The T-Bucket phenomenon was really building momentum by the mid-1960s when Ray Sisemore’s multi-part “How to Build a Hot Rod” series began chronicling a bucket build orchestrated by Ted McMullen of U.S. Speed Sport in Santa Fe Springs. Not long after that, a young San Francisco Bay hot rodder who mounted all the wheels at Champion Speed Shop during the week and was the flag starter at Half Moon Bay drag strip on the weekends began his own monumental T-Bucket journey.
Recognizing the growing T-bucket popularity, entrepreneurial Andy Brizio engaged noted Northern California chassis builder Pete Ogden to build the prototype chassis for the beginning of his new business which was operated out of space in the historic Champion Speed Shop as “Andy’s Roadsters.”
Undoubtedly, Andy’s speed shop exposure helped give him insight into the fact that many hot rodders would like the idea of a single-source supplier of everything needed to build a T-Bucket, whether they were building it at home or purchasing it turnkey from Andy, thus the name “Instant T”. (It’s interesting to note that the banner in the shop photo above reads ” Home of Northern California’s Instant ‘T’.” McMullen’s Southern California U.S. Speed Sport had adopted the “Instant T” name a couple years earlier and that is likely the reason for the geographic qualifier on Andy’s banner. However, the commercial success and notable major car show wins captured by Andy’s roadsters overshadowed the relatively short-lived U.S. Speed Sport).
Either Andy was a marketing genius or he so loved hot rodding that everything he did helped build cache for his T-Bucket roadster business. In 1966 when he was introducing the first Instant T he started an annual hot rodders picnic that became an institution for 30 years. Shortly after winning the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award, he began a 2000 mile journey cross-country in the same car to attend the first National Street Rod Association Nationals in Peoria, Illinois.
Today, while Andy’s T-Bucket legacy endures among fans of hot rod model T history. Andy’s more contemporary legacy is his son, Roy, who has continued in his father’s AMBR winning footsteps.
Andy’s “Rodfather” nickname was well earned and he has many accomplishments in hot rodding and even more T-Bucket successes we will explore another day. For now, enjoy a few beautiful Andy Southard, Jr. photographs of Andy Brizio’s equally beautiful Instant T’s.
- Y-Block Ford T-Bucket: Ted Kramer’s Snoopy Inspires Me - February 11, 2023
- Terry Brown T-Bucket Sets the Fad-T Standard - February 10, 2023
- T-Bucket 100th Birthday! - January 1, 2023
7 thoughts on “Andy “The Rodfather” Brizio and the “Instant T””
I was lucky enough to work for Andy in South San Francisco. It was after I quit school in the 10th grade. He was very kind of this lost young man. Learned a lot about fabrication and putting tires on American mags.
Thanks for that observation, John. It must have been a fun, informative time.
I have some photos I just found taken at Andy Brizio’s, South San Francisco round 1974-1975!
Is there anyway I can post the photos as the owner and Andy would get a kick out of them!
Trevor from Sydney, Australia.
That would be great!
Thanks for stopping by Bill.
For those T-Bucket guys who may not know, the Magicar was perhaps the most innovative Top Fueler ever built, probably because it was built by a very innovative guy, Kent Fuller. There’s a fascinating story about how Bill Pitts found and restored the Magicar at http://cacklefest.com/Magicar.shtml
The Brizio connection comes via Andy’s son, Roy Brizio, being involved in its early restoration for Bill.
Bill, by the way, is “Mr Cacklefest” having virtually invented the phenomenon via the restored Magicar, which you can also learn more about at http://oldrace.com/index.html
It’s an honor to have you stop by.
My name is Bill Pitts and I am the current owner of the old Magicar AA/FD.
Anyway, I thought you’d like to know about my four video clips on You Tube.
They are called,”Portrait of a Prowler”. Type that into the search engine on You Tube and take a look.