Michael Mahan’s 1923 Ford T-Bucket

(Image/Michael Mahan)

Michael Mahan’s 1923 Ford harkens back to the earliest days of hot-rodding—the T-bucket. Featuring a two-seat Model T roadster body with a small turtle deck or pick-up box attached, these “bucket”-shaped shells give the cars their enduring name.

Vertical windshields are typically fitted, and you can usually bet there will be an enormous engine and some large-by-huge tires to get the power to the road.

The “T For II” was created as a no-expense-spared show car about 25 years ago. It has features like incredible full body mural paint and graphics, a hand-formed Carson-style electric top, and hand-etched details on the valve covers, brakes, rear-end, firewall, and other billet aluminum pieces.

All told, the car cost more than $100,000 to build.

The car did very well on the show circuit, establishing itself as a four-time NSCA Champion, World of Wheels winner, magazine cover car, and Best of Show victor in many local events.

But even with all of the accolades, the car hid a terrible secret—it did not run. When its life as a show car ended, T For II ended up in a Maryland collector’s stable. At some point, a half-baked attempt at getting the car running was tried but a lack of finances put the project on hold.

In 2008, the partially disassembled roller was sold to another collector in Arizona. The new owner took a whack at getting the car running too, spending $40,000 on the effort but still never bringing it to life. A few more years passed, and the forlorn former show winner was eventually traded again.

Saved by Texas hot-rodder Michael Mahan in 2018, he was stunned that a car built to this level of showmanship never managed to push a tire under its own power.

In early 2019, Michael got to work.

Great care was taken to preserve the original high-quality show parts while all-new guts were put in place. In just five short months, Michael was able to do what three previous owners over 25 years could not—bring
T For II to life.

FAST SPECS: Michael Mahan’s 1923 Ford
T-Bucket

Engine

Exhaust

  • Sanderson Classic Roadster headers, internally baffled

Transmission 

Chassis

  • Custom built frame with 4-coil spring design
  • Boxed frame rails with internal fuel, transmission, and fuel lines
  • Custom paint and graphics to match body

Steering and Suspension

Brakes

  • 4-wheel power disc brakes with separate reservoir and booster

Rear Axle 

Wheels and Tires 

Body 

  • Fiberglass
    Ford T-Bucket style with shortened pickup box
  • Yellow
    base color with maroon, purple, and blue graphics that continue around and
    under the car; “T For II” mural on
    underside
  • Electric
    Carson-style top formed in aluminum and covered in fabric; raise and tilt functions
  • Hand-etched
    details in all billet aluminum components
  • Paint by Bells Trim & Design, Inc.
  • Hand-etched
    parts by KoKoMo Art

Interior

Awards

  • 4-time
    NSCA Champion
  • World
    of Wheels winner
  • Magazine
    cover car
  • Numerous
    Best of Show wins in local events
  • Rockwall
    Cars for Casa Show winner

Special Thanks to

  • Harry
    Hronas at Performance Racing Engines
  • Sparkey
    at LoneStar Transmissions

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