“Turn of the Century” Fiberglass T-Bucket Body Bargains

Cromwell Molding Fiberglass T-Bucket body

In answer to the question, “Is there any way today to build a T-Bucket hot rod on a real budget?” I have to respond with an emphatic “yes”. To prove that point, you can now buy a new fiberglass T-Bucket body for only $275. That kind of price hasn’t been seen for a bucket body since the turn of the century. And, if you want a pickup bed, turtle deck, seat insert or grille shell they’re all comparably bargain priced, too. This is all thanks to the fine folks at Cromwell Molding Company in Paynesville, Minnesota and the fact that, through circumstances beyond their control, they’ve eliminated the middle man.

MAS Fiberglass T-Bucket body by Cromwell Molding Co

You see, Cromwell Molding produced fiberglass T-Bucket bodies and parts for the former MAS Racing Products in St. Paul which went out of business. Now, I know that when you mention MAS bodies on just about any Internet hot rod forum that some poster will sit behind his keyboard and say, “Oh, those MAS bodies are crap” or something similar. I’ll venture that most of them are just passing along something they heard somebody else say that he heard somebody else say. Well, I actually bought a MAS body several years ago and can tell you that it’s a very good value for the money. Of course, you can spend way more and get a better body that may not require as much prep work, but if you’re really building a T-Bucket on a budget and are ready to benefit from a little “sweat equity” while having fun doing it then you can’t go wrong with a body like this.

As an example, you may recall the “Garage Scene” in the January, 2001 issue of Street Rodder magazine that showed the beginnings of Nick Conti’s “low buck T-Bucket” project and pointed out that “the body is the cheapest bucket he could find new”, which was a MAS body.

Nick Conti T-Bucket

Then, the March, 2003 issue of Street Rodder did a great feature story on Nick’s “Low-Buck Bucket” and it turned plenty of heads for two good reasons.

Nick Conti T-Bucket roadster

The first reason it commanded major attention was that it looked absolutely awesome. The second reason was that his total investment to build what became a magazine feature car was “just shy of $6800!” Just as Russ Freund showed the world with his Takeout T, it’s entirely possible to build a great-looking T-Bucket hot rod without investing tons of money.

MAS Fiberglass T-Bucket body by Cromwell Molding Co

Cromwell’s been building fiberglass T-Bucket bodies since around 1989 and they are chopper gun sprayed 1/8+ inch thick bodies and parts. As noted, the ’23 T fiberglass body is $275, which is a price the market hasn’t seen since back before the year 2000.

MAS Fiberglass T-Bucket body by Cromwell Molding Co

Fiberglass T-Bucket body resting on firewall, viewed from bottom

Their T-Bucket body dimensions are normal size: 52″ from firewall to back of body, 42″ from door to door, 27″ tall in back, and 25″ tall to dash. They weigh approximately 45 pounds. In case you’re curious, such a body will fit in the back of a regular size SUV like a Durango.

MAS Fiberglass T-Bucket body by Cromwell Molding Co

Fiberglass T-Bucket body resting on firewall, viewed from top

If you’re anywhere within driving distance of Paynesville, Minnesota, (which is about 90 miles west of Minneapolis) you’re probably best off arranging to pick up your body and other fiberglass parts there. Cromwell can palletize, shrink wrap and load your parts for you for $25 if you’re having them picked up by a truck line, but you have to make your own freight company arrangements and they need to pick up at Cromwell from 7 a.m. to noon.

MAS Fiberglass T-Bucket body and pickup beds by Cromwell Molding Co

Their T pickup beds are offered in three different lengths: 14″, 20″ and 30″ and are $125 each.

MAS Fiberglass T-Bucket body seat insert by Cromwell Molding Co

They also have a nice seat insert (like the ones offered in the old Bird T-Bucket kits) for only $110, which does a great job of adding rigidity to the body as well. It’s my understanding that to install the fiberglass seat insert, you slide the body over it so that the lip on the top of the seat insert is covered by the lip on the top of the body. The two parts are then temporarily screwed together so that you can bond the seat insert to the body with fiberglass. When the fiberglass has dried appropriately, the screws are removed and the holes are filled in. This also takes care of your floorboard and transmission tunnel fabrication requirements, in addition to providing seating, so it’s a nice way to kill a lot of birds with one stone.

MAS Fiberglass T-Bucket body seat insert by Cromwell Molding Co

If you want to build your T-Bucket with a turtle deck, they have those at just $100.

MAS Fiberglass T-Bucket body seat insert and grille shell by Cromwell Molding Co

They have a nice T grille shell with integral mounting tabs for $50.

With these kinds of bargain prices on T-Bucket bodies and parts, you really have no excuse for not starting your build project right now. I doubt you can find a used body for less. First, though, be sure to download your copy of “How to Build a T-Bucket Roadster for Under $3000″. There’s no better motivation for getting that T-Bucket project moving than having Chester’s 250+ page eBook to guide you every step of the way and a nice, new fiberglass T-Bucket body in your garage just waiting for you to get to work on it.

Another nice thing about Cromwell is that they typically have these bodies and parts in inventory, so you don’t have to worry about lead time delays. And just so you know, this isn’t an ad but rather a public service for budding T-Bucket builders. When we see something that’s a good deal, we like to let our loyal followers know about it.

You should also know that Cromwell is getting ready to introduce a new T-Bucket body with opening doors: left, right or both. That will be a nice addition to their product line.

You can reach Cromwell at:

Cromwell Molding Company
27546 State Highway 23
Paynesville, MN 56362-9780
Phone 320-243-4965

Just be sure to tell them you heard about them at TBucketPlans.com.

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Comments

  1. says

    You’ll have to contact them the “traditional” way: by phone or mail. I’m sure it’s the low overhead that keeps their bodies so affordable.

  2. lakesmod says

    Anyone know if Cromwell Molding Co has a web site or a e-mail address?
    I am interested in a T-bucket with both doors that open.

  3. Contivehicledynamics says

    i wrote the article on nicks t bucket, i am his son dominic, i was very happy to see the pic on this website, nick passed away just after completing the lo buck bucket, if anyone has any questions on the car feel free to e mail me contivehicledynamics@gmail.com

  4. Wsdad says

    Yes, Traders Village is a flea market. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the vendor. They were a large Mom and Pop operation so I doubt they would have another store in another city. They did have a very large permanent store location within Traders Village. They’ve been there for a long time so they will very likely still be here if you made the trip.

    They gave me a generic restaurant style receipt without their name on it. (I wouldn’t expect to return it if you find fault in it, even though they said I could. I liked the quality and the price so much, I bought it anyway.) If you can get them to give you a receipt with their name on it, it may make it easier to register the car once you get it built. I didn’t think to ask them for one at the time.

    They said the body came from Mexico, so it seems likely that someone at the San Antonio Trader’s Village would have been contacted by the Mexican manufacturer as well. They had various other fiberglass car products – fenders, hood scoops, pedal cars, etc.

    Unless you are driving from far, far away specifically for this body, I still wouldn’t consider it a wasted trip. I think it’s fun to spend an afternoon browsing all the flea market stuff and to watch the people there. I suppose that’s not everyone’s cup of meat, though.

    Still, it would be good to know if they have what you’re looking for before you go. The next time I’m there, I’ll try to remember to get their name and number. That being said, I haven’t been back in 6 months so don’t hold your breath until I do.

    –WSDad

  5. Richard says

    Is Traders village a flea market? Wha tis the name of the vendor so I can try to find them at the Traders village in San Antonio.

    Rich

  6. WSDad says

    Woo Hoo! I just picked up a t-bucket body from Trader’s Village in Grand Prarie for $250.00!!!!!!!!
    It’s not perfect but it looks pretty good to me!

  7. WSDad says

    Woo Hoo! I just pick up a t-bucket body from Trader’s Village in Grand Prarie for $250.00!!!!!!!!
    It’s not perfect but it looks pretty good to me!

  8. WSDad says

    Hey that’s great! I’ll drive on out there this weekend and pick one up. I noticed you posted this on April 1st. Hope it’s not a joke!

  9. Tub T says

    You can buy 1923 T fiberglass bodies all day every weekend at Trader’s Village in Grand Prairie, TX, for $275. At least, the last time I was out there, you could. They are made in Mexico, I believe, as is half the stuff for sale out there.

    Mike

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