Bob Johnston’s T-Bucket, Later to Become Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Tweedy Pie: Part 1

Beyond Norm Grabowski’s “Kookie Kar”, one of my other significant influences was a short wheelbase T-bucket built by Californian Bob Johnston, which appeared on the cover of the December, 1959, issue of the “little mag”, Rodding and Restyling. At the time, it was flathead powered and had one of the coolest profile’s I had seen. A few years later, Ed Roth purchased “Tweedy Pie” with 283 Chevy power and with just a few updates propelled this little T-Bucket to legendary hot rod status.


To learn how this T-Bucket later became 300 times more valuable, read Part 2>

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John Morehead

Founder at TBucketPlans.com
T-Bucket fanatic since 1957 when my 8 year old eyes became glued to a full page LIFE magazine photo of Norm Grabowski in the wildest hot rod I had ever seen! I later discovered the fascinating T-Buckets of TV Tommy Ivo, Marty Hollmann, Bob Johnston and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s T-Bucket inspired Outlaw. I was hooked for life on T-Bucket hot rods!

TBucketPlans.com originated in 2005 as a personal blog extolling the virtues of T-Buckets. In 2009 I blogged about Chester Greenhalgh, the "how to" genius who wrote the legendary, out-of-print “How to Build a T-Bucket Roadster for Under $3000”. That led to a friendship with Chester and our partnership in marketing the updated eBook version of his T-Bucket building bible. The T-Bucket fire burns stronger and stronger.
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4 thoughts on “Bob Johnston’s T-Bucket, Later to Become Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Tweedy Pie: Part 1”

  1. I first saw “Tweedy Pie” at an outdoor car show in Long Beach California, 1958 I think it was.
    I was 15 yrs old and had customized several stock car model kits (there weren’t many available at the time). Armed with a photo I took at the show using my mother’s Kodak (no car magazines had featured this car yet) I cobbled together a 1/25 scale model using parts from other stock car kits. There were no custom car kits available at this time.
    With widened rear tires, chrome thumb tack “baby moons”, large sized pencil section for gas tank, flathead engine using thread for ignition wires, and custom mixed purple paint, the model turned out so well I put it in a shoe box and hitch-hiked to Ed Roth’s shop to show it to him.
    Roth was impressed enough to offer to paint the Tweedy Pie name on the gas tank for free (which he did) and suggested I take it to show the owner Bob Johnston. He gave me Bob’s Anaheim address and I hitched there, met Bob and shared our cars in his garage.
    Roth was very gracious to me allowing me to watch as he striped, even gave me a couple of his older brushes. After much practice I later pinstriped several local cars.
    Went off to college and returned to discover that my entire model car collection had been given away.
    But I do have the wonderful memories that for sure I made the very first model of “Tweedy Pie” before the Revell kit, and how kind and generous Ed Roth was to me when I was young.

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    • Thank you Daniel for sharing your up-close-and-personal Tweedy Pie experience. Your model sounds terrific, given the ingenuity that had to be employed and the fact you got to meet and discuss Tweedy with Bob and Ed is an enviable experience. If you might have any pics still available I would love to see them and will try to update the story with them. I’m a big Tweedy Pie fan. Thanks again.

      Reply
  2. Gidday Guys over the christmas break i tried to down load a couple of your e books but my computer went tits up and the time line expired so i have paid for but not recieved the downloads can you please check your system for me and let me know when i can download what i bought.
    Thanks
    Scott Brancourt

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