I had a unique opportunity to attend the Grand National Roadster Show 2014. Having been in Southern California on business meetings all week and my last one late Friday afternoon, I was scheduled to return to Chicago’s snow and freezing temp’s on Saturday morning. With Friday night open, I thought maybe there’d be a cruise or something I could attend. But after checking event schedules I saw that the Grand National Roadster Show 2014 opened on Friday night! So, after my last meeting I hopped in the car and made it to Pomona shortly after 5:00 p.m. With the show scheduled to close at 8:00 p.m. I was anxious that I might not be able to take it all in.
My anticipation was heightened after parking when I saw this cute little T-Bucket parked just a couple cars over from where I parked. (After posting this, I learned it is owned by Bill and Linda Seal of Covina, California who are members of SO-CAL T’s in San Diego. Thanks Dennis Mahar. I also learned that Bill and Linda put over 5000 miles on the T last year. They drive it from their home in Covina to Oregon every year rain or shine. And they even camp out with their little trailer. Thanks Tony LaRue Jones).
I was impressed by the owner’s tonneau cover that kept out not only the elements (fat chance of that being needed with SoCal in drought emergency status) but also the hands of more curious onlookers.
My initial impression of this T-Bucket being cute was confirmed when I noted the 17 stud heads of the diminutive V8-60 flathead Ford engine.
The nicely constructed wood pickup bed with its’ beer keg fuel tank and rollbar gave this T-Bucket a nice look from many decades past. (That 15.5 gallon keg should give some nice cruising range with that fuel sipping little V8-60).
And with a trailer hitch, it was obvious that the owner must get around in this sweet little T. But, hey, time’s awasting. I better get from the parking lot into the Pomona Fairplex to check out all the action.
Inside Grand National Roadster Show 2014
One of the first buildings I came upon was the Suede Palace exhibit and I had to drop in there to see what kind of budget creativity I’d discover. The building was pretty much filled with 50s mild customs, faux gassers and typical rat rod trucks, but I spied one lone T-Bucket that was hard to miss with its Mexican blanket upholstery.
This turtle deck T was tastefully done and no doubt on a reasonable budget, but with just enough chrome to catch one’s attention. The dropped I-beam front axle, drum brakes and wishbones lent a nice traditional look and the cowl lights were reminiscent of a 60s or 70s build, but my guess would be that it was either a new build or an old one that received considerable freshening up.
The headers were very traditional looking and quite different from those found on most T-Buckets and that’s one element that contributed a lot to this bucket’s distinctively nice look.
The rear three-quarter view of this T is classic and tasteful and just shows you don’t need to throw dollars at a project to make it look good.
Moving on to another building I had to stop to look at the ARC Audio T-Bucket electric trike on display.
With a 1959 Cushman chassis and a fiberglass T-Bucket body they couldn’t have come up with a better way of demonstrating their audio systems at the Grand National Roadster Show 2014.
I know, the Harley mats look out of place but the color kind of matches.
Of course, the fiberglass T body was narrowed some but looks quite nice behind the front air bagged fork.
With its headlight and taillights this would be quite the ride in a gated seniors community. But, on we must go to the “real” T’s.
Talk about real! How about the runner-up to the Niekamp roadster at the inaugural 1950 Oakland Roadster Show, the precursor to today’s Grand National Roadster Show 2014. There it was: the “Woody” Lee T.
Constructed in 1949 by Jack Hagemann for Larry Neves of Oakland, California, who entered it in the show and then sold it in 1951 to Richard “Woody” Lee of Castro Valley, California, who raced it as a member of the Cal-Neva Roadster Association.
With a tubular chassis, Franklin steering, full belly plan, and Indy Novi aluminum nose, the Woody Lee T was powered by a 296 cu. in. Mercury engine with Winfield cam, Navarro heads and 3 pot intake, and a Harmon Collins magneto.
The Woody Lee T ran 133.6 MPH at Bonneville, held the Tracy, California 1/4 mile record at 124 MPH and the Cal-Neva record at 131.1 MPH. In the view of the dash above you’ll note the trademark “Tommy the Greek” flourishes and pinstriping. After numerous ownership changes, the car sat untouched in a garage for 45 years until August of 2013 when the new owner acquired it and only cleaned it to its present survivor state. What a find!
I wasn’t quite sure if it was a T-Bucket or not that caught my attention, but according to Nels Linde of Glendale, Arizona it’s only registered as a 1932 Chevrolet. But it’s 100% designed and built by Nels over a four-year construction period.
Nels is a guy after my own heart. He did everything: fabricated the body (with its strong T influences), built the whole deal, painted and upholstered it. His efforts resulted in winning the 2013 Speedway Motors “Homebuilt Heaven” award at the Goodguys Southwest Nationals.
I’m particularly fond of his clever little collapsible luggage carrier.
And the next roadster that grabbed my attention certainly wasn’t a T-Bucket, but many of the elements were similar, including the Jaguar independent rear suspension and stylized pickup bed. The dual hoop rollbars are a terrific classic look in my book.
It would appear this roadster is also jag powered and although it was certainly upholstered by notable trimmer Eric Thorsen, for all I could gather it may be his as well.
This is a good time to mention that the volume of roadsters of any kind appeared sparse at the Grand National Roadster Show 2014. I’d speculate you could find almost as many or more beer vendors at the Grand National Roadster Show 2014 than actual roadsters. But, maybe you had to be there on Saturday and Sunday when they opened things up for the outdoor display. But, there are plenty more T’s to see in Grand National Roadster Show 2014 – T-Bucket Highlights, Part 2: America’s Most Beautiful Roadster.
- First Rail Dragster: “The Bug”, Dick Kraft’s Model T ex-roadster - July 30, 2020
- The Gadberry “Low Bucket” - July 20, 2020
- Bob Johnston’s T-Bucket, Later to Become Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Tweedy Pie: Part 1 - July 20, 2020