Mini T Bucket Build by Larry Matlock With 883 Harley Power

For his Mini T Bucket build, Larry Matlock of Durham, NC came at it with many years of experience. As a long-time car guy, Larry’s interests and collection spans the range from the oldest of antiques to Chevelles, Mustangs, Corvettes, motorcycles and everything in between. In fact, Larry’s Mini T Bucket build got its start four years ago when he visited here and downloaded a set of the Youngster Free T-Bucket Frame Plans.

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

Larry even got started building a full-size T-Bucket, but his interests got diverted when he learned about the half-scale Mini T Bucket bodies produced by Spirit Industries. He’d already been exposed to T-Bucket frame building and had our plans and years of experience so he ordered the body and pickup bed from Spirit and began his Mini T Bucket build.

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

So, instead of using 1-1/2″ x 3″ tubing as would be used for a full-size T-Bucket, Larry chose 1″ x 2″ tubing and just scaled the Youngster T-Bucket Frame Plans down to size.

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

For his front crossmember he used some 1-3/4″ round tubing and a piece of angle iron for the spring perch. For the front transverse spring he used a lightweight trailer spring and his front shocks came from a BMX type bicycle. The front axle, spindles and hubs were scrounged from a vintage EZGO golf cart and mount some cool looking 12″ wheels. For steering, Larry happened to use a rack and pinion unit originally designed for a fuel dragster.

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

For the rear end, Larry chose one that was originally used on a motorcycle trike along with its drum brakes and added 18″ aftermarket wheels. For both front and rear radius rods, he used 1/2″ tubing with heim joints.

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

The body, as noted, came from Spirit, along with the pickup bed.

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

The floor is diamond plate, upon which is mounted a Volkswagen emergency brake, and the interior, of course, was treated to rolls and pleats upholstery.

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

The windshield, by the way, is an original Model T windshield cut down to fit the half-scale body. Larry’s Mini T Bucket also contains many small parts purchased from Speedway Motors as well.

And the radiator shell is an actual steel ’23 T cut down to fit, sporting a vintage Model T motometer and flanked by Harley Davidson Sportster headlights. Larry fashioned his own steel hood and what lies underneath really makes Larry’s Mini T Bucket build unique.

A Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engine just wouldn’t do for Larry and, drawing on his motorcycle experience, he chose a Harley Davidson 883 cc engine for power. The chrome exhaust you see is functional and when this Mini T Bucket motors down the road the sound is really sweet!

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

Speaking of motoring down the road, Larry’s Mini T Bucket build is completely street legal. When he took it to the DMV the inspector remarked there would be no way they’d pass Larry’s Mini T. Then Larry reminded the inspector that’s the same thing he said when he’d brought in his 1901 Oldsmobile to be registered!

By the way, if you look closely at the pickup bed cover you’ll see the neat little solar panel that’s used instead of an alternator. So this Mini T Bucket is the total package and Larry’s been offered $12K for it and turned it down. Just too much fun and a nice diversion from his dozen other antique cars.

Mini T Bucket Build Larry Matlock

Like we said, Larry Matlock is a very experienced car builder and this excellent Mini T Bucket build reflects his skills. By the way, if you haven’t already, now’s the time to enter our Mini T-Bucket Body Package Giveaway. To enter, click here>

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17 thoughts on “Mini T Bucket Build by Larry Matlock With 883 Harley Power”

    • Yes, Jim, a mini T-Bucket is pretty straightforward if you just scale things down and look in golf cart scrap piles for a rear axle and other components. Thanks for your comment, John.

      Reply
  1. I drive a Shriners mini truck kart with a 5 hp. This thing must fly with the 883. Would like to get one for myself for parades.

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    • No, Hans, I’m not aware of any for sale. This appears to be a very niche market (as if T-Buckets weren’t niche enough in the street rod world). Aside from bodies being available, I’m not aware of anyone still making a chassis or even turnkey one. At one time there was an outfit that made some pretty nice looking ones but they discontinued them. Good luck in your search.

      Reply
  2. WOW! No that is creativity. Gas milage has to be great. Parking has to be easy. Ford started somewhere and I think this could be a great mode of transportation for everyone. My congrats on your build and. Just might start building one for myself.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the nice comments, Ben. Just be sure to enter our Giveaway and you could be well ahead on the Mini T-Bucket body package — especially if you share your Lucky URL with friends and get 3 additional chances to win for each one of them who enters!

      Reply
  3. An 883 is a Sportster motor, which has the transmission built into it. The motor is mounted like it would be in a bike frame, with the drive chain running back to the trike rear end. The article doesn’t mention if this mini T has a reverse, but separate reverse gear boxes are available from a few different sources.

    Reply
    • Thanks Butch, for answering Brock’s question. I’m not a Harley guy and wouldn’t have known that. Sounds like a nice solution for a Mini T-Bucket with a good bit of horsepower. Oughta’ be easy enough to just get out and push it to reverse 🙂

      Reply

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