For the past 40 years Paul Gulley has been infected with the hot rod bug. It hit him in the '70s, even though he couldn't afford to buy one, instead taking in the magazines of the era devoted to promoting the hobby with young men just like Paul. The magazines fueled his imagination and one day, he thought, he'd have one of those little cars. Longing for a hot rod in its purest form led Paul to want a T-bucket more than any other type of car, a desire he would carry long after school and raising a family.
Decades later his desires were reawakened when he saw a sharp-looking T-bucket and soon he'd begun to figure out how to get one. He discussed the thought with his brother of possibly finding a fixer-upper to start with-one he could redo and end up with exactly the car he wanted. As it turned out, his brother knew of a T-bucket for sale, and happened to still have the phone number of the owner, Chuck Sellers. Sellers was looking for a way to finance his latest acquisition, a '32 Ford coupe, and he needed to sell his T to get the project rolling.
Sellers had built the T using a kit from Total Performance, which included the chassis and body. The chassis is a pre-fabricated ladder-type frame, set up on a wheelbase of 108 inches. The front suspension uses a tube axle, dropped 6 inches, and a pair of Total Performance hairpin radius rods. Out back Carrera coilover shocks are mounted to a Currie rearend (4.11:1) with an aluminum centersection. Red steel rims (from Coker Tires) wear caps 'n' rings along with wide white rubber (also from Coker).
The engine is the centerpiece to most any T-bucket, and this one is no different. Rated at 600-plus horsepower, the 355-inch Chevy was assembled by Michaels Racing in Eastlake, Ohio. They started with a new crate block, then balanced the rotating parts, which included Eagle rods and crank, Wiseco forged pistons (8.5:1), and an Isky cam ground special for blower motors. Up top, a pair of Edelbrock 600-cfm chromed carbs are fed by a BDS supercharger, which is underdriven 9 percent. Dart steel heads, ported and polished and set up with stainless steel valves, were outfitted with roller rockers and topped with Moon aluminum finned valve covers.
The motor was slid into the chassis, which was painted along with the fiberglass body with Dodge Viper Red PPG paint by S&M Auto Body in Eastlake, Ohio. The floor and firewall were then padded with Dynamat insulation before the Ron Francis wiring kit was linked to the Moon gauges found on the dash. The seat was custom-made, which allowed for the fuse panel, horn, headlight, and turn signal switches to be mounted away from the dash and out of sight. Portage Upholstery and Trim (Eastlake, OH) used a pleated pattern with the white vinyl material, opting for a black loop pile for the carpet.
Sellers emailed Paul some photos of the car, which looked promising and, shortly afterward, they made a deal over the phone. When he took delivery of the car, it exceeded his expectations, and Paul said it "needed nothing except an enthusiastic driver." Paul also states, "Sellers did a wonderful job engineering and building the car," and that "he really has an eye for detail."
Normally Paul, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, builds his own cars but, since this one met his exact requirements, he didn't need to change anything, and he could start enjoying the car as soon as he got it. "The car gets attention everywhere it goes," Paul says, and we'd have to agree-it certainly got ours!