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
- Blown 386 c.i.d. small block Chevy making over 500 horsepower with nitrous
- Eagle Specialty rotating assembly
- Isky Racing Cams camshaft
- Chevy cast iron “194” cylinder heads with stainless steel valves
- Polished BDS 6-71 supercharger; overdriven producing 10 lbs. of boost
- Dual Demon 625 cfm carburetors
- Magneto-style tuned electronic distributor
- 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
- Direct-style vertical steering shaft with manual box and mechanical linkage
- Solid axle front suspension with coilover springs and shocks
- 4-link with coilover springs and shocks
- 4-wheel power disc brakes with separate reservoir and booster
- GM 8.5″ with Eaton TrueTrac differential, 3:73 gears
Wheels and Tires
- Boyd directional wheels wrapped in Hoosier 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
- Custom-made seat finished in gray tweed with purple leather accents
- Polished dash with custom digital gauges and AutoMeter sending units
- Interior work by Bells Trim & Design, Inc.
- 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