Ron Pope Motorsports                California Custom Roadsters               

Kit Car Magazine, editorial on T-bucket

Can this really be done? And I'm NOT beating the article at all because I believe that the writer hit almost all of the high points. But 10 grand? I know thats a great thought, but the one I finished 20 years ago had more than half that amount in it and I built most everything from frame, front axle, the body cost $99 and looked it and I painted it myself. My current car is way over the 10 grand mark and most of that is in the materials and the drivetrain that I have no control over. Now I know there are some super duper scroungers out there that can make the unbeliviable happen. But I hate it when asked if a certian person can build one of these things and know if the skill or the pocket book is there, Yes is can be done but those that spill out the thought that with 10 grand and not much more (I'm using the article now) you can be on the road having fun. If it was as easy as all that would this site be here?
Now please excuse this rant as I know most of the people on here do not fit any single sterotype, but I had several ( I mean like 10 ) people ask me about my "kit car" today and that is not what I have built unless buying a body that needed a lot of work makes it such. Now excuse me I feel a lot better. Thank you for your time.
Ever have somebody come up to your car and tap on it ? Anyway, $10,000... not for a finished one unless a guy likes rat rod paint and used motors. I am basing this on how much I have put into my car with me doing all the labor - after buying a complete car needing only upgrades. I think a "cheap:" hotrod is the coolest thing in the world, but I am sure a T bucket is most economical way to do that. I have a sloppy looking 55 Oldsmobile Rat Rod thats a homebrew and I could build probably 8 cars like that for what my little bucket cost me.
I built mine for $9,674.67 (counted up my reciepts tonight) and it's my first one. I still need to drop another $300 for two rear ties and my emergency brake handle. It's not painted. My engine came from a junkyard, but me and a friend rebuilt it. It's a stock SBC and moves me VERY well. I got a lot of breaks on parts and that is what saved me a ton of money.

It can be done for under $10,000 easy. I could have saved about $3,000 if I had known at the beginning, what I know now. I'm planning on doing a Speedster and it's not only going to look better than my T, but I think I can do it for about $7,000.
coloradotbucket said:
...Anyway, $10,000... not for a finished one unless a guy likes rat rod paint and used motors...

I'm just too anal... have to have this, might as well do this, etc... I stopped adding when I hit $45,000 and that's before leather interior, and cloth top and new axle RPM built for me! :eek:

And yes I did all the work except for machine shop work on the motor, pin-striping and graphics, top, and sewing the interior!
I have a T-P kit, when ya go to the TP site and load the basket you get over 10,000. less motor, trans,tires, paint ect. Every one will yell ya if you don't already have a shop and tools and good friends who donate time and help source parts you cannot builds a rat ot T under 10,000. so a good option is buy one already built and fine tune it your liking. saveing big bucks.
There are many great options and the internet is a new way for spreading info which is fantastic.,
My point of view is; I want to do it by me for me to drive and have fun. I am sure that are thousands out there just like me. These articals in rags do get people interested so no matter what their writtings it is great to have other views and options. Now I'm getting that white line feaver again,,,:razz:
mine will be over 10K but i'm like lumenAL. my 80 chevy truck i am around the 15K mark and or more and it isnt painted yet. $3500 in the rearend and suspension on it, but it shouldnt ever break .. started off to be a simple rearend narrowing and ladder bar set-up and cheap coil-overs, ended up being a full backbrace 9inch, 35 spline moser axles,full spool, 4:88 gears daytona pinion support, billet yokes, afco double adjustable shocks and wilwood disks..

my t-bucket is about the same. you can set budgets for yourself,but i'm like lumenal, if i'm there why not do it the best you can while your there..

I'm getting to be a tightwad i'm going to stay somewhat budget minded on the T-bucket..and actually already have started it. sold the blower i had and building the engine with that and getting some gauges and already bought tunnelram setup.. just took the blower money and stretched it a little more is all..

I think you could keep budget minded, and doing almost all of it yourself you could do it easy, especially if you were building from scratch..i even built my drop tube axle though, building from scratch, i mean like taking Youngsters plans and going to the steel supplier and buying the steel and getting to work :D i would think doing absolutely everything yourself and staying budget minded you could build a nice T for under $10k easy.. but buying a kit and building it from a kit, i dont see it happening...
i got around $2500 in mine . but its got a used motor and rat rod paint on it....:D. ...BUT its not finished either. gonna get good paint one day and maybe even some chrome:eek:.... i built mine from the ground up . made alot of my parts myself ..... because i couldnt afford new ones.... a budget is a budget... it took me 4 years and most of that was waiting for the parts to show up. if you wait long enought theyll show up.. cant tell you how many times i just wanted to pick up the phone and call TP and order a new part. but thats also the fun part , finding that just right part at a swap meet or a 'yard. kinda like burried tressure...
You may get started for less than 10K, but I get the feeling if you keep it any time you'll have more than that in it. I already have plans in the next year or so to add a blower, more chrome and etc. It a work in progress for most of us. It's the fun factor that is priceless!
I told my Grandson (he's 2 months) the other night, "One day this will be all yours!" cause all of his inheratence will be going in to it.:D
Ya know, I don't realy care how much my car is going to cost. I have a vision of what it will look like when it hits the street. It would be nice to get to that point for under 10 grand, but I don't want to look at it that way. For me, it's not about the money spent. It's more the challenges that are over come and the sence of pride in what ends up sitting in front of me. That part is true weather it's my car or someone elses that I'm working on.

Al has a beautiful car, I am amazed at the way the whole car fits together so well. Well done my friend! Then there is Bruce's Becky. This car could easily serve as a benchmark for anyone building their own T. Again, well done my friend. God forbid I would ever be put in a spot where I would have to choose between them. If my modifed even gets to park in the shadow of either of these 2 cars, I would feel so fortunate.

In short, damn the torpedos, build your car the way you want it. If you really want chrome this and that, you will find a way to afford it or at least justify it.

I think a person could still build a nice T for $10,000. And not a rat rod, or something tossed together from junk. But a nice, fun car. But they will need to be able to do it all themselves.
In 2000, me and my father built his first T for just a little over $10,000. And it was all new parts. He bought a spirit body, bed and seat insert. Then he bought a front axle and spindles from total performance, and I bought a set of CCR plans, and we went at it. All the fab work, body work, etc was done by us. I have a friend that painted it in his garage. And the only thing farmed out was a little powder coating, and the interior. It had a new GM 350 crate motor. I scored a six duece set up on ebay for a good price. And I did a lot of carefull internet shopping. I want to say the only junk yard part was the 9" ford rear end. And it was a pretty nice car. He drove the crap out of it for 6 years, then sold it for $16,500. :confused:



LKE..Where didyou get those dog legs for the header collectors? They are really cool. could solve some problems (burnt legs) for some people.

Youngster said:
LKE..Where didyou get those dog legs for the header collectors? They are really cool. could solve some problems (burnt legs) for some people.


They are just 90's from speedway cut in half and then welded back together to make the offset. And then ceramic coated afterwards.
LKE, I admired it at the Nat's in Omaha a few years ago. Can you tell us more about the torsion bar front suspension, like where'd you get the bar, etc.?


Here is an under construction shot. The torsion bar unit came from S&W race cars. They use them on their altereds. It comes with the outside tube, torsion bar, and arms. It's a pretty nice piece. There is needle bearings inside for the bar to ride on. I want to say it was about $340 then. We used the arms on the torsion for the upper locators, and made some lower round tube bars. The different length bars were never a problem, since the car only had a couple inches of suspension movement.


The spring rate of the bar was kinda stiff, but overall the car rode pretty good. It wasn't so bad that we ever messed with it. Like trying to turn down the bar, or lengthen the bars for more leverage, to reduce the spring rate. Since you kinda sit over the rear axle of a T, we concentrated on that end for a good ride. A couple air bags, and some big $$$ vari shocks from chris alston's chassis works, made for a nice ride.
That's interesting stuff. Couldn't help but to notice the bender in the second pic. That's not what you used to shape your tubing is it? Also noyiced your jig table. I didn't think anyone else used this piece of high tech stuff.

This is one of those cars you have to study. There are so many small details that you will over look. It's a sweet T. No wonder you got $16,500 for it. Nicely done.

Youngster said:
That's interesting stuff. Couldn't help but to notice the bender in the second pic. That's not what you used to shape your tubing is it? Also noyiced your jig table. I didn't think anyone else used this piece of high tech stuff.


No that bender is not for tubing LOL. That is a harbor freight strap bender, I have a pretty nice hydraulic tubing bender. Yep we use all the high tech stuff here... plywood, concrete bocks, plumbers tape LOL. I now have a nice chassis table, perfectly flat, and square... really nice. And most of the time, it has a piece of plywood on it, covered with cardboard for painting parts on :pint:

     Ron Pope Motorsports                Advertise with Us!