T-Bucket Car Show Gold You’re Missing Out On

If you’re a T-Bucket owner, I’m going to tell you about the T-Bucket car show gold you’re missing out on. Unless you’ve already discovered it.

This past weekend I went to our local car show, which is kind of a big deal for a small town. By that I mean some 900 cars lining the downtown streets of a town with a population of less than 18,000. I wasn’t expecting it to be a T-Bucket car show. I just hoped to see a few nice ones. But there was only one T-Bucket! Out of 900 cars. And I know there are dozens of T-Buckets within a 30 mile radius. Heck, I saw two dune buggies! And that’s in flat prairie land where all you can see for miles are corn fields. Frankly, I was feeling frustrated until …

T-Bucket car show gold

The next morning. Look what greeted me on the front of the local paper. Out of 900 cars participating in the car show, many of which were pretty terrific, which one did the reporter and photographer choose to tell the story? Ron Bychowski’s T-Bucket.

T-Bucket Ron Bychowski

And rightly so, because it’s a great looking T-Bucket. Which leads me to the T-Bucket car show gold you’re missing out on when you don’t take your T to a local car show. Let me explain.

T-Bucket car show gold Ron Bychowski

The overwhelming majority of attendees at local car shows are not died-in-the-wool car enthusiasts. They just want to have a fun day admiring cool looking cars. And that’s where T-Bucket hot rods come into play: because they’re the attention grabbers!

T-Bucket Ron Bychowski

To just about anyone a T-Bucket is a rolling car cutaway. No fenders, hood, bumpers, or top covering things up and keeping the suspension and mechanicals out of view. No hoses, wiring, ducting and plastic fascia nightmare like they see when they open their own hood. Just all that horsepower in its gleaming glory is a truly magnetic audience attraction — no matter how mild or wild the engine might be.

T-Bucket Ron Bychowski

And it’s not just me saying this. None other than legendary Street Rodder magazine columnist Bill Burnham said, “Attentionwise, my T-buckets and tub were like flypaper compared to the coupes, sedans and hi-boys that I’ve owned.”

T-Bucket car show gold Ron Bychowski

And there’s no reason to feel intimidated by the $100K+ deuces, ’34s and what have you because Burnham went on to say,

“more than a few of us have encountered the situation, whether at a shopping center car show or professional autorama, wherein the bucket parked next to the high-dollar, all-steel rod has attracted the most attention … envy time! To the great unwashed public, the bucket is a mind­-blower, while my hi-boy is little more than an unfinished old car that still needs fen­ders and running boards.”

For even more T-Bucket perspective, you can read Bill’s past editorial on the subject here. And we haven’t even mentioned the youngsters and oldsters alike that you’ll inspire to enter the hot rod hobby. All you’ve got to do when that next local show comes around is get it out of the garage and have fun basking in your T-Bucket car show gold. Who knows? You might even take home some trophy gold as a bonus.

Follow me

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.
Follow me

6 thoughts on “T-Bucket Car Show Gold You’re Missing Out On”

  1. I have been blessed to be the caretaker of a fellow car club members ’22 T! Dennis Schjeldahl and his boys built her in the early 80s. Dennis was adamant about sharing his T with kids at club cruise nights, letting youngsters climb in and get behind the wheel. During the holidays, he’d drive around town as Hot Rod Santa in late November and December here in North Dakota (pretty cold then!)
    Again the kids would be drawn to him and his T. Unfortunately we lost Dennis in 2017 after his 9 year hard fought battle with cancer… But last winter I was able to do just what Dennis had done for years, I got to play the part of Hot Rod Santa! I then understood why Dennis did it! After his T had sat… I was allowed to get it running reliably I’ve taken it to 6 car shows this past summer to share it making sure kids got behind the wheel as Dennis would of done! I get a huge amount of pleasure sharing the T and honoring my friend! the reactions of the kids, the excitement they show. their parents gratitude and their frustration ( they kept telling the kids not to touch the cars! LoL) but most of all sharing Dennis’s story of a life long HotRodder/retired school teacher. I thank his bride Jane so much for allowing me to take care of Dennis’s Bucket T. As its a honor and thrill to do so!

    And now I thank you for allowing me to share this little tid bit with you!

    Reply
  2. Long miss my bucket. Drove from Atlanta Ga. to Memphis Tn. For the NSRA Nats in ‘72 on my honeymoon. Now at 74 I’m struggling to build another before I leave this world. I’ll go happy if I can get it driving. Notice I didn’t say finish it!
    John

    Reply
  3. Ah, Jeez, I feel a rant coming on! Every GoodGuys mag is full of hundreds of car pics, but rarely any buckets! I like a coupe or sedan or hiboy, but we bucketheads get no respect!

    Reply
    • Interesting you should mention the Goodguys Gazette, Kerry. A T-Bucket was one of Goodguys founder Gary Meadors’ earliest hot rods.Gary Meadors Goodguys founder T-Bucket
      Known as the “Beer T” for its keg fuel tank it was one of the few T-Buckets with Mopar poly power. Thanks

      Reply
  4. I myself, tend to somewhat disagree. The last, and only time I proudly drove my T to a local car show, I felt snubbed because I was the only one there with a T. Sure, there were a few glances in my direction. But most of the attention was on the 60s and 70s muscle cars and the spattering of the standard coupes and roadsters. In my walking around more than once I overheard how much ‘I have in this thing’, ‘how fast I can go’, ‘how long it takes me to polish this’, blah blah blah. My ’23 isn’t by any stretch of anyone’s imagination the fanciest, chromed out, big tire, big engine, etc. around. Even heard one guy say that because mine was not a ‘traditional T’ it was a waste of time for me to even show up’. Screw him! I am just as proud as anyone else that was there of my ride. Haven’t been back to that once a week local gathering since. One the other hand, every time I take it to the hardware store on Saturday, there is always one or two gathered around it when I come out. I get a lot of thumbs up and honks when cruising about. I suppose everybody has their preferences, at least around here. Just saying.

    Reply
    • That’s exactly the point, Mark! You’re not attending a car show to win approval of the other exhibitors. Many of them think they have THE only real or best hot rod. Who cares what they think?! You’re there exactly for the people who marvel at your T outside the hardware store — and at any car show that’s a big group. There’s no reason to feel snubbed. Just read Bill Burnham’s knowledgeable and experienced editorial here. Read that and no matter how modest your T-Bucket is you’ll be one of the proudest people there because you know how important your little T-Bucket is to the street rodding hobby. Thanks for your observation.
      John

      Reply

Leave a Comment