From Academic Kids

A T-Bucket with a supercharged Chrysler Hemi engine
A T-Bucket with a supercharged Chrysler Hemi engine
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Hot Rod magazine cover showing typical Bucket T hot rod

A T-bucket (or Bucket T) is a specific style of hot rod car, based on a Ford Model T but extensively modified, or alternatively built with replica components to resemble a Model T. Since the last Model T was built over three-quarters of a century ago as of 2004, modern T-buckets are generally replicas as there are few real Model Ts left in scrapyards to build upon.

A genuine T-bucket has the very small and light two seater body of a Model T roadster pickup (with or without the small pickup box), this "bucket"-shaped bodyshell giving the cars their name. A Model T style radiator is always fitted, and these can sometimes be barely up to the task of cooling the large engines fitted. There is never any kind of engine cowling on a T-bucket. Windshields, when fitted, are vertical glass like the original Model T.

Model Ts were being hot-rodded and customized from the 1930s on, but the T-bucket specifically was created and given that name by Norman Grabowski in the 1950s.

Today, T-buckets are still a very common hot rod style. They generally feature an enormous engine for the size and weight of the car, generally a V8 of some form, along with tough drivetrains to handle the power and big, fat rear tires to apply that power to the road. Front wheels, in a nod to the Model T hot rod's drag racing past, are often very small.

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Car Craft magazine cover showing typical Bucket T hot rod

Most are actually built purely for street or display use, and the big engines are more for show than for need — many are more powerful than the vehicles can actually make use of. Although the bodyshell is a Ford (in appearance, at least), engines of a wide variety of makes can be found on T-buckets. The small-block Chevrolet 350 V8 is a common choice, since it is relatively small, light, easy to obtain and to improve, and performs well.


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