If there was ever a story written about the unbreakable bond between rod and rodder, this has to be it. Jim Arkebauer owns this old-school, ’23 Bucket T roadster, and the story of how he got it would bring a tear to any rodding enthusiast’s eyes.
Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, Arkebauer brought his first car, a ’41 Ford two-door sedan, with literally $75 that he had saved from a job at a local bicycle repair shop and a paper route. Arkebauer’s dad bought him his first two dollars-worth of gas, at $0.25 per gallon, and young Jim drove the car through Kansas City’s Swope Park.
This would be the first-and-last time that Arkebauer would drive the ’41 on public streets, and for two years after, he would rebuild the car and run it up-and-down an alley nearby.
This was until young Jim was about to turn 14, when he and his family were getting ready to move to Omaha. Arkebauer’s dad wouldn’t let him take the car to their new house, and young Jim had to title the car over to his best friend.
Young Jim would eventually find a job at a local gas station, and would go on to buy a ’49 Ford 2-door with a Flathead. In spite of all these great rods owned, Arkebauer still yearned for his dream rod, a T-bucket with a shoehorned V8.
He would eventually find his ’23 “T” through his son, Tim, who had notified his dad about the Kansas-built “Kustom” after Arkebauer had confided in him, over lunch, that his unfulfilled dream was to own a T-bucket.
This ’23 is a fiberglass-bodied car, with a Chevy 350 on a custom frame, and 4-wheel disc brakes with 17″-wide rear tires. The car also features an original, 1927 Model T windshield with kerosene lamps, adding to the originality of the street rod.
Whether real or replica, we know that this Bucket T was and is a long-time dream of Arkebauer’s, and now that he’s achieved his dream, we doubt if he’ll be wanting to wake-up from it for quite a while!