Tuesday, May 17, 2022 |
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Like a lot of young men, Cory Paden was interested in “cool cars.” He owned a few over the years, and wishes he still had the ‘67 Chevy Nova he drove as a senior in high school. But things happen in life that change one’s priorities. Believe it or not, making a down payment on a home became more important than owning a cool car, so he sold the Nova. As the years rolled by, the car bug lingered, and for Paden, the one car that stayed on the “want list” in the back of his mind was a T-Bucket Roadster.
Stripped-down Model T Fords, manufactured from 1909 to1927, were most likely the first “hot rods.” The two-seat roadster had a bucket-shaped body with a turtle deck trunk. Many early hot rodders disposed of the turtle deck and replaced it with a short pickup box or a fuel tank mounted behind the bucket. Because so many Model T’s were lost to scrap drives during World War II, they became scarce. Companies began making fiberglass replica T-Buckets as early as 1957, and today, most of the T-Buckets seen on the road are fiberglass-bodied. But not this one — Paden’s T-Bucket is a “real steel” unit made by Henry Ford.
About 10 years ago, Cory Paden’s brother was living and working in California. He told Cory about a T-Bucket a co-worker had for sale. When Cory found out about it, he jumped on it. Paden’s T is mounted on a frame constructed of chrome moly tubing. A small block 327 cubic inch Chevy engine is fed by a pair of four-barrel Edelbrock carburetors and backed by a Turbo 350 automatic transmission. A Weiand supercharger gives the engine added boost. The “zoomie” headers were built by Millers Custom Headers in Orange County, Calif.
Paden recently dismantled his T-Bucket and refreshed everything before putting it back together. The flawless purple finish was applied by Bobby Barros and his crew at Auto Stylin’ and Performance in Lihu‘e. The tasteful blue flames were artfully rendered by Rylan of 420 Air here on Kaua’i. The black “convertible” top was fabricated by Noah at Fred’s Auto Top Shop on O’ahu, as was the gray upholstery. The front of the car features a brass radiator sitting above a dropped tube axle. The rear axle is an eight-inch Ford unit with coil-over shock absorbers. The 15-inch diameter rims are the “Fast Lane” models from Billet Specialties — 14 inches wide on the back, five inches on the front. For Cory, riding in his T-Bucket is a dream come true — almost like riding in his own full-sized Hot Wheels toy. What makes it even better is getting to ride in his T-Bucket with his patient, supportive wife Dana.
• Wheels in Motion is a weekly feature showcasing interesting island vehicles and the unique people who own them. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to suggest a vehicle that should be in the spotlight.
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