cyril. Best and worst qualities? Cole. Best: honest, God Eye, finishing what I start. Worst: time management, say the “F” word too much.
Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax? Cole. Kickin’ it in my hot tub.
Cyril. What is the last music you downloaded in your iPod? Cole. No ipod or cell phone. I am so low tech…
Cyril. Which film made you cry? Cole. Dumbo, Bambi, Homeward bound.
Cyril. Right now, what do you drive and ride? Cole. Chevy Truck, 49/52 Panheads, 54 Chevy Custom. Also building a 72 BMW 3.0 cs for myself.
Cyril. Do you have any tattoos or piercing? Cole. Never did, I think I am the only one left. Maybe I’ll get a tramp stamp?
Cyril. Name five things you hate. Cole. Hurting myself at work, Authority. Dead flashlights. Monday’s. Modern jazz. Egomaniacs.
Cyril. Preferred actor and actress? Cole. Rico Fodrey , Jeff Decker. 🙂 🙂
Cyril. Do you practice/watch any sport? Cole. Did a lot of catching and releasing.
Cyril. What is your best life achievement? Cole. Getting to do what I want to do most of the time. Already have done more than I dreamed I would! Getting Dads approval.
Cyril. What do you miss most at home when you are on the road? Cole. My Hot Wife!
Cyril. Where is your favorite vacation place? Cole. Hawaii, Mexico, Italy.
Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Cole. I have a lot. Way too guilty to go public…
Cyril. Do you collect anything? Cole. I’m not into collecting one thing, but when I die it will be an estate sale not a garage sale.
Cyril. What was your worst buy? Cole. California Real Estate
Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Cole. I’m not embarrassed of any project I’ve done that’s finished , but I’ve thrown a lot of parts in the can getting there.
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Cole. I’m not bad on the BBQ
Cyril. When was the time you were really angry? Cole. I try to live my life so I don’t get to that point. Used to fight at the drop of a hat…
Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Cole. Chasing my wife Susie around the house. Working on my own stuff!
Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Cole. Chianti Hills Rally in Italy (what a party!) Gasoline Independence rally in Jeselo (Venice) Italy, Mooneyes Show in Yokohama, Japan