Time alone is an astonishing feature of this beautiful black T Bucket, taking a mere four months to build. We’re talking Darwin, a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Sydney or Melbourne where speed shops and suppliers are easily accessible. Ask any car builder their key to success and more often the response will include planning.
Programming an efficient build is one thing, funding it is another. The sale of a souped up Subaru WRX, a car George built for Improved Production, provided the folding stuff. To race at a V8 Supercar event was on George’s ‘bucket-list’ and the Subaru was his ticket. However, it was discovered George’s heart was beating to an irregular drum and the advice for continued life was to avoid hurtling around race tracks.
George’s bucket-list also included a T Bucket – a more medically-friendly form of motoring. Much like Darwin’s geographical alienation from other capitals, building a Bucket is far removed from Improved Production circuit racers. Furthermore, his experience with rods amounted to; squat!
His first initiative was to read as many magazines as possible. Naturally including Cruzin, he noted who had worked on what cars and poured over the ads to develop a hit-list for further research. George explains; ‘From here it is a simple case of product research, the same as when you buy a new hot water service or TV’. Magazines also provide ideas, or as George puts it; ‘you need to prioritise a list of what you don’t want on a car and work from there’.
His research led him to Ian Cameron who would ultimately build the chassis. With a three month turnaround to deliver a rolling chassis complete with leaf spring front and set up for a Jag independent rear, George got busy acquiring parts.
His bucket-list Bucket also had an accompanying wish list. That Jag rear was a non-negotiable. The first part to lob into his hands was the Enderle injection hat he sourced on Ebay from a seller in California. The brass lamps were next, again courtesy of Ebay, this time coming from New York. His Ebay searching also provided some body options although like variants commercially available, they came in separate pieces, and some with doors, some without. What he preferred was a one piece unit and was lucky enough to find one, and as can be the case with Ebay, at half the cost of a new one.
Three months went by quickly and when the chassis arrived it was married to the body with fabricated aluminium mounts to achieve a body rake. The body was prepped externally for paint and internally with the necessary holes and mounts for interior appointments. The engine and trans were also bolted into position while down the other end a Jag rear headed north from the deep south city of Mt Gambier. A pit stop in Adelaide to A1 Chrome Finishers had it shining brilliantly. By the end of it all the body would be fitted and removed three times and the engine twice.
While Matt from Ace Paint and Panel was applying the multi-coloured pearl infused Lambo black paint, George was fitting new DBA slotted and cross-drilled rotors all round together with VL Turbo front calipers. The rolling stock became an exercise in Ebay acquisition strategy. When he saw Weld’s Gold Magnums he was hooked, a perfect match for the gold lanterns. The desired sizes were sixes and tens but being a different stud pattern only further increased complexity. If it got all too hard he could always buy new or revert to Convos. He was bidding on a set of fronts when a set of rears came up. He requested the rears not be sold until he knew he’d won the fronts. The planets aligned and Gold Magnums from various cities were united in Darwin.
The powder coated chassis was fitted with the body and driveline for the final time and it got interesting when it came to the Enderle induction. Electronic injection was George’s aspiration but what he didn’t want was a plate with injectors sticking out of it. After repeatedly being told it couldn’t be done he contacted an old friend, Alan at Concept Auto House and neither of them were ready to accept the ‘can’t be done’ consensus. In a nutshell, or Enderle injector hat in this case, the guys implanted shortened V6 Commodore fuel rails and injectors while the 1400 cfm throttle body resides behind the middle butterfly, the other two closed. They’ve also managed to jam a filter in amongst it too. A Microtech computer orchestrates the electronics which includes all six injectors firing sequentially. Two ignition packs, four coils each are located under the dash which explains the leads being plugged into the firewall.
Under that crowning glory of initiative is another Ebay item in the form of a 6-71 blown 350 Chev with an accompanying Turbo 400 trans that was unearthed in Canberra. Lifted from another rod that was to undergo a Hemi transplant, the mild 350 is almost as it was. George replaced rocker covers, timing cover and sump with alloy items and polished the manifold to match the blower. The bottom end was checked out in the process and the only other addition has been a new water pump. The kitted Turbo 400 received a simple service and paint prior to be slotted in.
T Bucket trim is reasonably straight-forward but George continued to commit to detail. The hood was an exercise in styling, working with the trimmer to ensure the angular proportions were to his liking. George made the windscreen frame, converted the piston for the column mount – in fact everything apart from trimming the custom made seat in black leather.
Any project or task can be measured in time, cost and quality, where one cannot normally be changed without affecting the other. In George’s case, his accelerated build time didn’t adversely affect quality and he’s produced one of the coolest buckets around.