Flathead Hot Rod: 1923 Ford T-Bucket

This ultra cool Ford T-bucket hot rod was built around 30 years ago and supposedly driven to shows all around the country. It’s been parked for the last few years but is still a show-stopper, and the seller notes it needs some mild freshening up before returning to its cross-country cruising ways. Find it here on eBay with a blown flathead V8 that still fires up, and bidding over $6K with the reserve unmet.

I was stuck in a waiting room recently when the horrible show Counting Classic Cars came on. The only saving grace for this episode was that the overly typecast bozo in the shop got a lesson on the history of hot-rodding in Southern California, and t-buckets like this were discussed as being the quintessential hot rod that transcends eras. I couldn’t agree more.

The driving position, the excessive horsepower, the stance – nothing has ever been done quite to this level of excess in the custom car culture. Nothing that today’s tuners do even comes close to the level of bodywork and skilled fabrication needed to convert a homely Model T into a rip-snorting boulevard bruiser like this. Look at that cockpit – these things were brutal!

The level of detail on this vintage t-bucket seems quite high, but you really don’t know to what level the work was done unless you inspect it in person, because frankly – it’s hard for them not to look good from far. The seller notes the carb should be rebuilt and a new battery and tires sourced; the bidding currently seems light for what a creation like this should demand.


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  1. Arthell64 Member

    Neat engine set up.

    Like 6
  2. Gaspumpchas

    I’m not a fan of t-buckets but the flatmotor mill really does it for me on this one. For the ask of 6 larges, I’m sure that blower motor is worth a good part of that. Good luck to the new owner. Just don’t get into an accident with this one. I have seen a few of these that were involved in accidents, and were downright Grisley. One I saw didn’t look survivable. Caveat emptor.

    Like 7
  3. LARRY

    Haven’t seen those supertrapp mufflers in a while

    Like 4
  4. MorganW Morgan Winter Member

    Jeff, did you mean “Counting Cars” or “Chasing Classic Cars”? Or is there another show that I haven’t seen?

    Like 4
  5. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I can only imagine what that blown flathead sounds and performs like! I had a chance to ride in a T-Bucket a long time ago with a BBC and automatic. This thing was an absolute terror and next to impossible to control on the street even when dry. I would suspect the blown flathead would be better behaved but even then I would be very careful especially till the buyer gets used to the handling characteristics of the car.
    What there is shown on this one looks to be well thought out and assembled and hopefully is well behaved on the highway.

    Like 4
  6. Joe Haska

    Jeff, I am sorry, but I don’t agree with anything you said about this T Bucket , I would have to say you lack allot of knowledge about Hot Rods and the history of Hot Rodding in general.
    In the mid to late 40’s there was a type of car that ran on many of the dirt tracks in Southern California, that were called roadsters. They were mostly modified 26 & 27 model T’s, then model A’s and 32’s, but it was somewhat short lived as the midget and sptint cars became more popular. At least thats how I remember it ,as I was only 3 or 4 years old.
    However these cars did have simularities of the current T Bucket, as did the very early Hot Rods in te early 1930’s ,that were called Glow Jobs such as Ed Iskenderian’s T Roadster that he never sold. Then about 1955 Norm Grabowski builds a roadster out of T and A parts and The T Bucket was born. Shortly after that Tommy Ivo builds a similar car ,which I liked better , though I never told Norm that, as we were good friends. I don’t really remeber talking to Norm a whole lot about the significance of the car and the icon it became as the “Cookie Car” on 77 Sun Set Strip, and on into the 60’s and 70’s ,as the type of car to build. I have also visited with Tommy Ivo and he was always more interested in Drag Racing than his T Bucket.
    It really isn’t importat how it started and I doubt that Norm or Tommy really care, but it become very popular for a couple of reasons. They were cheap and easy to build, it took very little talent or imagination, they were cookie cutter cars , there were after market frames, fiberglass bodies and you could assemble one in your spare time. They were really some of the earliest Kit Cars. The fact that you seem in awe of these cars make me wonder, what if anything you know about Hot Rods.
    Think of this the next time you see one, ask the owner how many he has owned , bet he will say one, no one ever gets another one. If you ever get to drive one any distance you will know eactly why. No doubt they are a significant part of the Hot Rod History and I am glad that I got to know several of the key people who started it all, but seiously a T bucket is not an engineering feat and a marvel of autobile enginuety. Norm never built another one and neither did Tommy. I am also proud to say I never owned one.

    Like 7
    • Rick Rothermel

      O learned one, the terms are GOW JOB and KOOKIE KAR (after the Edd Byrnes character).
      And Yeah, later t-buckets are pretenders and kit cars, but THIS ONE isnt. A little respect goes a long way.

      Like 6
  7. Kurt

    Maybe somehow welding in a roll bar would make it safe for freeway driving, along with three point belts. Glad to see builder kept it all Ford and a flathead to boot! Good call, imho.

    Like 7
  8. TimM

    A classic 50’s style hotrod before the overhead valve motors took over!! Got to love the flathead if your an old school car guy!!! This thing looks good the only thing I’d change is taking the chicken decal off the side of the body!!! Other than that it’s perfect!!!

    Like 5
    • John B

      I agree with you, especially about that decal. I think it was the icon for Thrush mufflers.

      Like 6
      • Brian Vermont

        Clay Smith cams actually

  9. Stevieg

    As a teenager, about 14-15 years old, I had a neighbor who had one of these. It had the turtle deck, a small block Chevy engine & some sort of automatic transmission. It had a dual quad intake of some sort, fiberglass body, and leg burner side pipes.
    One nice summer day, I was walking home from my girlfriend’s house. As I walked past one of the local watering holes, his bucket was parked out front. He saw me walk past and yelled for me. I stepped inside & he asked me how I felt about driving his car. Let me tell you, this guy knew I loved cars & I idolized him. Plus, he had a cute daughter lol, so I was always hanging around his house lol.
    Anyhow, I reminded him that I wasn’t old enough to drive, I didn’t have my license, so on.
    This guy knew I had my own car that I parked around the block & his from my Mom. He had seen me push my Mom’s boyfriend’s Triumph GT6 down the alley & drive away. He wasn’t stupid. Plus, he was a member of a certain major motorcycle club & didn’t care less about police. So he knew that I knew how to drive & that in my young eyes back then, police didn’t matter.
    So he talked me into driving the car. We went bar-hopping that afternoon & that night we cruised the strip.
    Mike was not a man to mess with, & he did things back then that now I would not do myself. But he trusted me & treated me better than my Dad did. He taught me about cars & motorcycles. I miss that old biker guy, and I wish I knew what happened to him (and his beautiful daughter lol). All I know is there was a war between to biker clubs, someone died & they moved in the middle of the night.
    I hope he & his family are well.

    Like 10
  10. Joe Haska

    Rick, I just read your comment on Barn Finds and the 23 T. I am assuming it was directed at me as a respected “O learned one”. Time for a joke, How many old time Racers/ Old Schooled Hot Rodders does it take to change a light bulb? Ans. You don’t know you weren’t there. I still have and drive regularly a 34 Coupe, I bought in 1963. I would bet this is before you were born and it wasn’t my first Hot Rod.
    I really shouldn’t comment on this sight for several reasons, but I do because I know the way it used to be, a problem of getting old. When I see people make comments, that they assume are correct, but they don’t know there just going on things they have heard. I feel a desire to comment, and it doesn’t work as I am not the best communicate with the written word. As noted with your reply, I know my spelling is not great as is my punctuation. Gow Job for instance I have heard it both ways, My comment would be ask Dain Gingeralli, or I will next time I talk to him or Pat Ganaul ,or Don Montgomery ,or Darrell Mayab, if you don’t know who they are look them up! They are all personal friends of mine but their credentials are way more impressive than mine.
    Rick I could go on and but it really doesn’t matter, but if sometime you really want to get idea what it was like its fun to talk about, just e-mail me and we can connect and talk all about it! jhaska@Comcast.net

  11. Stevieg

    Joe, it is that type of knowledge that I really appreciate.
    You say you don’t communicate well? Don’t sweat it, we all have our “caveman” moments lol. Please share more from the old days!

    Like 1
  12. Joe Haska

    Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I realize I can get a little intense when ,I read comments that have no basis or facts of what actually happened. I am very passionate about Hot Rods and their history it was my youth and it was a great time to grow up with cars and especially Hot Rods.
    Just to throw more wood on the fire for those of you that believe that ,the yellow T Bucket is a true Hot Rod from the 1950’s, you really don’t know what your looking at. Yes it has a Flathead, probably a little ahead of its time with the blower. Salt flats wheels for sure not old, would assume it is fiberglass and an after market frame ,stance is nice ,not exactly what you would see in 1960, or the frame with hairpins front and back. Or how about the muffler exhaust tips and the interior nothing to indicate it is an old build. How about a billet fire wall ,I dual master cylinder an front disc brakes really old school! Personally like the car especially the , stance , wheels and engine, but is not a traditional Old Hot Rod that has been resurrected from some 30 plus years year’s ago. If I was guessing my first choice would be a T Bucket kit out of Speedway’s catalog

  13. Stevieg

    The one I got to drive as a kid was a fiberglass kit car. My neighbor told me it was from the mid 1970’s. Not real old school at all. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. I actually prefer the older rods.
    I was born in 1970, but I believe I am an old soul, probably a “recycled” greaser or hot rodder, if you believe in reincarnation lol. I absolutely love the rock-a-Billy style, even if it is a caricature of the style we are talking about. Lead sleds, low riders, and fenderless roadsters all get my blood flowing. Just thinking about all this is getting me riled up lol.
    I gotta go. Ex-wife, who lives on my couch, is suddenly looking appealing. I need to think about other things and leave her alone!

  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Auction ended.
    Did not meet reserve.

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