Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
The T-bucket is one of the most enduring and endearing styles in all of hot rodding. Generally acknowledged to be the creation of Norm Grabowski in the 1950s, T-buckets are the essence of the hot rod: big engine, big tires, and a minimalist body to keep weight to a bare minimum. The idea has always been that the T-bucket was built from scavenged parts, but many of them, such as this 1923 Model T roadster, just look too well-finished to be junkyard dogs.
The shape is archetypal T-bucket, with the tall, vertical windshield, a wide wrap-around seat, and stubby pickup-style truck bed out back. Nobody's really sure how that came to be, since Ford pickups never looked like this, but today it's the accepted style of the T-bucket and it just looks right. Despite its retro look, this one was built not long ago (the first hit on a Vehicle History Report was in 2008, and the 3,278 miles on the odometer could very likely be 'since built') and carries a bunch of upgrades that they could only dream of in the 1950s. It's a fiberglass body, which is what you want instead of 100-year-old, cut-up steel, and what's unique about this particular body is that there's actually a door on the passenger's side, whereas most of T-bucket's are essentially bathtubs on wheels that you have to jump into. And if you're as ungraceful as me, you'll welcome that easy entry through the door with open arms (nobody wants to see me hoping over anything, I assure you). That 'paint job' isn't actually a paint job, but rather a super-cool wrap that was laid down by professionals from Tiger Wrapz, and you really can't beat those killer flame graphics by hand. The attention-grabbing finish a nice change from either the primer black paint that has recently come back into fashion, or the excessively metallic hues that characterized T-buckets of the '60s and '70s. There's a bunch of cool old-school tricks that look great, including details like the King Bee-style headlights and radiator ornament up front, chrome windshield bracings, the retro side-mirror, blue-dot taillights, and those sparkling open headers that suggest there's some serious blasting powder in that small block Chevy motor. They left traditional Model T radiator shell all black (a nice touch that pays homage to the all-black Model T's of old), the exposed front suspension is neatly detailed with both paint and chrome, and the classic big-and-little wheel-and-tire setup is quintessential T-bucket goodness.
In their back-to-basics style, many T-buckets had bare interiors with nothing more than a blanket for upholstery and if you were lucky, maybe an oil pressure gauge. Not so here, where there's beautiful snakeskin-style maroon vinyl upholstery and matching carpets lining the inside of the tub, and a full array of white-faced AutoMeter gauges keeping an eye on the small block up front. Stitched up like a wrap-around sofa, the seat is very nicely done, and that custom-tailored carpet set includes some cool horizontal patterns that look cool and help with noise and heat. The side panels were wrapped in matching snakeskin, the passenger's door was covered in black carpeting, and aftermarket speakers mounted in the kick panels and under the seat are powered by a Sony Xplod AM/FM/CD/AUX head unit. There's a traditional spoon-style accelerator pedal, upright steering column with Grant GT steering wheel and aftermarket Moon RPM tachometer in tow, and a tall, 8-ball topped shifter jutting out from the floor that manages the 3-speed automatic transmission below.
The engine is a 350 cubic inch Chevy V8 with a date code from the early-'70s, and it's topped with a an Edelbrock aluminum intake, a matching Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor and an HEI ignition. Chrome dress up includes the big air scoop up top and bright chrome valve covers at the flanks, and the ceramic-coated headers are designed to get attention; you can hear this one fire up from the other side of the planet! It's happy to run all day on pump gas, and stays cool thanks to that thick radiator stuffed inside the frame. The transmission is a quick-shifting TH350 3-speed automatic feeding a wrapped rear end with adjustable coilovers and a 4-link keeping it in line. Up front, a transverse leaf spring supports a traditional tube axle with front disc brakes. And in our opinion, the only rolling stock you can put on a T-bucket are skinnies up front and massive meats out back; in the case of this car, they're 5/15s in front and gigantic L78/15 BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whitewall bias-plys wrapped around shiny 15-inch Baby Moon wheels.
T-buckets are as popular today as they ever were, and their combination of outrageous looks and potent performance makes them a real party to drive. Anywhere you go in a T-bucket you'll make friends, and the nostalgia alone is worth the price of admission. Call today!
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