What happens when the company you work for releases a new fender kit for the classic ford Model T? Well, you build a T-bucket from the ground up of course! That’s exactly what five ladies from the Speedway Motors team are doing — taking on a first-ever build for most and learning a heck of a lot about the industry they’re involved in along the way!
The ladies are chronicling their journey online, posting about it on social media sites, blogging on their own website, and making countless memories as they take on a build of mass proportions over a relatively small time frame.
Meet The Ladies
The all-female build team is made up of five remarkable ladies, including Betsy Grindlay, Jess Mckichan, Alanna Crawford, Bri Steward, and Katie “KP” Page. Together they go by the name The Bucket Beauties.
A vital part of the team, and the front woman if you will, Betsy was the brains behind the idea of the T-bucket build, and it was her undeniable connection to Speedway Motors made it possible. After all, she is the oldest granddaughter of “Speedy” Bill Smith. In addition to being a Smith family member, she’s also a car girl at heart, and a hard-working part of the Speedway team — one who made the T-bucket build a reality for herself and her fellow teammates — as well as securing it as her first ever full car build.
Jess is known as the expert of the build team. One of our Leading Ladies here at Rod Authority, Jess is well-versed in the hot rod scene, having been a part of the Speedway family since she was in middle school and got her feet wet in the world of racing at the young age of six. A real asset to both Speedway and the build team, Jess is the one keeping the build going in the right direction, teaching the other ladies about hot rods and building cars from the ground up along the way!
For Alanna, the all-female T-bucket build is yet another accolade she can add to her already stellar resume. Working mainly on events for Speedway, she keeps an eye on the prize and gets everyone to the finish line with a smile on their face. She may not know everything about the build these ladies have taken on, but she’s no newbie to the scene either, and even has her own classic car – a 1965 Mustang she got as a graduation present.
Bringing the “mom attitude” to the build team is Bri. Having held a number of positions at Speedway Motors, she knows her way around the automotive industry and is an expert in customer service. When it comes to the T-bucket build, she keeps everyone moving toward the end goal, making sure tasks are done and deadlines are kept.
Last, but certainly not least is Katie, or KP as the ladies call her, and she is all about motivating the group. The go-to-gal for the Speedway company, she’ll take on any task that is given to her, which is always beneficial when building a car. Can you say labeling parts, anyone?
A self-proclaimed newbie to the car world, KP may not be an expert when it comes to piecing the T-bucket together, but that doesn’t stop her from having a “failure is not an option” attitude, which keeps everyone in the build team upbeat and pushing forward.
With each lady bringing their very best assets to the T-bucket build, there’s no doubt that the finished full-fendered car will be a stellar ride they can all be proud of. Not to mention, it’s a learning experience for each. Who knows where this experience will lead when it comes to future builds.
Wanting to showcase Speedway Motors’ new T-bucket fender kit, the Bucket Beauties selected a 1923 Model T as the base vehicle, vowing to use only Speedway-sourced parts to complete the frame-up build in just five months.
Another big part of the build was that it had to be “budget friendly,” which dictated many of the components of the ladies’ parts list, like a small-block Chevy engine and automatic transmission.
Completing the build in such a short time, of course, would be a massive undertaking for anyone experienced in hot rod building, but for the team, one that had only one experienced gal when it came to building cars, it was a task best suited for a little outside help, courtesy of Speedway Motors’ friend, JW.
JW was tasked with doing the fabrication work to create a “rough draft” of the car. This meant fitting the pieces together, making sure the ladies had everything needed for the build, making any adjustments, and of course, working on getting the brand-new, not-yet-released fenders for the T in full working order to fit the project car. Then, everything would be torn down again and the ladies would get to work on building their car from the ground up.
Though the ladies sent JW off with a truck full of parts ordered from a comprehensive list they had come up with, it took several more orders and a few more unexpected adjustments to get everything just right on the rough draft.
When all was said and done, the car’s BluePrint 383ci small-block Chevy crate engine and automatic transmission it was connected to was moved forward one inch, the radiator neck had been modified for the front grille the ladies had selected for the car, a fuel pump was mounted under the gas tank for spacing reasons, U-joints were added and attached to the steering column to give the ram horns a bit of extra room, and a whole new exhaust system had been created.
There was also the shortened starter; upgraded braided brake lines; and the engine, brakes, and headers all completed without seeing a drop of fluid. Of course, we can’t forget to mention the all-too-telling step-plate design JW added — an adjustable and sturdy component that was an asset to the two more vertically-challenged builders on the team.
From the rough draft JW helped the ladies out with, the Bucket Beauties officially started the tear-down in April – a chore in itself as anyone who’s ever torn into a vehicle can attest to. That left just about two and a half months for the gals to finish up everything they set out to do — on top of 40-plus hour regular work weeks for each one of them, mind you!
The progress that they made has been incredible over the past couple of months, but we’re not going to let you in on all of the fun with just one feature! So, stay tuned as we take a deeper look at the teardown and build-up process over the next month, just in time for the car’s official reveal at the June 25 Goodguys event in Lincoln, Nebraska. And yes, we’ll have plenty more photos and thoughts from the ladies to share with you over the next few weeks!