Remember when everyone was going crazy for lottery tickets a few months ago when the jackpot was over a half-billion dollars? People young and old were discussing what they’d buy with all that money, and hot rodders were no different. After all, they reasoned, a few million dollars could easily go a long way to finishing a couple of the cars stored under the tarp out in the back 40. And it’s an interesting question: What cars would be in your garage when you could conceivably buy any car you wanted?
It’s a question contemplated by Chris Andrews, of Fort Worth, Texas, as he is the curator to a private car collection that would rival any other in the country and contains some of the finest and some of the rarest automobiles in the world. And at 39 years old, Chris is not considered old when it comes to being a hot rod enthusiast, but he probably has his dad, Paul, to blame for that.
Austin Speed Shop created...
Austin Speed Shop created the instant-old interior for Chris’ coupe, using distressed leather and varnished tweed material (like found on vintage Fender guitar amplifiers). The Pierce Arrow gauge panel, which holds six Stewart-Warner gauges, utilizes a red tortoise shell–type panel, which is the same material Fender Musical Instruments uses for their guitar pick guards. Topped with a Juliano’s steering wheel, a Tri-C Engineering adjustable mount and steering column was color-matched to the car’s exterior.
When Paul was in high school he owned a ’56 Chevy coupe, and has always held a fondness for the car. He passed his passion for cars onto his son and, while Chris was still in high school, the pair started on the restoration of a ’56. Soon Chris would have his own car to build and work on: a ’32 Ford pickup. A few years back he started another roadster pickup and got as far as ordering a chassis from SO-CAL for it but, as fate would have it, he came across Bobby Walden at the Walden Speed Shop booth at the Grand National Roadster Show in 2009.
Walden had one of his modified ’32 three-windows on display and Chris was enamored with it. Walden’s coupes start life as unassembled Deuce three-windows from Brookville Roadsters, but as Walden’s assembles them they chop them 4 inches, lay the windshield posts back and, along with some other subtle tricks, effectively make them their own. Chris hit it off with Walden (they’re both from Texas) and he soon ordered a body from Walden’s and had it shipped to his home shop where the work would begin.
Chris had also made inquiries with Steve Moal about one of his ’32 T-Bar chassis—the one with torsion bar suspension, front and rear, though still retaining a traditional appearance with an I-beam axle and hairpins. The performance-minded Moal also included four-corner disc brakes and a Currie 9-inch rear with the base chassis, but Chris also ordered up a 525 steering box along with a triple hanging pedal design from Wilwood. With the basic parts coming together, the car then went to Austin Speed Shop where Bobby “Bleed” Merkt oversaw some of the initial fabrication and construction, which included some of the interior pieces.
But when you’re managing a collection, it means you’re working on several things at once, and Chris was also working with Chip Foose on a redo of a ’90s-era Eldo Rod, which the Andrews family now owns. While at Foose’s shop, Chris spotted a cast-aluminum Indy Speedster radiator (originally designed by Jackie Howerton) that was made by Be Cool and wanted it, too, for his new ride. Chris and Foose worked out a trade for the part, but Chris also wanted his help in reshaping the hood and grille area so it would show the radiator off in its best light, so Foose flew to Fort Worth to work on the car.