Jeff Foster: Berger Chevrolet's 4th-gen Camaro Paint and Body Tech

Updated: Sep 13

The historic dealership cranked out the coolest Camaros in the early 2000s and this body tech ran point on their paint.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Berger Chevrolet partnered with performance shop, GMMG, to build and sell some of the most radical Camaros customers could purchase right off a showroom floor. Besides upgrades to the powertrain, many featured custom, heritage-inspired paint transformations.


Helping to oversee many of these types of bespoke efforts taking place at the dealership's Grand Rapids, Michigan, location was paint and body tech, Jeff Foster. He was on staff for many of the early collabs with GMMG, including the three years of the Berger SS Camaro and the Hot Rod Edition and ZL1 Super Camaros programs. He was employed with Berger Chevrolet from September of 1996 through April 2003.

Jeff Foster has decades of experience with custom automotive paint and bodywork.

Transformation Process

After being built at the factory, Camaros slated for these color changes would head first to the dealership. They'd be unloaded and rolled into Berger's collision shop where Jeff would set to work.


In addition to completing the color transformations, he'd also paint the rear panel black. This was a hallmark of Berger's GMMG-built Camaros and a subtle nod to big-block equipped Camaros of the late 1960s. Jeff's timeline was usually a week per vehicle before they were ready to be on the move again.

Camaro ZL1 Supercar #14 awaits custom paint in Berger's snowy parking lot.
2002 Berger SS #93 in Berger's paint booth receiving custom paint. It was painted Corvette Electron Blue.

Going to GMMG

With the paintwork finished, the cars were then transported to Marietta, Georgia. There at the GMMG facility, they'd receive their individual package contents. This included the powertrain upgrades, the interior additions and any kind of final exterior graphics and badging.


With all the right elements in place, they'd then return north to Michigan and Berger Chevrolet where eager customers would take delivery of their new custom muscle machines.

Completed 2001 Hot Rod Edition Camaros return to Berger Chevrolet.
Completed Berger SS Camaros turn heads at an early All GM Show.

Back at Berger: Onsite Interview

While Berger's batch of 4th-generation Camaros have scattered all across the country, many return to the historic site each summer for the dealership's annual All GM car show. This year was no different with many being parked on display.


In addition to the vehicles, key figures connected to this sensational period in Chevy history also turn up. This year, that included Jeff Foster. I sat down with the veteran paint tech to hear firsthand what it was like to craft and create this motoring menagerie of rolling bowtie legends.


Jeff shared with me inside info and stories like the popularity of the heritage-inspired Daytona Yellow, the allure of painted SS stripes and his color transformation of Berger Supercar Dick Harrell Edition #30.


Watch our conversation below.


 

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