The Gadberry “Low Bucket”

The Dave Gadberry "Low Bucket" T-Bucket
“Bet I could build one of these — el cheapo.”

The December, 1996 issue of Hot Rod Magazine featured a story by the late Gray Baskerville titled, “Low Bucket — Doin’ a Fad-T for $2.94 a Pound!” After first reading it, I spent countless hours pouring over the three picture-filled pages accompanied by Baskerville’s always entertaining and informative commentary. While I’d been hooked on T-Buckets from around 1959, it wasn’t until four decades later that I had that slap-in-the-head moment when I confidently said to my self, “I can do that.”

What was striking about the Dave Gadberry T, after the 70s and 80s brass ornamental era was its utter simplicity: if it wasn’t absolutely necessary, then it didn’t have it! (Thanks to Hot Rod staffer Will Handzel, who chronicled the budget build of his own ’31 Ford roadster in the September through December 1995 issues, virgin ground had been broken to devote pages in that then-esteemed publication to hot rods that were more than merely “rough around the edges.”)

Dave Gadberry T-Bucket
“Low Bucket — Doin’ a Fad-T for $2.94 a Pound!”

While there were some things about the Gadberry T-Bucket that I wasn’t crazy about, like the non-channeled body, overall it was a very cool low-budget hot rod that certainly appeared achievable by even someone possessing modest talent, tools and budget. By the way, the car was sold a number of times and, as I understand it, now resides on the East Coast and while it has had a few upgrades and changes it is still true to its low-buck hot rod ethos.

Updated version of Dave Gadberry T-Bucket
The Gadberry “Low Bucket” today.

I must not be the only person who appreciated this T-Bucket build and Baskerville’s story. Evidently, it was reprinted in Hot Rod and can be read online almost in its entirety.

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