All the pros bring their most amazing work to the SEMA show each year. Plenty of Young Guns also debut builds there trying to get the attention of all the big industry players. Even among all these custom and performance builds, the MarCel Roadster stood out.
Chip Foose sketched the initial design, inspired by vintage sports cars from the early 1960s. The sculptor who formed it is second generation panel beater Luc De Ley of MarCel's Custom Metal.
The clean lines of the body are organic in a way that modern computer aided design isn't. The body is hammered, literally, out of raw aluminum without an ounce of body filler anywhere. Nothing about the car looks cobbled together though, even though the frame, chassis, and body were all scratch built, not modified from an existing car.
MarCel's Custom Metal is a shop now nearly 50 years old, founded by Marcel De Ley, who learned panel beating as a boy in Europe. He had scratch built the body of at least one original custom sports car before emigrating to the USA. This car was seen by an American soldier in the late 1950s and in exchange for the promise of his own custom body, the soldier sponsored the immigration of the whole De Ley family and helped get Marcel a job in a body shop.
Working in California, Marcel quickly gained a reputation for being able to form custom replacement body panels for the most exotic of classic and sports cars. Over the years Marcel taught his sons everything he knew about shaping metal. Their talents have been utilized by some of the great custom hot rod builders: Brizio, Coddington, Kugel, and of course, Chip Foose. Though Marcel passed away in 2018, Luc De Ley and Foose continue to work together, and with inspiration from a scale model of a Ferrari GTO, the MarCel Roadster was born.
Under the beautiful flowing body work, a custom frame has independent suspension at all four corners. Under the hood is a modern GM V8, with eight individual injection stacks, feeding a six speed manual transmission. In back, a Winter's Quick Change differential with inboard Wilwood brakes sends power from the driveshaft to the 16" vintage-look wheels. The front uses Corvette spindles with custom A-arms, and Wilwood brakes, likely our Superlite calipers with 13.06" rotors (P/N 140-8921)