Chip Foose’s ’32 Five-Window Shocks the Stereotype
Chip Foose’s ’32 Ford five-window coupe
WWe’re very lucky at STREETRODDER. It’s seldom we get a heckler or a negative comment on our Facebook page, but every once in a while there’ll be that one person forgetting to take their morning happy pill and they unload. They don’t like the large size of the tires, bright color of the paint, or the billet wheel design has offended their sensitivities to the point of publicly expressed outrage. And typically the mad rant is erroneously flawed because they don’t know the backstory.
An excellent example is the future predictive design work of Chip Foose and how his distinctive trendsetting style has the general public perceiving the modern look must be all he likes. And this is where the big surprise that really isn’t a surprise to any real gearhead comes in. Chip is just like the rest of us in our gasoline-fed subculture and likes anything with wheels and doesn’t care how old it is.
Thanks to being a member of Orange County, California’s hot rod building community, STREET RODDER had an inside track and broke the news first in early 2016 that Chip was building a nostalgia-style
’32 Ford five-window coupe. We reported: “For the
2016 SEMA show, Chip Foose is building a ’32 Ford five-window coupe that goes totally against the grain of the forward-looking and extremely clean designs Chip has spent the last 30 years becoming known for.”
Inspired by Dan Webb’s barn find ’32 three-window hot rod in 2016, Chip told STREETRODDER this ’32 will be a surprise to a lot of people who know him for a particular style of car because so much effort is being made to bring it back to its original, pristine, stock form, and then hot-rod it like back in the day. “Imagine what a brand-new ’32 Ford coupe would look like only days after it rolled off the showroom floor and into a state-ofthe-art, old-time speed shop”—and that’s the car Chip is currently building. That was written in 2016, but as we all know sometimes our personal projects have to take a back seat; Chip’s ’32 Ford coupe didn’t make its SEMA debut until 2017.
Chip started with a known car. Interestingly, this particular ’32
Ford coupe has proper claim to a provenance of having a speed shop’s proprietor as one of its former owners. To get the background story we spoke with Kevin Bell, the guy who Chip got the ’32 from. Bell, a former employee of Washburn’s Speed Shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan, said Jay Washburn owned the ’32 Ford before he did and was pretty sure the Deuce had arrived in Michigan from California and then returned to California in 1979. Bell said to learn more facts we’d have to talk with Mike Luyendyk, another Washburn’s Speed Shop employee who knows more about the history of Chip’s ’32.
The first time STREETRODDER saw Chip’s ’32 Ford coupe was 10 years ago while it was stored in Bell’s Santa Ana, California, aerospace machine shop. Short of a ’50s-era repaint, the Deuce presented itself as an absolutely unmolested cherry, but as it turned out the car having spent time as a daily driver in the Rust Belt was hiding some cancerous secrets.
The salt Michigan used to melt winter ice on roads mixed with melting snow stirred a corrosive liquid that found its way into all the nooks and crannies. Since very little was done by Ford to rustproof unseen areas, rust thrived. It was a surprise; none of us suspected how extensive the rust damage would be when the car was completely disassembled for restoration. There was an extensive amount of destruction from rust. STREETRODDER readers can view the damage discovered and the metalwork necessary to repair at https://bit.ly/2v2D60q.
Chip’s friend Robert Marianich did the bodywork complete to final metal finishing at his metal shaping shop in Santa Ana, California. At the beginning of Marianich’s career he worked shaping bodies for the Alexander Brothers, formed the aluminum on Maynard Rupp’s ’66 Ridler-winning ’66 Chevelle, and after producing countless coach-built projects moved onto the Big Three in Detroit as a hands-on designer and industrial engineer.
Chip was adamant the Deuce body was as faithful to original as possible. Marianich explained restoring the ’32 back to exactly as how it left the factory in 1932 wouldn’t have been possible only a few short years ago. It was the advent of United Pacific producing a complete all-steel ’32 Ford body shell that made a stock floor restoration conceivable.
The chassis under Chip’s coupe is the same pair of stamped channel framerails that left the Ford factory attached to the aforementioned body in 1932. Erik Hansson at
Scandinavian Street Rod took the frame from a stocker to the best it could be for a period-correct hot rod.
In front Erik reverse plate boxed the rails holding the plates in place with era-styled steel frame rivets. The Pete and Jakes telescopic shock damped front suspension is a Mor-Drop heavy axle equipped with ’40 Ford spindles and Lincoln drum brakes. The spring is a stock ’32 with reversed eyes. The hot tip for its day, the Hudson steering box, was upgraded with early Ford F-100 internals.
At the rear, Scandinavian Street Rod cut off the stock ’32 crossmember and fabricated a faithful facsimile of a Model T crossmember utilizing a Model T–style rear spring, thus allowing the car to sit lower without banging on the bumps. Mounting a Cyclone quick-change rearend with ’36 Ford rear axles and wishbones added versatility, 3.94 gearing on the low side and 3.62 for the high side. Ditto in the rear for Lincoln drums and Pete and Jakes telescopic shocks. A ’36 Ford torque tube connects the Cyclone rearend to a ’39 Ford three-speed transmission with a ’32 shifter.
In between 25 louver hood sides sits an H&H-built blown French block with Navarro heads. Chip smoothed and painted the block Art Chrisman style and Mike at H&H assembled the engine after H&H did the machinework. Max at H&H rebuilt the Italmeccanica supercharger Chip had been holding onto for a dozen years. Chip stretched the stock ’32 air cleaner 5-1/2 inches to sit atop two Stromberg 97s. It’s a custom exhaust system with special MagnaFlow mufflers. Chip says, “There’s about 150 hours in fabricating the equal-length headers alone.” Cooling comes in the form of a brass and copper Walker radiator, note Walker was founded in 1932.
Although a 21st century creation, the Coker Excelsior radial tires don’t betray the look Chip was after and greatly improve the ’32 coupe’s driveability. The wheels (16x4 in the front, 17x5 in the rear) are Chip’s one-off design specifically for this car.
Looking through glass by Eddie Kotto, the reproduction ’32 Ford interior is a LeBaron Bonney kit custom fitted by 714 Motorsports in Westminster, California. Chip, along with Pete Morrell, wired the car, and Greg Cox at Artistic Silver Plating came through once again with show-quality chrome plating. Sans color sanding straight from the gun describes the dark olive color Chip custom mixed in BASF 22 line paint, starting with pure black and then slowly adding ochre. Painted in-house at Foose Design’s Huntington Beach, California, shop, Chip and Steve Deman shared duties painting the ’32.
It’s the subtle details that distinguish Chip’s take on a classically configured ’32 Ford with his signature touch. Stock diameter ’32 Ford headlights illuminate the road from a headlight bar Chip dropped 3 inches. At the rear Chip designed and fabricated taillight stands to perch
’37 Ford taillights and a custom bracket to suspend the license plate.
For the digital experience: https://bit.ly/2mZFhyt