Long Shots: The "T" Bucket Edition


One of the cool parts about living here in the World Center of Racing is seeing some pretty cool assed old cars and trucks on a near daily basis. Just the other day while this olelongrooffan was heading into my high faluting job schleping trailers, I spotted a bunch of Canadian Ferraris in town to have some fun out at the Daytona International Speedway. That same afternoon a guy walked into our showroom and sat his tall ass body down in the pit bull salesguy’s office just across from my cube. I normally try not to eavesdrop on his conversations but when I heard the words “T Bucket”, that whole vow went right out the window.


Turns out this 6’4″ tall dude who checked in just a biscuit shy of 280 decided to break his ole T Bucket out and come on down and check out a new trailer for his ride, which is definitely not a trailer queen. But yeah, this thing is a classic T Bucket from the oversized tires on the rear to the huge ass motor up front.


Moroso valve covers, Edelbrock heads and dual Holley carbs. All on top of a 454 Chevy powerplant. ThePitBull mentioned that he thought the rear tires would just light up. The owner politely disagreed with that assumption. “It’s more like the frame flexes.”


And although this ole buggy has been around, the owner sure keeps all that chrome nice and shiny.


To this olelongrooffan, the suspension out in of that brass surrounds radiator just looks awfully fragile.


Someone asked the owner how he got his feet into this thing.”The first thing I do is take off my left shoe.” Seriously, this olelongrooffan can’t make this shit up. And that is the automatic shift lever down between the driver’s legs. There is a shift lever indicator contained within that black surrounds partially hidden by that undersized wooden steering wheel.


All in all, a nice little setup but not particularly one this olelongrooffan would want in my livery. Afterall, the roof is nonexistent. 


And in an artsy-fartsy moment, I dropped to one knee to capture the face of this street rod at ground level. It wasn’t until this olelongrooffan was writing up this post that I realized just how goofy it looks from this angle. IMHO.

Image Copyright Hooniverse 2013/longrooffan

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25 responses to “Long Shots: The "T" Bucket Edition”

  1. OA5599 Avatar

    Interesting that all the header tubes are discolored until around the first bend, except for #4, which is discolored only the first couple of inches.

    1. MVEilenstein Avatar

      I see what you mean, but I'm wondering if it's just the light, or olelongrooffan's elcheapocamera.

      1. OA5599 Avatar

        That's what I thought at first, but the top shot and the next to the last one show the same effect from two different angles.

        1. longrooffan Avatar

          you are correct…they are discolored…

          1. OA5599 Avatar

            I know the heat discoloration is real. My question is why the one header tube has much less discoloration than its neighbors.

      2. longrooffan Avatar

        nope, not the camera this time!

        1. MVEilenstein Avatar

          I don't judge. My phone takes crappy pictures, too. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    Those tires bring back memories from high school, when a set of N50s on the rear was the hot setup.

  3. B72 Avatar

    Let's see – it has gobs of power, and that engine looks to be pretty much in the middle, so it should have good balance. To address the frame flex and make it a bit safer you could add a full cage, and you might want to modernize the suspension a bit.
    Actually that would be really ugly. Not to mention impractical.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      The suspension's already been modernized by several decades. What more do you want?

      1. B72 Avatar

        I was thinking independent suspension. Doesn't a KV have independent suspension?This is Hooniverse, one must keep up with the Harrells you know!

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          True, they do. Amazingly stable at all speeds, come to think of it.
          Keeping up, however, is usually less of an issue than remaining calm until the next passing zone.

  4. buzzboy7 Avatar

    Call me old fashioned(or not I guess) but I just don't like T-Buckets that much. There are other similar era hotrods that are just so much cooler.

  5. Kris_01 Avatar

    T-buckets have never done it for me.
    They speak of the wretched excess of late '60s customizing and '70s copycat me-too-ism.
    T-buckets were everywhere in the '70s and really the first vehicle to get the whole fiberglass-repop thing in a big way (yeah, dune buggies and the like have been around much longer but most of those things relied on a VW chassis and drivetrain). You could buy a whole T-bucket kit (frame, front suspension, rear suspension, front wheels, rad, body, and steering column) from one manufacturer, have at it with an engine, tranny and Ford nine inch of your choice, paint it black with gold pinstripes, and show it off at a car show along with eveyrone else's copycat T bucket.
    I'm glad that they're getting rare again. There was a fad that needed to go away.

    1. danleym Avatar

      They don't do much for me – but – I'm sure they'd be fun to drive. Not in any sort of really aggressive manner, of course, because I'm sure a lot of them don't really handle that well, but no top, the engine screaming in full view right in front of you, and flooring it away from stop lights, I'm sure that would be fun.

      1. MVEilenstein Avatar

        Back in the day, that was the whole point. Stoplight heroes and their mighty steeds.

      2. Kris_01 Avatar

        Don't get me wrong, they look like a lot of fun and I respect the work and enthusiasm that go into most of these rods.
        Just not for me, I guess.

    2. OA5599 Avatar

      You're a little off on your timeline.
      Fiberglass dune buggies originated with the Meyers Manx, circa 1964. Fiberglass T-buckets have been around since the 50's.

  6. MVEilenstein Avatar

    Never my favorite car, but I have lots of respect for it and the hot rod culture in general. Those guys built/build some fast, mean machines.
    A car like this is genuinely dangerous, and I can't say anything against a guy for driving one. Nothing but respect.

    1. B72 Avatar

      I remember once back in the 80's, I was waiting for a crosswalk when a T-bucket bucket pulled up at the light. The driver saw me looking. I saw the hint of a smile then the light turned green. He pulled away with the front wheels 4 feet off the ground and a noise that was deafening.
      Respect is a good word. Insanity is another. As for me, I respect the insanity.

  7. LEROOOY Avatar

    How does that radiator keep up with cooling a 454?

    1. 944tim Avatar

      I recall seeing something like this, it had a 4" thick radiator and an electric fan that ran continuously.
      to overcome the frame flexing, this thing needs a proper x-member crossbracing the frame. I also recall seeing one without any front brakes..very twitchy, and I suspect scarey to drive.

  8. longrooffan Avatar

    this one did have an auxiliary electric fan just to the rear of the radiator.

  9. racer139 Avatar

    I would imagine the reason(s) for the tubes on tbe header are less colored either because the exhaust gases are escaping through the flange disapating the heat(at one time anyway as it looks clean around the flange now). Or the gasses are are not being burnt properly, either not hot enought spark or long enough duration. just a guess and I could be wrong. definatly respect the insanity of driving one of these.

  10. Johnny Dixon Avatar
    Johnny Dixon

    Man I hate these things. I agree that they are left over relics from an era of bad customizing that is now capitalizing on retired guys with beer bellies cashing out with the kids out of the house reliving some bad hot rod "B" movie from the late 60's when they were in high school. Chevy motor in a Ford? Wrong. When I'm old enough to be retired with a beer belly will there be any Willys coupes, 32 Fords, Fiat Topolinos, Ford Anglia's left that haven't been "hot rodded".