Hobby insiders have been read-ing Spinnin & Grinnin with Christopher Titus in the pages of Goodguys Gazette for many yearsso its gratifying to see one of our own succeed on television. When Tim Allens show Home Improvement closed production in the late 90s, viewers that werent already Fox Network regulars quickly shifted their attention to Titus, another situation comedy that includes hot rods and customs as part of the shows script.
It was especially intriguing to those of us who noticed the unusual automotive props on the setsome of which looked very much like real development sketches and scale models of advanced hot rod and custom concepts. The reason the props look authentic is because they aretheyre created by talented SoCal designer Chip Foose, who has opened his own Huntington Beach design office.
We spotted the chassis on these pages under construction at Foose Design and couldnt resist asking the typical who, what, and why questions. It seems the project started with Titus wanting to freshen up the interior of his 56 Chevy convertible. After several conversations with Chip and Sam Foose (their fertile imaginations fanning the flames), Chris enthusiasm was soon running full-throttle for a very trick 56 ragtop. Shortly thereafter, talent was lined up to make the radical ragtop a reality.
At this point in the project, the custom-designed chassis is well under way at Foose Design and the body is also in-progress at Fooses Fords in Solvang, California. Sharp observers might notice that the custom chassis found under Real Mad and NewMad from Steves Auto Restoration in Portland, Oregon, are quite similar to this onebecause Darryl Schroeder was involved with the design and construction of those two vehicles as well. Darryl hints that a production chassis is being planned in the future for any tri-year Chevy enthusiasts who might want one.
The details for a production chassis will likely vary in minor ways to make them more universal. For example, the production chassis will not be designed for a 2-inch body channel. Nor will the centersection be produced with original rails. The rear portion of the frame-rails will be designed to return to the same width as the centersection of the rails to allow for the mounting of a gas tank between the rails. This will allow the stock body to bolt to the chassis without cutting the bottom of the firewall or the inner panels that form the rear seat braces.
This exciting contemporary custom will very likely see some airtime (if it hasnt already by the time youre reading this) and will keep viewers on the edge of their living-room seats waiting for the next installment. It might even provoke a few viewers to want a similar custom for their very own. If everything works as planned, Foose Design will soon offer a comparable chassis to the owners of tri-year Chevys.