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Ford Model T, Orange, for sale in Charlotte, North Carolina, for $22,995.
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 may of them, such as this orange roadster, are just too beautifully finished and detailed to be considered junkyard dogs anymore.
Based on a Speedway fiberglass body, the shape is archetypal T-bucket, with the tall, vertical windshield and stubby pickup 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. Every inch of this one has been expertly prepped, eliminating any waves or distortions in the bodywork. The paint is vivid bright orange, which is a nice change from either the primer black that has recently come back into fashion, or the excessively metallic hues that characterized T-buckets of the '60s and '70s. And while they're difficult to photograph, you'll find subtle ghost flames on the body just aft of the cowl, adding to this car's list of trick details. In fact, just about everything on the car was bathed in that orange paint, from the frame and most of the suspension, to the distinctive Model T radiator shell, to the stubby roll bar behind the passenger compartment. '39 Ford taillights complete the look.
Speaking of the passenger compartment, this T-bucket is finished better than most. In their back-to-basics style, many 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 tan leather and a full array of gauges keeping an eye on the small block up front. Stitched up in traditional pleats, the seats and door panels are nicely done, and this one even features a custom-tailored carpet set. The doors, of course, are simply for show, because no true T-bucket driver does anything other than hop over the sides and hit the road. The steering wheel is a fat leather job that might look more at home in a Porsche, but it's mounted in traditional nearly horizontal T-bucket fashion. A slender shifter with an interesting leather boot controls the 5-speed transmission underneath, and the pedals are arranged so they're easy to reach. And as I mentioned, the dashboard is nicely turned out in wood with a complete array of vintage-looking Auto Meter gauges.
The engine is a crate 350 that churns out an estimated 400 horsepower thanks to a Holley intake and 4-barrel carburetor, 9.8:1 compression, and an Erson solid lifter camshaft for that high-performance sound. The block is black, perhaps to keep it in the background visually, or perhaps in contrast to the black body, but either way, it looks really good. Chrome dress up includes the air cleaner and valve covers, and the headers are exactly what every T-bucket wears: long tubes blowing through massive side pipes. This one is happy to run all day on pump gas, and stays cool thanks to a custom radiator stuffed inside the Model T frame. And as a cool feature, there's a winged moto-meter atop the radiator keeping an eye on the coolant temperature.
The chassis is nicely finished, too, with most of the details out in the open for easy examination. The frame matches the body, but the floors are black to provide some contrast. A transverse leaf spring supports a Speedway 4-inch drop tube axle, while out back there's a live axle riding on a set of coil over shocks and ladder bars. And 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 gigantic 375/60/15 Pro Trac S tires on polished Weld Pro-Stars.
This is one of those cars that couldn't be duplicated for the asking price. With the high level of fit and finish, the brand new parts used throughout, and the amount of time it requires simply to build a car from scratch, there are thousands more invested in this car than are shown on the sticker price. 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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Location:Charlotte, North Carolina