It may be hard to believe, but this stylish little T-bucket was built from the ground up in an amazing 21 days-very long days, according to owner/builder Joe Leone. Joe said he'd had some sleepless nights thinking about a project when an idea came to him. He had purchased a Van Chase shift knob, the "Jester," and decided to build a car around it. Right away, the choice was to have the shift knob in an open car such as the T-bucket.
Joe said his recently opened shop, Dream Driven Street Machines in Milton, Ontario, Canada, needed a project to show the quality of work of which it is capable, so he chose the '23 Model T because he thrives on being different. That's why this one looks different from T-buckets we've all seen over the years.
The popularity of T-buckets goes way back to the very core of the hobby. This street rod, though, takes the genre to a whole new level. When Joe drove into the Syracuse Nationals with it, people started to gather around before he took the key out of the ignition.
The rod stands apart from other T-buckets for several reasons: the lack of a bed or turtle deck gives the car a fresh new look, and painting it Sikkens Jungle Green and Jet Black was a bold move to take the car a notch higher than more predictable T-bucket paint finishes.
From day one, the project jumped into high gear. Using '30 Model A framerails shortened 18 inches and boxed, a 5-inch dropped axle from Magnum Axle was quickly adapted. Opting for torsion bar suspension, Joe twisted the radius rods for a totally different appearance that also ties the suspensions together to act as a shock absorber, adding to the theme of the little rod.
Joe's shop added a rack-and-pinion Dodge Omni rear-steer steering box from Flaming River, along with a Steer Clear unit that relocated the mounting position for the Borgeson steering joints. Spindles are from Pete & Jake's and the 11-inch disc brakes and calipers are Wilwood products. A Chevy 10-bolt rearend with 2.73:1 gears was fitted with 11-inch disc brakes from Allstar Performance and perches on the torsion bar rear suspension. The rolling stock consists of Billet Specialties Vintec dish wheels, 15x6 in front and 17x8 out back, surrounded by BFGoodrich g-Force rubber, sized 205/50R15 in front with 265/45R17s bringing up the rear.
The engine is a bored and stroked Chevy 355 with a COMP Cams custom grind cam, aluminum heads, Probe 9.5-to-1 pistons, and Edelbrock E-Tec heads. An Edelbrock intake mounting two Edelbrock 500-cfm carburetors provides plenty of aspiration to feed this hungry street rod.
Classic-style headers were purchased from Speedway Motors. A Weiand water pump combines with a three-core radiator from County Radiator Services to provide adequate cooling. Edelbrock valve covers have Moon breathers adapted to them, and a Mooneyes air cleaner and Tuff Stuff 60-amp chrome alternator help provide some of the eye appeal for the engine.
The reliable GM Turbo 350 transmission was rebuilt by Harry Manovich at Milton Transmissions and Aldo's Driveshaft built the short twister for the little rod. The stall speed converter is a 2,800 unit from B&M.
The Speedway Motors body was channeled 4 inches over the frame. Steel flooring was added along with a custom-built transmission tunnel. The grille came from a '29 Model A Ford, altered to fit by Joe and his crew. Restotec Motorsports gets credit for the fantastic paint, and Rollie Guerin of Guelph, Ontario, did the pinstriping. The shift knob was then detailed with the body colors.
Tack Auto Upholstery used Soft-Touch vinyl to cover the custom-built seat and panels from Rod Doors in black and jungle green colors. Black carpeting covers the floor.
Auto Meter gauges were mounted in an aluminum hand-cut dash insert, while the Lokar shifter provides the appropriate platform for the shift knob. Pedals are also from Lokar and the steering wheel is from Mooneyes. The chopped windshield was made by Apple Auto Glass.
All of those long days paid off when the shop got the car done just in time for the Syracuse show. Joe said he has some ideas on tap for several other cars he feels will surpass the T-bucket, but for now he and his wife, Allison, enjoy driving the rod several times a week-especially since Joe caught up on the sleep he lost during the build.
There is more than enough...
There is more than enough horsepower with a 355 small-block Chevy topped with two Edelbrock four-barrel carburetors. The block is painted to match the main color on the body. Headers from Speedway Motors are Jet Hot coated, another departure from the usually bright chrome exhaust on T-buckets.
Owner Joe Leone bought the...
Owner Joe Leone bought the "Jester" gearshift knob first and decided to build a car around it. Colors matching the exterior were used on the door panels and custom bench seat. Auto Meter gauges were mounted in a hand-cut aluminum dash insert, and a Mooneyes wheel tops the Flaming River steering column.
The Camaro 10-bolt rearend...
The Camaro 10-bolt rearend is outfitted with a torsion bar setup. The license plate says it all for this nice little street rod.
Unusual for a T-bucket is...
Unusual for a T-bucket is the rack-and-pinion Dodge Omni rear-steer steering box from Flaming River, along with a Steer Clear unit that relocated the mounting position for the Borgeson steering joints.
he Camaro 10-bolt rearend...
he Camaro 10-bolt rearend is outfitted with Allstar Performance 11-inch disc brakes.
With no turtle deck or shortened...
With no turtle deck or shortened pickup bed, the car has a totally new look with just a painted aluminum gas tank.