“Top 3” T-Buckets from Hunnert Car Pileups Past

2010 marks the ninth year for the Hunnert Car Pileup car show/happening. The Hunnert Car Pileup is a car show for hot rodders who build their cars, and drive them. I’ve been fortunate to have attended most of them and wanted to spotlight my Top 3 T-Bucket hot rods from Hunnert Car Pileups of the past.

3. Scott Linder’s “Krylon Special”: This Speedway, Indiana T-Bucket is actually a 1918 Dodge roadster (which is a subject for another day) and is so named because it was painted with Krylon enamel spray paint — and very nicely at that. What’s really cool is the 225 cubic inch Dodge slant six that adds even more distinction to a really great looking T-Bucket.

Scott Linder's Krylon Special 1918 Dodge roadster T-Bucket

The glossy black Krylon finish is perfectly complemented by the red interior, engine block and wire wheels, along with the wide whitewalls and white steering wheel.
Krylon Special Dodge T-Bucket of Scott Linder
The engine-turned dash panel is another touch I love on this car which was put together with the help of Scott’s dad at Bubba’s Hot Rod Shop.
Bubba's Hot Rod Shop built Krylon Special Dodge Roadster T-Bucket

From the rear, this bucket is a real knockout with the vintage fuel tank and those cool 60s space ship inspired tail lights.

2. Bill Von Esser’s 1922 T-Bucket survivor: Originally constructed in 1963 by famed Chicago speed shop owner, Bill Von Esser, this unique T-Bucket made an appearance at the 2003 Hunnert Car Pileup, which was still being held at the original Marty & Sons Body Shop & Painting in Sycamore, Illinois (now also the home of Suicide Axle Hot Rods).
Bill Von Esser Speed Shop T-Bucket
While it’s a decidedly strange looking T-Bucket, with its unchanneled body, bobtail rear, and engine too far ahead of the firewall for my personal taste, I give this hot rod major props because its look is totally unique and after 47 years it is very much a survivor.
Von Esser Speed Shop T-Bucket
Said to have been a rolling advertisement for the Von Esser Speed Shop’s wares, this T-Bucket sports a high horsepower blown Chevy and quickchange rear end, while at the same time sporting carriage lamps and a tall-T top.
T-Bucket and Speed Shop owner Bill Von Esser
I’m a real fan of the bobtail T look and this is one of my favorites dating back almost five decades. Seeing it today makes it even sweeter.

1. Jim Unruh’s Low-Slung T-Bucket: This is one of those T-Buckets that everyone loves because of its “just right” low stance and its many traditional touches. Jim, who runs Lions Hot Rods in McHenry, Illinois, has done an exceptional job executing a modern build of a bucket that looks like it was crafted in the late 50s or early 60s.
Jim Unruh T-Bucket at Hunnert Car Pileup

From its ’37 Ford V8-60 front axle and chopped deuce grille shell, to its three deuces small block and louvered tailgate, this T-Bucket gets long, admiring glances whenever it’s parked and turns heads when Jim goes scooting down the road, almost appearing to be seated on the asphalt.
Jim Unruh Lions Hot Rods T-Bucket at Hunnert Car Pileup

This is one of those T-Buckets where I can honestly say that there’s nothing about it I don’t like. Jim drives it long distances and it’s a timeless classic.
Lions Hot Rods T-Bucket by Jim Unruh at Hunnert Car Pileup
While the original Hunnert Car Pileup quickly outgrew its cozy confines in Sycamore, Illinois, and has now outgrown the Grundy County Fairgrounds, I hope its success continues in Decatur, Illinois, some 175 miles south of the original location. And, I’m sure many more memorable T-Buckets will appear over the years.

John Morehead
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1 thought on ““Top 3” T-Buckets from Hunnert Car Pileups Past”

  1. I owned Chester’s Essex framed red T-bucket in 2004 and brought it to Pileup #3, Alas, I have no pictures due to a harddrive meltdown.


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