He's one of the most well-known car designers in the USA and has created big winners for his customers, including eight Grand National Roadster Show winners and three Ridler winners. Now he is building a war bird-looking hot rod for himself.
It all started a couple of years ago when Chip got an old stock '32 chassis from his dad, Sam, who had updated a '32 coupe for a customer with a complete new chassis. Chip had a little plan to build a '32 for himself, but the chassis was nearly too nice to cut up. After talking to Erik Hansson at nearby Scandinavian Street Rods, the problem was solved because Erik wanted the stock chassis, and to get it he would build a new old-looking chassis for Chip.
Erik has also been putting Brookville bodies together as a big part of his business, and Chip ordered a roadster body for his project. But both the frame and the body were going to have some modifications, even before Chip got the package. Chip wanted the doors extended a couple of inches, plus the top of the dash rounded like a '36 Ford, with the rounded part extended all the way out on the doors.
Erik started the frame by combining a set of new American Stamping framerails with original '32 Ford crossmembers (middle and rear). With the framerails in the jig, Erik set the crossmembers in place by bolting everything in to begin with. An extra-long Lincoln V-12 flathead and transmission was going to be used so the framerails had to be extended a total of 6 inches. But Erik and Chip did not want the "extended-frame look" with a very long hood, so Erik suggested extending the frame 4 inches and moving the center crossmember back 2 inches. That way they would still get the space they needed for the engine/transmission, but the look of the frame would be more original.
The front crossmember is a stock '32 that was modified a bit before it was bolted in. For the rearend, Chip wanted to use a '36 Ford unit with a Halibrand quick-change, which needed a little more space than the stock rearend. Erik modified the rear crossmember for the quick-change and dropped it down as much as possible to keep the floor flat in the trunk.
The new body was put together with all Brookville parts, but Chip also wanted some modifications done at the same time. The biggest one was to extend the doors 2 inches and move the rear doorjamb the same 2 inches. The next step was to make the rounded top over the dash going all the way out on the top of the doors. Even early on, Chip tried his '39 Lincoln dash in the '32, which helped Erik to do the bodywork around it. The car was also going to have a DuVall-style, Foose-designed windshield, which meant the bead for the original flat windshield would have to go. It's more work than most people realize to get that bead out and get the cowl smoothed. With the basic frame and body done, Erik delivered it to Foose Design.
As soon as the frame and body was placed on the Foose chassis table, Chip realized he wanted to drop the chassis and raise the engine. Dave at Foose Design started by cutting up and raising the center crossmember 3 inches and making the engine brackets for the big V-12. With the engine package higher in the chassis, Dave and Chip cut the frame right in front of the front crossmember and moved the front axle in front of the crossmember by hanging the spring in the wishbones. This way they dropped the front suspension 3 to 4 inches. To do the same in the rear, the frame was cut and given a higher kick-up. When the frame job was done, Dave got the suspension back in place and the body was dropped on to check everything out on wheels. Chip came up with new ideas every time he spent time with the car.
The plan for Chip and his crew was to get the car together in bare metal so it could be shown in the basement at the Detroit Autorama. With only a few hours to spare, the goal was met and the P-32 wowed the crowds as much as any of the finished cars upstairs.