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A Dreamer...


New Member
Hi, I've been dreaming about a street rod for thirty years. The dream has changed and morphed over that time. But mostly it was a T-Bucket.

I finally got the guts up to enter this post.

My first close up encounter was in the 70's - a guy here in Decatur, IL had a white pearl T with beautiful candy overlays all over it. It was like a show car.

What I would like to build - not brave enough to say I will - is a T with a stretched body - I'm a big boy! I like the traditional, sprint/track T style but not so much the nose.
I'd like a "Youngster" style frame (powder coat or planted semi-flat black) with some side nerf bars - both to serve as nerf bars but also a step into the body. Also a head high roll bar, either right behind the body or at the back. Not really interested in a turtle deck or a pickup bed. I have a beer keg for the gas tank and would like to stuff the battery under the seat.
I would like to have an older I beam axle but can't see spending a lot of money on getting it narrowed.
I want big and littles - either aggressive looking radials or dirt track tires with a moderate rack - on some kind of steel wheel. I don't want it so low you can't drive it.
I don't know what I would do for a grill shell but I would like something different. Maybe a cut down tractor nose or something.
I know it kind of sounds like a 'rat rod' but I've been thinking about this so long it was before anyone was calling them 'rat' rods. I definitely don't want to skimp on the engineering or workmanship - even if it isn't a show queen. Just a hot rod.
For an engine I would also like to be equally "different" - even before I saw the article a while back in Rod & Custom I was thinking about the 3TC Toyota engine. That's the one that is half a hemi - well it is actually a hemi just a four cylinder one. Toyota automatics of that vintage are kind of mushy so it would probably have to be a 4 or 5 speed, they have a nice juice clutch and the steering gear from an old landcruiser makes an excellent steering box.

Youngster your frame plans are excellent. Really got me charged up. I used to be able to weld but I have a pacemaker and am fully paced so I'm not sure it is worth the effort of trying to weld it myself. I was thinking of maybe getting a little stick welder to tack the frame together and then take it to a "real" welder to have him finish it.

My big hurdles right now - Money - I know everyone has that issue but I'm out of work and don't know how long it's going to be.
Maybe, just maybe I can get the steel to do the frame and start cutting it up with my sabre saw, sawzall and angle grinder... Then I can collect a few engine parts to start on the engine. And I need to find me a ratty old fiberglass T body to stretch (great article on NTBA).
Who knows? It could happen. :cool:

Dan the dreamer
First off :D and yep some of us have a very tight budget to build these little cars and like you we have searched high and low for parts till we get enough together to build one ,,this is what is so appealing to these Buckets ,,it may not happen over night but in time it will happen !
and will be worth all the time you spent hunting stuff for your T,, good luck on your build ..
Welcome to the forum! I think most of us started out with just a dream. I dreamt for over 30 years and I finally decided to make it a reality about a 1 1/2 years ago. It can be done, man. I knew I would never be able to build a showcar and that's what I had always dreamed of, because that's all I ever saw in the magazines. As soon as I sat down and worked up a plan, I could begin to see the reality of it. It sounds like you have a good plan and with all the guys on here that have built thier dream car, you'll have a wealth of info when you get started.

Research, plan and ask as many questions as you can or want to. The beauty of this site is that ALL of us have been where you are and understand some of the issues you may have. Just ask.

You already are on the right track to making your dream car a reality. You came here and you let us know where you're at and where you want to go.
kb9jlo said:
...Who knows? It could happen. :cool:

Dan the dreamer

You bet it can happen... don't let the size of the project scare ya off or overwhelm you... It's like how in the heck do you eat an elephant... Well, you just do it one bite at a time... not so different than one part at a time... or one aspect of the project at a time, then all of a sudden... before you realize it... you're done.
Dan, do you like jigsaw puzzles? That's what you are about to do. It's all about taking one sub assembly, working it to the point where it's ready for the next one. there will be times when you go for a long time without any noticable progress and then all of a sudden things just kinda fall into place. At that point you stand back and the biggest grin comes to to your face. "Yeah, Now we're gettin' somewhere."

You've made a great start, You have a plan, an image of your T and all of this with the safety aspect in mind. How could this project fail? As far as the money thing goes, you will just have to do a little more shopping for your parts. As Fred said,"We've all been there!"

From your list of wants, I think I have a good feel for the car you want to build. Here's acouple of things to think about. Look for a complete '37 to '40 front end. Of those years, the '40 would be the best. That would give you hyd. brakes. I have used these on several builds. Dollar for dollar, it's a great way to lo buck the front end you are looking for. You can build your front end for the cost of a bare tube axle.

I haven't been real big on tractor noses, but have often wondered about using a mid '36 Chevy or mopar shell sliced and diced, ('35 Dodge?).

As someone once told me on this site, "If you start today, that's one day sooner you'll have your car done." In any case, stick around. We can get you fired up when you need to be.

Thanks guys. This is the response I was hoping to get. 'Youngster' thanks for the tip on the 37-40 front end - cheaper than a bare tube axle, eh? That's what I'm talking about. And I would rather have the old iron anyway.

I really think I could take my time and cut the pieces out. If I did decide to get a small welder to 'tack' pieces together should I look at a MIG or a stick?
I've always wanted to get a MIG welder but didn't want to get into the expense of the gas and all that.
I guess a flux coated MIG is really not much better than a stick welder??

Whatever I do I will have to try it out somewhere to see what kind of interference it gives to the pacemaker. That could be bad! :eek:
Ha, ha!
But seriously the vendor of the PM says you can do welding if you're careful about the amperage, how close you put your chest to the 'torch' and careful routing of the cables - good ground to avoid the AC noise.

I'm not sure I would like a tractor nose either - screams RAT ROD - but I would definitely want something really different and bigger than a stock T. This month's Street Rodder has an article on a Indy Roadster and either its nose or another was modeled after a Whippet. It was neat.

Dan the dreamer
If you're thinking about buying a welder, you'll never regret it, go with a MIG. Something in at least 140 amp range, 175amp would be better. It'll do any thing on a bucket build you will want it to do. The gas prices aren't that bad. Get an "S" size bottle. For the amount of welding your going to do, it'll last a long time. IMO.

A late '20's Chrysler had a horse collar shell somewhat like a Whippit.

If you can't allready weld, get the mig! You still need to practice, but getting good is a lot easyer than with a stick.
Mike in ep
welcome and let me say....just go do it. I built my car from scratch with no plans in about 9 months while going through a divorce using next to no new parts. I scoured the junkyard for a transmission, rearend, front axle, steering box, wheels and wiring harness. I just kinda figured everything else out as I went. Dont get me wrong, I made huge mistakes and over the last three years do have more money invested (mostly go fast parts) but I can honestly say that I was up and running for less then $2000 dollars.

heres where I started

and where I ended up

If you dont feel like you can spend a lot of money right away buy a mig that will weld with gas or fluxcore wire then you can get a bottle and gauge later. These welders have more adjustment than a fluxcore only and believe me you will need it. good luck with your project. :lol:.. Francis
There are parts on here from time to time that people use to set up car then pass them on to the next builder.Like the set of headers that I saw not to long ago. This is the kind of teamwork that makes these cars happen for low budget builds.
Go tbucketeers
That's an awesome picture with the salt all over it Chop!!

Francis, that's kind of what I was thinking. Youngster has me almost talked in to a MIG. I'd probably buy one from Harbor Freight and make me an extension cord to run it off the dryer outlet, so I could get a 220 model.

I've got Youngster's plans, a set of CCR plans, and some other plans that Ron sent me. I think I still have the R&C with the Fad 'T' plans, too. I picked that up several years ago and held on to it.
Thanks for the encouragement guys!

Dan - the dreamer...
Here's a link to a 27 T with a "baby hemi" in it.
It also has an auto trans. I guess the '75 and later Toys had three speeds and aren't too bad. There are probably ways to crisp up the shifts...
I didn't realize he also had the roll bar...
I would like one just a smidgen higher. Like maybe it would protect my head a little. :lol:
Putz I saw the SBC header lending. That is cool.

Youngster has me interested in locating the whole front end out of a 42-48 and using it complete, splitting the wishbone, even using the brakes.
I'll just bide my time I'm sure there is something in the area that will come up.
Thinking about that got me searching on what it would take to convert a closed banjo rear to an open drive. That's not too hard either. Just requires a machinist or a machinist friend. ;)
I didn't realize it but when you eliminate the torque tube you either have to go to ladder bars (4 link, radius rods, etc) or put a torque bar on it to control the axle wrap. Makes sense when you think about it I guess.
This link shows Hot Rod Works torque arm kit. They also have an open drive conversion kit. But if I went with a banjo rear it would be to save money as well as look cool.
Just sharing some stuff I found this week... Still dreaming! :cool:

Dreamin' Dan
Welcome to the site! Quite a few people have joined since I last checked in so I will say howdy to them also! I enjoyed reading you background motivation for wanting a T and your plans on how you are planning to proceed. Thanks for the info on the Toyota engine. The R & C magazine link was very interesting reading. Keep focused on your plan and take advantage of all the expertise here and I know you'll end up with a great car.
By the way I am KZ5DP. Maybe we can meet up on the air sometimes.


McAllen, Texas.
Dan...You want to find a '37 to '40 front end, not the '41 to 48. The boss for the wishbone is too close to the kingpin bore on the later ones. When you split the 'bones, you will end up with tire to 'bone clearance issues. The '41 to '48 brakes will bolt right on to the '37 to '40 spindles if you find one without brakes.

Ford made an open drive rearend for the "42 to '48 pickups. That's what I'm running in my modified. You have to look for them, but they're out there. My brother, little Youngster, just picked one up for $100. They were used with parallel leafs but you can mix-n-match with the passenger car rearends for the spring hangers, or just fab some.

I'm using hair pins on my rearend but if you want the look of the stock rear 'bones, You can add a collar for a urethane bushing to the 'bone in place of the forging and hide the upper bars made from some DOM tubing. If you deside to go this way, let me know, I can walk you through it.

Stay away from flux core welding. You will have problems with porosity, gas bubbles, in your welds. The only thing flux cored is good for is galvanized. This is one of those times where you just have to step up and spend some $$$. Go with a 220 machine and a bottle of mixed gas. You won't be sorry. Check with some of the farm stores in your area. A friend of mine just bought a Clark 180 amp For $450 on sale. We tried it out and it works just fine. The consumable parts are available from any farm or hardware store. Oh, did I mention, that was with the cart too!


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