Dave Hiebert’s Home Built T Bucket

I love to receive emails like this one:

Hi John,

Bought your book a couple of years ago and although I did not follow it to the letter, I did find it very helpful. This is what I just completed.
Dave Hiebert home built T Bucket
I did almost everything myself with the exception of the seat upholstery. Runs very fast and a lot of fun.

Dave Hiebert
p.s. Already started another one with a completely different theme.

A True Home Built T Bucket

I really admire what Dave Hiebert has done in putting together his very unique home built T Bucket. Of course, I admire the fact that one of the first things he did was to purchase a copy of Chester Greenhalgh’s home built T Bucket bible, How to Build a T-Bucket Hot Rod Roadster for Under $3000: Kickin’ it Old Skool.

To start, Dave not only wanted a more usable pickup bed but also more room in the T-Bucket body, both in terms of length and width.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Measure for Sectioning Cuts

The fiberglass body he started with was an older Total Performance unit, which came with a 14″ pickup bed as standard. Dave decided to add 18″ of length to make the pickup bed a more practical 32″ length in total.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Cuts made to lengthen and widen body

After measuring, Dave rolled up his sleeves and made the cuts in the fiberglass body to allow it to be widened 4” and lengthened 5”.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket (
Fiberglass added to lengthen and widen body

This was Dave’s first attempt at fiberglass work. These kinds of fiberglass body modifications can be much easier than you might think, especially if you have some good information to guide you like the StreetRod 101: Fiberglass Body Modifications DVD available at our sister site, StreetRodPlans.com.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Lengthened and widened body and pickup bed after first coat of primer

And what would a home built T Bucket project be without primer applied with spray cans?

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Mocking up

With his newly enlarged T-Bucket body, Dave did the right thing by mocking it up on a wood frame before cutting and welding steel.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Welded frame with front and rear kickups

According to Dave, the frame is 2” X 3” X 1/4” wall steel tube and to achieve an overall low stance it was built with sizable kickups in both the front and rear.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Rear suspension fabrication

For the rear suspension, Dave decided to go with a four-bar setup with panhard bar and coil-over shocks.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Header mockup

Continuing his quest for a home built T Bucket different from the rest, Dave decided to go with the torque monster 472 cid Cadillac which necessitated building his own headers.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Header and exhaust layout

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
472″ Caddy Headers

While still in the early construction and mockup stage it was the ideal time to design and build the headers and figure out the positioning of the exhaust.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Shorty driveshaft

The big-inch Cadillac was mated to a Turbo 400 transmission and when it came to the short driveshaft to mate to the rear end with 2:73 gears it was one of the few instances, other than upholstery and radiator, where Dave used outside fabrication.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Completed chassis, a thing of beauty

Dave fabricated the fuel tank from aluminum and it holds a reasonable 18 Imperial gallons.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
Spray bomb finished

Dave noted that the paint was done with Alpine Green spray bombs then wet sanded to 2000 grit. It was then clear coated, also with spray bombs, wet sanded to 3000 grit then polished with 5000 grit buffing compound and then waxed and buffed. According to Dave, it turned out very good and the photos confirm that.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket
All electrical done at home

Dave’s T-Bucket features heated seats, all LED lights (front signals built into headlights), and a third high mounted stop light.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket

The headlights are 1927 model T units that Dave converted to halogen and then mounted LED turn signals into the headlights.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket

Dave notes that the 32″ pickup box is perfect to accommodate the fuel tank, battery and hide the electrical away under the storage space.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket

The seats were from a 1998 MGB, and as they were too tall, Dave cut the back down 5” and then had them upholstered with heaters. Fiberglass transmission tunnel is covered with leather.

Dave Hiebert Home Built T Bucket

A truly unique feature of Dave’s home built T Bucket is the left side mounted suicide shifter. Tires are 235/75 15 rears, and 185/75 14 fronts, with 11” front discs and 12 X 2.5 rear drums with manual master: “stops on a dime and gives 6¢ change”, says Dave.

Dave Hiebert’s T is an excellent example of the fact that with some relatively simple research and planning you can build a home built T Bucket that’s one-of-a-kind. So, what’s stopping you? By the way, if you’ve already built your own T-Bucket and you’ve used our plans send us some photos and details and we’ll be glad to share your achievement with our readers.

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