Our T Bucket was purchased in October 2010. The fulfillment of a long-time dream for Jim.
"From as long as I can remember, I was into cars. I bought my first car at 14, a 1941 Ford two-door sedan.with money saved from my paper route and my neighborhood bicycle repair shop. It cost $75 bucks and my Dad bought the first $2.00 of gas (at $0.025 a gallon) and let me drive it around Swope Park in Kansas City Missouri. That was the first AND last time I drove it on the streets. I spent two years rebuilding it and drove up and down the alley gobs of times. We moved to Omaha and since I was two weeks short of my 16th birthday, Dad wouldn't let me take it to our new home. (I titled it over to my best friend for zip.)
After recovering from the loss and getting a job in a local gas station, I bought a 1940 Ford Coupe. Rebuilt the flathead engine - it was fast (for a flat-head). Long story short and 10 years later, a number of other cars where bought, built and driven including:
1934 Ford 3-window - Flathead engine replaced with a 283 Chevy - Rumble seat for the kids
1949 Ford two-door - 3/4 cam Flathead
1932 chopped and channeled Ford Competition Street Rod - 283 full bored Chevy
Gas dragsters - Big Chrysler Hemi
1951 Henry J Street Rod - Corvette engine and two-speed electric rear-end.
A growing family required giving up on Hot Rods, but the love has lingered for 50 years. The one car I always wanted to build was a 'T Bucket" Basically, it is a street rod built around a Model T Ford. The original ones were indeed built around the Model T. Henry Ford introduced the " T" in 1908 and at $850, it quickly became the best-selling car in the world. Using mass production (started in 1913) the priced was reduced to $290 by 1925, A total of over 18 million were sold.. The last T's were made in 1927 and replaced by the Model A in 1928.
Because of the hugh numbers manufactured, there were a lot of T's in the junk yards and speed-crazed teenagers started building "jalopies," which, when after adding hopped up motors, begot the title Hot Rods!!
My T was built in Kansas. Over a lunch with son Tim, I relayed that I still had one un-fulfiled dream, and that was to own a T Bucket. A week later, Tim called and said "Pops, I think I found you a T." The last several years I have been thinking that I would buy one in the spring, drive it over the summer, sell it in the fall - just to fullfill the dream. Well, the timing was a bit off (bought in the fall) but the dream is fullfiled!!!
So Here is the Fullfillment of a Dream
For you auto aficionados, a more detailed parts recap follows the photos. For the rest here are the basics:
Fiberglass 1923 Roadster body
Sets on a custom frame
A Chevy 350 Engine with lots of chrome
4 wheel disk brakes with17" wide rear tires
Purple metallic fleck paint
Original 1927 Model T Ford windshield with kerosine lamps (with the wicks!!)
Maita at the Wheel
From the Front
The Chevy Engine
New Shocks, Expansion Tank & Ah-ooo-Ga Horn
Rear view with New Chest
Jim Built the Chest
Kerosene Lamp - See the Wick?
New Step for Maita (NO Doors!)
Are we Having FUN yet??
Jim's 27 T Bucket Details
Engine - Chevy 350 with Edelbrock 4 barrel and Bird Catcher scoop
Fiber glass body in a 1923 Roadster style
Disk Brakes - Front and Rear
Frame - 4" Rectangular Tube
Fuel Tank - Aluminum - 10 Gallon - Electric fuel pump
Head Lights - Wagner with brows
Instruments - Equss and Sun Tach
Radiator - Griffin Aluminum
Rear End - Chevy S10
Suspension - Front = leaf spring - Rear=leaf spring with coil over shocks
Steering - Vega with GT Grant wheel
Tires - Mickey Thompson Sportsman - Rear=33x21.5x17" Front- Steel belted
Transmission - GM Turbo 350 - Shifter= B&M Megashifter
Windshield - Original 1927 T with Gas lamps - Still has working wicks
Width=7'3" x Length=11'
Weight- Maybe 1500-1600 pounds
Fast? - Take a ride with me and then we'll talk about.
Over the winter 10' to 11', I have had the "T" out quite a few times. Like - anytime there is sun and the temp is above 55 or 60.
It has been an interesting experience. For years, I have worked with my trains and a lot of wood. Now I'm back to mechanics and metal.
I'll tell ya, the metal splinters are a lot worst than wood while the knuckle scrapes are about the same.
Done lot of spit and polish, cleaned this and that - tighten here and there.
Added the Ah-ooo-ga horn which is fun for scaring little old ladies, kids and dogs.
It took gobs of research and quite a few hours to determine the parts, fashion the fittings and attach the front shocks. Had to move the headlights and rewire, but along with a new custom made set of seat springs (no shocks or seat springs when I got the car) - the ride is a lot better.
I was having some radiator overflow challenges and determined that it was because the engine is so big and builds up a lot of water temperature and pressure, I added an expansion tank - problem solved!
Spent a bunch of hours along Broadway here in Denver which is antique row looking for am old steamer chest to mount on the back. Just couldn't find one that would look and fit right. So - built one instead. I think it came out looking pretty snazzy and now I got someplace to store a few things (beer, camp stool, sun-block, .........)
And then there was the problem of the fact that the "T" has no doors. The way ya get in is stretch a leg onto the back tire and climb over. Well, that proved a challenge for those folks with shorter legs (read Maita) - sooo - I bought a new Model A step pad, cut some angle iron braces, painted em (matching paint costs $30 bucks a quart) and now folks can climb right in.
Over the winter 11' to 12', not a lot of new stuff, except the interior upholstery. I had gotten a number of quotes from various shops around town, but wasn't real impressed with their work or design ideas, much less the costs. While attending a show at our local Gunther Toody's, a gentlemen had a restored 29' Chevy 4-door which he had competed a few years back, complete with all original upholstery including head-panels that really looked nice. Asked him where it was done and he referred me to an old-time shop on So Santa Fe here in Denver. I did some cruising and discovered "Raul's" at 268 So Santa Fe Drive. It turned out to be the right place, with top talent who executed just what I wanted at a fair price. Will most likely change the steering column to add a few inches of maneuver room for bigger folks than I and I'm looking forward to cruising and some shows over the summer of 12'
Havin FUN!! - Jim