T-Bucket Déjà Vu All Over Again

It was baseball great Yogi Berra who coined the expression, “It’s déjà vu all over again”. I found myself uttering this famous Yogiism while flipping through the ad-dense back pages of the November, 2010, “Street Rodder” magazine and seeing this ad for the Baron & Tucker Hot Rods 23 ‘T’ body and chassis kits for T-Buckets.
Baron & Tucker Hot Rods T-Bucket 23'T'
At first, I thought, “Man, that T-Bucket photo pose looks familiar!” Upon closer scrutiny, I realized that a lot of hot rod dudes have embraced the retro look, but most reflect the clothes and hair of the 50s and 60s — not the 70s and 80s. Then, a couple other things in the ad started bringing back nostalgic images to my feeble mind: the distinctive 23 ‘T’ outline typography and the phrases “ready to bolt together”, “buy factory direct” and the call to action to send $5 for a brochure were all it took for me to start channeling Yogi to myself. “This is incredibly reminiscent of the old Bird Automotive T-Bucket ads,” I mumbled.

Bird Automotive T-Bucket kit ad
Bird Automotive T-Bucket kit ad from 1980/81

What’s really interesting from a T-Bucket history perspective is that back in 1980/81 Bird Automotive in Nebraska and Total Performance in Connecticut seemed to have formed an alliance whereby Bird was beginning to market the much nicer looking Total Performance T-Bucket kits. If you look closely the T-Bucket in the photos is of Total Performance, rather than Bird Automotive, design.

Anyway, it continues to get interesting today in that Baron & Tucker Hot Rods is located in the third smallest state in the U.S. which was also home to Total Performance until it was purchased by Speedway Motors. Coincidence? I’m eager to learn more about this new (to me, at least) entrant in the T-Bucket world.

Update: 1/24/11 I did learn more about Baron and Tucker and you can, too, by clicking here>

Another Update: 2/19/2011 If you’re looking to relive those nostalgic days of the Bird T-Bucket kits, you’ll be happy to know we now have available authorized reproductions of the Bird T-Bucket plans, along with a nice Bird history and copies of most of those neat Bird T-Bucket ads you used to drool over. Click here to check it out>
Bird Automotive T-Bucket Kits Plans History

John Morehead
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3 thoughts on “T-Bucket Déjà Vu All Over Again”

  1. Good question, Ray.
    My answer is not specific to the Baron & Tucket T-Bucket, but rather T-Buckets in general — it depends.
    It depends on the type of front and/or rear suspension used (i.e., leaf springs, coil springs, torsion bars, coil-over-shocks, etc). With traditional leaf springs offering the more choppy ride.
    It also depends on the wheelbase. Typically shorter will be more harsh.
    It further depends on the unsprung weight (i.e., steel wheels and drum brakes on the front will not offer as good a ride as aluminum wheels and disc brakes).
    There’s just no short answer. Take a few rides and see what you prefer.

  2. FYI Baron and tucker hot rods was Formally Top Notch Hot Rods. (NOTE: Rest of this comment was deleted by the site Administrator. While the input is very much appreciated and duly noted, our objective is to focus on T-Bucket hot rods more than conflicts. As noted, the original post was prompted by Déjà Vu. Thanks for the comment).


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