Legendary hot rod and custom car designer Chip Foose and former Mattel design director Carson Lev were recently inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame, joining a star-studded inaugural 2009 Class in a ceremony in Las Vegas. Foose and Lev are long-time friends and business associates; Lev is currently Foose Design vice president and chief operating officer.

Foose and Lev joined an illustrious collection of 25 inductees, a class that included hot rod legends Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, George Barris, Jay Leno, and the late Boyd Cottington. Foose, president of Foose Design, is one of the specialty car industry's most accomplished designers, a winner of both American's Most Beautiful Roadster and the Ridler awards.

"It was a great honor to be recognized by the die-cast hobby," Foose said. "To be inducted with such legendary icons of the custom car industry means a lot to me."

Lev echoed similar sentiments: "Wow, I was really honored. Guys like Ed Roth and Larry Wood of Hot Wheels were my idols, and to join such a talented group, well, that's special." In addition to working for Foose, Lev also manages the successful marketing company Redphin, which handles product licensing for Foose, Ivan "Ironman Stewart," 5 Axis Design, Killer Paint, Kenny Youngblood, and others.

Together, Foose and Lev have guided Foose Design into the upper echelon of custom car builders. Many Foose designs have been recreated at die-cast models - and his inspirational work has been the impetus for many die-cast cars. During his tenure at Mattel, Lev guided the cars of many famous hot rodders into die-cast form.

The Diecast Hall of Fame is hosted by www.diecastspace.com. The Class of 2010 will be inducted at a ceremony at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on February 19, 2010.