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Doors in a T-Bucket


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Has anyone put in doors to a Spirit or any other bucket?
A lot of guys do it successfully, but I never have. What turned me against them is that a buddy of mine had an opening door on the passenger side of his bucket, and when I rode shotgun my arm would get pinched as we drove down the road. The flexing of the body would close up the door gap at the top where my arm was resting. :eek: That'll get your attention real quick.

But I bet a lot of our members have them and they don't have that problem. Me, I just jump over the side.........well, at my age, I CLIMB over the side. :rulz:

I put extra big doors in both sides of my bucket. I filled the door ridges on the inside of the body, then ground the outside ridges off flat. Then put really big doors in.
Here's a door I installed in a Speedway body.
I know, what the............... I need to play some more with the picture posting. I'll get it.....just give the ol' man time.
Looks sweet to me Youngster and RPM I like yours too! The whole reason I'd like to get a door (at least one) is my wife can not as of now get in and out of it. We bought a Spirit bucket couple weeks ago and the wife is 4'10" and has MS and she can not climb.
Currently it has an insert, but looking at Youngsters there, I may be able to do away with that and gain a little more space for this old fat man too! What kind of hinges and latches did you all use?
Car Craft did an excellent build up series in the late 60's or early 70's. They built an entire T bucket from the ground up, fabricating almost every piece, it was a great article. Anyway, the put an opening door in the car and the way they did it was to first laminate some wood in the door jam area so that when they cut out the door half of the wood pieces would be on the door part and half would be on the body. This created a door jam.

They did like RPM and used original Model T hinges because there is a little bit of weight hanging off of them, especially when the door is open, and the T hinges are strong. I think they used Coupe hinges and modified them, but not 100 percent sure about that. They also used a model T latch.

My body had a door already in it, but it got scrapped when I stretched the body. The way to do it is to glass wood to cover the seam, then cut through it all, leaving behind two jambs. The trick is to cut it such that the door doesn't hang up when opening it. On the bottom side, you'll need to keep the cut level even though the body is rounded.

I used original T hinges. I notched my door from the inside, and glassed in two pieces of 3/16" plates. Filled the area with glass. Then drilled through the end of the door, through the glass and tapped the plates to mount the hinge straps to the door edge. Pretty strong.
As guys are the best! I just now get up the courage to do it.:pray:

RPM....what seats are in yours? Also, I'll be giving you a call soon to get a new tank too.

Thanks again!

Those seat are out of a Ford Lightning. They won't fit in a regular T. My body has been stretched 8" and made wider by 6". It is very comfortable to ride in. The seats have air lumbar support and heat, althogh I don't have the heaters hooked up.
I placed a order with Speedway for the hinges and latches this afternoon, guess I'll start the fabrication this weekend.

Thanks again guys! It's people like RPM , Don, Fred, Humidi-T, and Youngster make this place tops!
The body in the picture is a Speedway with a door cutout. It's a very good body but for the money, if I where to do it now, I would get the standard body without the cutout.

This is a quick version of how I installed the door in a body without the cutout. First I made contour templates of the body, one in front of the door and one behind it. Then cut the door Following the outside of the bead around the door. Next make up the front, rear and bottom door jams using the contour templates and extend them 1/2" into the opening. With them glassed in place, the door frame is next. I use 4 pieces of wood for this. Glue the pieces together lapping the wood at the corners. Fit the frame in the opening using shims to get a 1/4" gap at the sides and the bottom.

For the hinge, I use a stock T. Set the hinge on the front door jam and cut a piece of 10ga. to place on the opposite side of the jam. Drill thru the jam and the plate using the hinge as a template. Install 1/4"-20 counter sink bolts in the holes. Now mount the door frame to the hinge the same way.

Speedway sells the latch and the stricker. Use the latch that looks like a stock T one. The side of the latch that goes to the edge of the door has a brake in it from the face of the latch. This is not quite a 90 degree angle. You want to trim the back edge of the door to match this angle. That will give the clearance for the door to open without binding on the jam.

To fit the latch to the door, you will need to carve a pocket in the top piece of wood. Use caution here not to remove too much materal or there won't be any where for the mounting screws to go. Now mount the stricker the same way as the hinge with a 10ga. backing plate.

Sand the outside of the door frame 'til it matches the door jam. The skin should lap the body 1/2" on both sides and the bottom. At the top, shape the frame so the skin laps the jam and is flush with the top of the quarter panel. Hold the skin up to the frame and mark and cut the bead for the hinge and glass the door skin to the frame.

There you have it. Easy access for the passenger and for you. If something isn't clear to you, post your question here and I'll try to answer it.

RPM said:
Those seat are out of a Ford Lightning. They won't fit in a regular T. My body has been stretched 8" and made wider by 6". It is very comfortable to ride in. The seats have air lumbar support and heat, althogh I don't have the heaters hooked up.

I imagine you suitably lengthened the frame to accomodate that 8" stretch, but since you widened the body did you widen the frame too?

Yes the frame was strectched out to wheelbase of 120" and it was made 4" wider. At 6'1" an 300 plus getting in and out of a regular T was no fun. Not to mention trying to drive it for any long period of time. So we built the big boys T.

Making the frame 4" wider makes it a lot easier to run coolers and a bigger radiator. More room around starters and alternators also.
When I opened the doors on this bucket I fabbed all the parts first and intalled them into the body. The hinge and the latch were intalled first, then I cut the glass body. This way everything was kept in perfect aligment as there is no adjustment in a model T hinge.

Made the posts and wings from 1" square tube and welded on some flat 10 ga plates. Lots of holes for bondo to grip to.

Then slotted out for the hinges to poke thru.
I guess my pictures are too big, it won't let put them all in one post.

Any way then this pc is bondo to the inside of the body


Then do the same with the latches. I drilled small holes where the door was to be cut then kinda connected the dots


Then cut the door open

I have a lot more pics, so if you want more let me know. After all this I glassed over all the parts inside. Then used an inline sander to straighten up the cuts and get the proper gap.
Yes, more pics please!!!!

I'm 6'2" myself and though I fit in T being a bit more comfortable would be nice. I was going to just live with it since the majority of my trips I'm imagining would be short ones around town. If I could make a XXFat Boy versioun though I may be able to have my cake and eat it too :)

I haven't done much fiberglass work. I looked around a bit for a good book on the subject but haven't found one yet (Tex Smith's fiberglass book is a JOKE!), anyone have any recommendations?


Re: Door hinges cheep too

I'll try and get some photos of the hinges I made,the pair $6 and after a trip to the vise,few cuts and some polishing they'll work great and look like there new but stock from the 1900's. I'll be using them on the doors of 1917 bucket Hupmobile roadster,more or less like T-buck this time. More later when I get some picks,so you can tell what i'm talking about .
i put a door in my first T, which was a VW-T. i 'glassed 1" x 5" wood where the door wood be cut and cut it out. a problem developed with it after it was on the road for awhile, the wood broke free from the fiberglasss. i always wondered if the hinges i had wouldn't hold the weight or my 'glass work or if the way a body is made with the door option where the top edge of the body continues down the door frame doesn't add more stiffness.:confused::confused:

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