Five Questions for John Fortuno

John Fortuno with Fatchance 2.0 at the 2012 SEMA Show

One of our favorite things about participating in special events is running into old friends and partners. At this year’s SEMA Show, for example, we were lucky enough to run into John Fortuno, a well-respected car designer and the man behind Fat Chance 2.0, a super-cool customized Chrysler 300C.

If you’re not familiar with John’s work, you can explore it in detail over on the Fatchance 2.0 playlist on YouTube. But before you go, be sure to read this interview John was good enough to grant us recently.

Chrysler Forward Look: You’ve said in the past that you’ve been modifying cars since you were sixteen. How has your passion for redesigning vehicles evolved over time?

John Fortuno: My passion to modify cars is still simple: to create personality, individuality, and style. Every car that I’ve modified over the years is a daily driver, so functionality and drivability are as important as looks. Today I look at trends and what’s happening in the street. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily mean looking at the most modified cars, but in its simplest forms, such as stance, personality, and theme. Clean and simple will always capture my attention and inspire me most.

CFL: Since the 2011 debut of your creation FatChance 2.0, what modifications have you made to the interior, exterior, engine, exhaust, or anything else?

JF: Since the debut of Fatchance 2.0 in March of 2011 there have been a number of changes. FC2.0 started out as a 300C with a 5.7L HEMI® motor. We have swapped the 5.7L for a Mopar® 426 (7.0L) Aluminum Block HEMI with 540HP, added a Mopar 3.91 rear end and Mopar exhaust. The attention to detail in the engine bay includes white powder-coated parts, custom-engraved billet parts, along with every fastener and washer being replaced with chrome.

Fatchance 2.0 rides on an air management system. The system is completely digital, with three presets for adjusting ride height or one that can be set to the ground (seen in most photos). We are currently on our third set of wheels. We have also upgraded the brakes to Brembo GT system with a 6-piston caliper and 15″ drilled rotors. The exterior trim has been replaced three times, with a new finish each time. To complete the exterior appearance, we added a body kit and new grille insert.

The interior has been completely redone with leather-wrapped dash and center console with double stitching. The real wood trim pieces are all hand-stained in a matte black finish. The seats are leather and cloth with three stripes in a basket weave design and have the FC2.0 logo embroidered on the front seats. The door panels have been wrapped in leather and feature real leather basket weave in the center section.

CFL: Where do you begin when it comes to modifying and redesigning a vehicle?

JF: I would say the first thing is to have a concept or theme. It’s very easy to find cars with no theme or concept.

CFL: What advice would you give to others who are inspired by your creation, FatChance 2.0? What would you suggest to them as the first feature to modify?

JF: Generally one of the first modifications is to lower the car. There are a number of ways to do this, but what’s most important is stance. Stance really sets a car’s appearance; even with stock wheels a lowered car with the proper stance will get attention. From there, it’s important to select the right wheels that will complement your theme

CFL: Do you have plans to visit the Motor City with FatChance 2.0 in 2013?

We hope to be back at the Woodward Dream Cruise in 2013 with Fatchance 2.0.

CFL: Great. We hope to see you then, John. Thank you for your time!