Featured Vehicles

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



  • Sanderson Classic Roadster headers, internally baffled



  • 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


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

Rear Axle 

Wheels and Tires 


  • 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



  • 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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  1. What a rad paint job! Nice story.

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  3. Lots of money but not much taste. It’s really the opposite of the original hot-rodding ethos which was innovation, function and performance. not throwing a bunch of expensive parts together all covered in chrome and bright paintwork.

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  7. Awesome! This is amazing with a nice paint color, looks elegant.

  8. Wow! I love the color combination of this newly painted car.

  9. Thanks for sharing this blog, it looks so nice with an attractive colors of this car. Great work!

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  11. This is what I’ve been working all my life to afford. So jealous of the owner of this. Makes life worth living, I bet.

  12. Wow, I love vintage cars and this makes me so jealous!!

  13. Thanks for sharing this great innovation with this car.

  14. Awesome article! Great work.

  15. Great information you’ve shared here.

  16. Thanks for sharing this information!

  17. Glad to see this great information.

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