In the street rod world, you'll find a lot of folks who are perfectionists. For these people, mulling over even the smallest details on a car is a full-time job, and Deryl Borders, from Simpsonville, South Carolina, feels qualified to be a member of that group.
That type of attention to detail usually carries over into all aspects of life, but when that attention is directed towards a hot rod, you usually get something special out of the deal. When Borders decided he'd like to have a T-bucket in his garage, it was a combination of ideas and concepts he'd formulated over a period of time that led him to assemble his unique '23.
As a child (which was over 50 years ago), he can remember working in the garage with his dad on Flathead motors. That early training never left him, and today Deryl still believes there is no other sound like a Flathead. But Border's T almost didn't happen, had it not been for a chance meeting he'd had at the Goodguys' show at Lowe's Motor Speedway outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Deryl had come upon a gent who was selling a painted T chassis and a primered T body, and the thought of building one began to percolate in his head. He took the gentleman's name and number and left.
After the show, figuring he might need some help in building a car the way he wanted to, Deryl contacted Tim Ohlson from nearby Concord. Tim owns Carolina Street Car, a shop well-versed in transforming average-looking vehicles into something unique. After the two talked about what Deryl wanted to do with his project, Deryl looked up the gent from the show and bought the body and frame from him. But as they soon found out, it turned out Tim was the original builder of the unfinished car, had sold it to the gent Deryl had talked to, so the project was now back in the original builder's hands!
White-faced VDO Cockpit Royal...
White-faced VDO Cockpit Royal gauges fill the T's dash, which is accented with a wood-grained steering wheel from Grant. The diamond-tuft leather, installed by Elford Efrid at Country Classic Interior, is a throwback to the early days of street rodding, when it seemed that everybody owned a T-bucket.
The basic pieces Deryl had picked up were from Total Performance, a company supplying T components to the hot rod world for more than 35 years. Work on the car began with setting up the chassis, which was dialed in with a wheelbase of 99.5 inches. Up front, the main suspension pieces include a dropped tube axle and hairpins coupled to a set of friction shocks. Out back, an eight-inch rear (3.08:1) utilizes another set of hairpins, a Watts link, and a pair of coilover shocks. Disc brakes are found on each corner; Lincoln Mark VII with Camaro calipers in the rear and Wilwood discs up front. Making the chassis a roller are 15x4 and 15x10 wheels from Halibrand, with Nankang 135-15 rubber fore and big 29x2.5 Mickey Thompsons aft.
As anyone who has owned a T-bucket already knows, showcasing the engine is a big part of 'bucket ownership, as having the engine out in the open is a perfect opportunity to expose all the chrome and paint. For Deryl, no other motor than a Flattie would be used in this project. He hooked up with Andy Mullikin from Piedmont, South Carolina, because, as Deryl puts it: "Andy has forgotten more about Flatheads than I'll ever know. These guys are a dying breed."
Andy started with a block that was bored .040 as well as an Isky Max-1 cam and Ross pistons. Up top, a pair of aluminum Offenhauser heads work with an Offy intake capped with a triple carb setup. A Walker radiator helps keep the Flattie running cool while an MSD ignition system supplies the spark, and exhaust exits through Sanderson headers. To help get the T down the road, the 245-inch Ford mates to a C4 trans, which is equipped with a Lokar shifter.
Even though most T-buckets, by their nature, are a little over-the-top when it comes to paint jobs, Deryl's ride is finished with a subtle flame job (if any flame job could be considered subtle). The BASF Candy Tangerine flames, applied by Collision Specialties in Monroe, North Carolina, contrast the 2008 Lexus Gold Almond Metallic shade used on the rest of the body. The frame is done with the same hue as the flames, and classic hot rod pinstriping from Rodney Fowler at Hot Rod Grafixxx in Greer, South Carolina, adds just the perfect touch.
The shade of leather used by Elford Efrid from Country Classic Interior in China Grove, North Carolina, matches the flames, and was applied to the bench seat in a classic diamond tuft pattern. As a young boy Elford learned the diamond tufting trade from his father, who was in the furniture business (Elford is now teaching his son to carry on the family business). A burnt orange automotive loop carpet covers the floor, closely matching the shade of the flames.
Up on the dash is a quartet of white-faced VDO Cockpit Royal gauges, just to the right of the wood-trimmed Grant steering wheel that is bolted to a Total Performance column. Other unique pieces found in and around the car are the polished stainless steel firewall, a custom step rail on each side of the body, and a top for the T that has a flame pattern stitched into it.
More of Fowler's pinstriping can be found on the tailgate, and it adds just the right amount of "splash," as do the chrome lantern brake light housings or the flying V8 radiator cap, which was milled from a solid 3x3x8 block of aluminum and then polished to perfection.
But perfection is what Deryl wanted and it's what he feels he got when the car was finished in time for the 10th T-Bucket Nationals held in Springfield, Illinois, last year. And even though you might find a few more Flathead-powered Ts at that type of convention, we're confident that you won't ever see another one quite like the one Deryl Borders owns.
You don't see too many Flatties...
You don't see too many Flatties in a T-bucket, but it was the result of Deryl wanting to stay true to an all-Ford theme. Bored .040, the 245-inch V-8 uses an Isky cam, Ross pistons, and a 3.75-inch crank. Up front a Walker radiator keeps it cool while an MSD ignition system keeps it lively. Triple carbs and an Offy manifold delivers the mix and the polished aluminum Offenhauser heads look sharp. Other goodies include a PowerGEN alternator from Powermaster (it looks like a generator but it's an alternator inside) and headers from Sanderson Headers.
The chrome lantern brake lights...
The chrome lantern brake lights look good on the back of Borders' bucket, and they are on the list of subtle touches Deryl employed, which include the removable side steps on each side of the body.