Ted Brown: T-Bucket Chassis Designer Extraordinaire - TBucketPlans.com

Ted Brown: T-Bucket Chassis Designer Extraordinaire

Ted Brown was a young hot rodder from Minnesota who heeded the advice to “go west young man” to seek fame and fortune. Man, was he ever successful!

After arriving in Southern California, Ted had the opportunity to see Norm Grabowski’s “Kookie” T-bucket at the famous Bob’s Big Boy in Toluca Lake and “was totally blown away”. “That car is what got me wanting to build those types of rods,” Ted said recently. But first Ted went into partnership with another legendary chassis builder, Chuck Finders, and contributed to the success of many of the nationally successful A/Gas Supercharged cars of the day, including Stone Woods & Cook, K.S. Pittman, Jr. Thompson, Hamberis & Mitchell and, my personal favorite, the MGM-C & O Hydro AG/S Austin pickup.

About 10 years ago, I bought a set of the California Custom Roadsters (CCR) T-bucket chassis plans. I was particularly taken with the CCR logo image with its rakish lines and sleek top.

California Custom Roadsters CCR T-Bucket logo

California Custom Roadsters CCR T-Bucket logo

Not too long ago, I was looking at an old Rod & Custom from the early 70s and noticed an uncanny resemblence to the CCR image in a Ted Brown Chassis ad.
Ted Brown Chassis T Bucket ad


After researching my old magazines a bit more, I then made the connection. The first ads for the CCR plans, which ran in 1973, referred to “Plans & Data for building the famous Ted Brown/Bill Keifer Chassis.” I then learned that Ted established CCR in 1971 with Bill Keifer as his partner; the CCR T-Bucket plans were based on Ted’s unique, original design; Ted eventually sold his interest in the company, which continued to grow as a producer of some of the finest, best looking T-Buckets available and thanks to his distinctively handsome frame design of the early 70s many thousands of T-Buckets exist today — many built by CCR and many more by home builders around the world thanks to CCR’s professionally executed and widely adopted T-Bucket plans (estimated at 4000 T-buckets in 1977). As a result of his early exit from the business, in my opinion, Ted Brown is perhaps the most influential, yet unrecognized, T-bucket chassis designer of all time.

Today, Ted is “retired” in Bakersfield, CA and still driving his T-bucket which has racked up over 200,000 miles and has been home to a variety of engines, including Buick nailhead as well as big block and small block Chevys. CCR’s successful T-Bucket enterprise continues today in Chino, CA, with continuous refinement of the original T-Bucket chassis and production of “the world’s best T-Bucket body”.

Ted A Brown
Postscript April 27, 2015: We were saddened to learn that Ted Brown was stricken with a rare form of atypical Parkinson’s and passed away. He will be missed by many, but his legacy will not be forgotten.
You may view Ted’s obituary and share your thoughts in the Guest Book here>

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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.
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