When I heard Speedway Motors had produced a special new T-Bucket catalog, I wasted no time getting one, because I was eager to see what Speedway had done in terms of product addition and integration after their acquisition of Total Performance. In case you weren’t aware of that major development in the T-Bucket world, here’s a copy of the announcement:
Associated Press – January 21, 2009 6:25 AM ET
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A Lincoln-based manufacturer and retailer of racing products has announced that it’s buying the street rod-related assets of Wallingford, Conn.-based Total Performance, Inc.
Speedway Motors said Tuesday that Total Performance has a line of more than 3,500 products and is best known for making fiberglass T-bucket bodies, frames and kits. A T-bucket is a hot rod based on a Ford Model T design.
Total Performance’s operations will be consolidated into Speedway Motors’ facilities in Lincoln.
Terms of the deal were not announced.
If you’re new to T-Buckets, Total Performance was founded in 1971 by hot rodder Mickey Lauria and focused quite heavily on T-bucket components, kits and complete cars. A few years ago, Total claimed to have produced over 2000 T-Bucket chassis and many more were built using Total suspension and body components or using their very detailed T-bucket assembly manual as a guide. Total offered what was probably the most complete T-Bucket “kit” available.
I always admired the profile of Total Performance T-Buckets, with a low, rakish look of motion even at rest. My impression of the Speedway T-Buckets was they were a bit clunky looking and tended to sit higher than I thought necessary. I also wasn’t a big fan of the appearance of Speedway’s cross steering with a Vega box, but I liked how the tie rod was positioned out of the way between the radius rods. Coincidentally, I didn’t care for Total’s positioning of the tie rod in front of the axle, and the drag link not being parallel to the chassis (as in the California Custom Roadsters design) but that’s all a personal aesthetic issue.
I envisioned the relatively huge Speedway taking its own mature T-Bucket designs and working some corporate product integration miracles with the innovative Total Performance offering to come forth with the kick-ass T-Bucket line. While the Speedway T-Bucket Catalog is an impressive 136 pages, it doesn’t look like much of the Total Performance product line is being continued. For example, the Speedway T-Bucket chassis seems to have been upgraded with some nice combination shock/headlight brackets. The Total chassis line seems to have been lost in the transition along with the Total “Anniversary” and regular T-Bucket bodies and a bunch of the other Total T-Bucket products. The new catalog does have some really nice exploded T-Bucket chassis graphics and you’ll want to be sure you get a copy.