In the Autoblog Garage: RIDEMAKERZ Ford Super Chief

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The common mantra for most people that have made the unfortunate transition to adulthood goes something like this: "Wish I would have had that when I was a kid." We feel your pain, probably more than most, and especially when it comes to the four-wheeled delights that most adolescents have at their disposal. So when we heard about Chip Foose's newest endeavor (seriously, has that guy invented a 32-hour day?), our initial reaction was "Cool!" followed by a series of mutterings reminiscent of one our elderly uncles.

Thankfully, we've been provided with a way to relive our misspent youth in the from of the RIDEMAKERZ Ford Super Chief (Base MSRP $28.00), jacked-up to all get-out and completely pimped with hood scoop, utility chest, and flashing lights.

So how else could we review this newest line of toys? Naturally, we're putting it through our own series of tests that any media whip would get, so follow the jump for the complete review.

The packaging in which the RIDEMAKERZ Super Chief comes portends good things to come, with its toolbox shape and diamond-cut print commanding respect. Once we pulled it out, it took us a few minutes to understand that it lacked any form of motivation (electric or internal combustion), which could make trips to the store a bit of a chore. The super-sized tires are made of hard plastic and the totally non-compliant suspension will do little to soak up the bumps -- whether on road or off (we don't even want to mention the chassis extension's clearance issues).

The body, although made from plastic, is up for a beating of the highest order, making a shallow knocking noise when we rapped our knuckles against the side. We doubt that even the most McDonalds-enhanced child could do much damage to any part of the Super Chief's core structure. The auxiliary equipment is another matter altogether.

The key to the RIDEMAKERZ customizability is the installation of magnets underneath the body panels, which allows budding Foosifiers to add components like light bars, engines, neon-like lighting, spoilers, wings, exhausts, nitrous tanks, even audio cards that play music or engine noises. The possibilities are utterly and overwhelmingly endless, and we're back to that mantra we mentioned earlier. Our only concern with these parts, particularly the magnetic ones, is that it's simply a matter of time before these components are lost to the black hole underneath the couch, or, with some of the more flimsy mountings, broken and rendered useless. Case-in-point: our tester was equipped with a winch that was supposed to be mounted under the front bumper of the 'Chief. When we pulled it out of the box, one of the clips was broken off and left attached to the truck, while the winch lay at the bottom of the container. Bummer. But aside from that, we were whole-heartedly impressed with the design and build quality.

Looking over the RIDEMAKERZ website, the overwhelming desire to revert back to childhood came on full-force. The extent to which kids can modify their ride is impressive, leaving virtually no stone... err part, untunable. Our initial concerns about forward motivation were also squelched when we saw that for between $20-24 you could purchase a rechargeable R/C battery pack, although the details (and photos) were scarce. Additionally, parents can be in on the action with the RIDEMAKERZ "Throw a Bash" program, with which you'll be provided with all the materials necessary to host a RIDEMAKERZ-themed party where the youngens can choose from a variety of vehicles and components, customizing to their heart's content, all from the comfort of home.

Overall, it's impressive stuff and we have little doubt that this trend will catch on quick with the younger set, maybe even spawning a series of knock-off chains to compete with the company. If you've got a future Autoblogger crawling around the house, a trip to your local RIDEMAKERZ is a necessity, and we guarantee that you'll enjoy it just as much, if not more.

All Photos ©2007 Damon Lavrinc / Weblogs, Inc.

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