In answer to the question, “Is there any way today to build a T-Bucket hot rod on a real budget?” I have to respond with an emphatic “yes”. To prove that point, you can now buy a new fiberglass T-Bucket body for only $275. That kind of price hasn’t been seen for a bucket body since the turn of the century. And, if you want a pickup bed, turtle deck, seat insert or grille shell they’re all comparably bargain priced, too. This is all thanks to the fine folks at Cromwell Molding Company in Paynesville, Minnesota and the fact that, through circumstances beyond their control, they’ve eliminated the middle man.
You see, Cromwell Molding produced fiberglass T-Bucket bodies and parts for the former MAS Racing Products in St. Paul which went out of business. Now, I know that when you mention MAS bodies on just about any Internet hot rod forum that some poster will sit behind his keyboard and say, “Oh, those MAS bodies are crap” or something similar. I’ll venture that most of them are just passing along something they heard somebody else say that he heard somebody else say. Well, I actually bought a MAS body several years ago and can tell you that it’s a very good value for the money. Of course, you can spend way more and get a better body that may not require as much prep work, but if you’re really building a T-Bucket on a budget and are ready to benefit from a little “sweat equity” while having fun doing it then you can’t go wrong with a body like this.
As an example, you may recall the “Garage Scene” in the January, 2001 issue of Street Rodder magazine that showed the beginnings of Nick Conti’s “low buck T-Bucket” project and pointed out that “the body is the cheapest bucket he could find new”, which was a MAS body.
Then, the March, 2003 issue of Street Rodder did a great feature story on Nick’s “Low-Buck Bucket” and it turned plenty of heads for two good reasons.
The first reason it commanded major attention was that it looked absolutely awesome. The second reason was that his total investment to build what became a magazine feature car was “just shy of $6800!” Just as Russ Freund showed the world with his Takeout T, it’s entirely possible to build a great-looking T-Bucket hot rod without investing tons of money.
Cromwell’s been building fiberglass T-Bucket bodies since around 1989 and they are chopper gun sprayed 1/8+ inch thick bodies and parts. As noted, the ’23 T fiberglass body is $275, which is a price the market hasn’t seen since back before the year 2000.
Their T-Bucket body dimensions are normal size: 52″ from firewall to back of body, 42″ from door to door, 27″ tall in back, and 25″ tall to dash. They weigh approximately 45 pounds. In case you’re curious, such a body will fit in the back of a regular size SUV like a Durango.
If you’re anywhere within driving distance of Paynesville, Minnesota, (which is about 90 miles west of Minneapolis) you’re probably best off arranging to pick up your body and other fiberglass parts there. Cromwell can palletize, shrink wrap and load your parts for you for $25 if you’re having them picked up by a truck line, but you have to make your own freight company arrangements and they need to pick up at Cromwell from 7 a.m. to noon.
Their T pickup beds are offered in three different lengths: 14″, 20″ and 30″ and are $125 each.
They also have a nice seat insert (like the ones offered in the old Bird T-Bucket kits) for only $110, which does a great job of adding rigidity to the body as well. It’s my understanding that to install the fiberglass seat insert, you slide the body over it so that the lip on the top of the seat insert is covered by the lip on the top of the body. The two parts are then temporarily screwed together so that you can bond the seat insert to the body with fiberglass. When the fiberglass has dried appropriately, the screws are removed and the holes are filled in. This also takes care of your floorboard and transmission tunnel fabrication requirements, in addition to providing seating, so it’s a nice way to kill a lot of birds with one stone.
If you want to build your T-Bucket with a turtle deck, they have those at just $100.
They have a nice T grille shell with integral mounting tabs for $50.
With these kinds of bargain prices on T-Bucket bodies and parts, you really have no excuse for not starting your build project right now. I doubt you can find a used body for less. First, though, be sure to download your copy of “How to Build a T-Bucket Roadster for Under $3000”. There’s no better motivation for getting that T-Bucket project moving than having Chester’s 250+ page eBook to guide you every step of the way and a nice, new fiberglass T-Bucket body in your garage just waiting for you to get to work on it.
Another nice thing about Cromwell is that they typically have these bodies and parts in inventory, so you don’t have to worry about lead time delays. And just so you know, this isn’t an ad but rather a public service for budding T-Bucket builders. When we see something that’s a good deal, we like to let our loyal followers know about it.
You should also know that Cromwell is getting ready to introduce a new T-Bucket body with opening doors: left, right or both. That will be a nice addition to their product line.
You can reach Cromwell at:
Cromwell Molding Company
27546 State Highway 23
Paynesville, MN 56362-9780
Just be sure to tell them you heard about them at TBucketPlans.com.
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31 thoughts on ““Turn of the Century” Fiberglass T-Bucket Body Bargains”
how do i buy a body
Just go to Cromwell Molding’s website at http://www.HotRodFiberglass.com for the latest prices and to buy a T-Bucket body, pickup bed, turtle deck, grille shell, seat insert or whatever. Thanks.
Sorry about asking about a blog I meant to ask about the podcast have listened to the first but that’s all I could find thanks again Brian
Not a problem, Brian.
Our second episode with TV Tommy Ivo is here T-Bucket Podcast Episode 2
The third episode that was published yesterday is here T-Bucket Podcast Episode 3
You can always find the latest episodes on the Episodes page.
But I recommend you subscribe using one of the methods we outline in our How to Subscribe page.
Thanks for listening and your continued support, John
Hi Mr Morehead just wondering when the blogs are going to start coming out thanks for all you info and all you do Brian
Whoud like to get a 23 t bucket body with two doors in it.
Hello. What company sells bucket kits that both doors open? Thanks
Do you know if the make any other bodies beside the T
This looks very god to me i vill konsider this When i come to The states next week . I live in sweden .
Can I find a body that is about 10 inches longer (for leg room) somewhere in your inventory. I have had a picture of a T Bucket with a stretched body and frame since the early 70’s and now I am thinking of building another T bucket, but this time longer like the one in the picture, Thanks.
Thanks for asking, John, but you need to contact Cromwell Molding Co directly since they are the manufacturer.
27546 MN-23, Paynesville, MN 56362
Phone: (320) 243-4965 and ask for Tyler.
Cromwell Molding Company
how much is a t bucket with doors cost
What are their prices as of 2018?
* 30″ Bed
Are yall still open?
Do you supply and export complete fibreglass kit’s model t bucket
I just got off the phone with Tyler at Cromwell Molding Co. They still make the T-bucket parts shown above. Prices have changed slightly: Bodies are $285, beds are $135, grill shells are $60, and the seat insert is $135. These prices include sales tax. Lead time is about 1 1/2 weeks out when you place an order. The cool thing is that I live less than 2 hours drive from them!
Cromwell also produced the fiberglass parts for MAS/Racing Unlimited back in the old days, and still has a lot of the molds for various car parts. The only problem is that the molds are numbered, and they don’t have a reference for what the parts are. If anyone has any old MAS/Racing Unlimited catalogs, Tyler said that they would be interested in them for the part numbers for the parts that they represent.
Hope this helps!
Thanks so much for the nice update, John. This is one of the most popular posts we’ve ever done and I’m sure people will appreciate your updates.
Ordered my T-bucket body and grill shell about two months ago from Cromwell. It looks great. My son and I are working hard through the summer to build his first hotrod. Thanks for the tip.
Glad to hear it, Brant. As things progress, please send us some pics of the T-Bucket you and your son are building. We’d love to share your father-son project’s progress with our readers.
Anyone know if Cromwell Molding Co has a web site or a e-mail address?
I am interested in a T-bucket with both doors that open.
You’ll have to contact them the “traditional” way: by phone or mail. I’m sure it’s the low overhead that keeps their bodies so affordable.
i wrote the article on nicks t bucket, i am his son dominic, i was very happy to see the pic on this website, nick passed away just after completing the lo buck bucket, if anyone has any questions on the car feel free to e mail me firstname.lastname@example.org
you ought to put this on (3cylinders.com) T-Bucket pickup body and frame..
Is Traders village a flea market? Wha tis the name of the vendor so I can try to find them at the Traders village in San Antonio.
Yes, Traders Village is a flea market. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the vendor. They were a large Mom and Pop operation so I doubt they would have another store in another city. They did have a very large permanent store location within Traders Village. They’ve been there for a long time so they will very likely still be here if you made the trip.
They gave me a generic restaurant style receipt without their name on it. (I wouldn’t expect to return it if you find fault in it, even though they said I could. I liked the quality and the price so much, I bought it anyway.) If you can get them to give you a receipt with their name on it, it may make it easier to register the car once you get it built. I didn’t think to ask them for one at the time.
They said the body came from Mexico, so it seems likely that someone at the San Antonio Trader’s Village would have been contacted by the Mexican manufacturer as well. They had various other fiberglass car products – fenders, hood scoops, pedal cars, etc.
Unless you are driving from far, far away specifically for this body, I still wouldn’t consider it a wasted trip. I think it’s fun to spend an afternoon browsing all the flea market stuff and to watch the people there. I suppose that’s not everyone’s cup of meat, though.
Still, it would be good to know if they have what you’re looking for before you go. The next time I’m there, I’ll try to remember to get their name and number. That being said, I haven’t been back in 6 months so don’t hold your breath until I do.
Woo Hoo! I just picked up a t-bucket body from Trader’s Village in Grand Prarie for $250.00!!!!!!!!
It’s not perfect but it looks pretty good to me!
Woo Hoo! I just pick up a t-bucket body from Trader’s Village in Grand Prarie for $250.00!!!!!!!!
It’s not perfect but it looks pretty good to me!
Hey that’s great! I’ll drive on out there this weekend and pick one up. I noticed you posted this on April 1st. Hope it’s not a joke!
You can buy 1923 T fiberglass bodies all day every weekend at Trader’s Village in Grand Prairie, TX, for $275. At least, the last time I was out there, you could. They are made in Mexico, I believe, as is half the stuff for sale out there.