Every family has traditions—some better than others. And the Morgan family has one of those “better” traditions.
The Morgan’s have a family hot rod, a 1919 Dodge T Bucket that has been passed down from father to son, spanning three generations. Each man has had a hand in building or refurbishing the gleaming apricot two-seater and after its latest overhaul, it isn’t going anywhere.
He did not waste any time, two years later buying bits of a four-door Dodge tourer found in an orchard in Alexandra. From there, he embarked on a three-year building project with his father, Keith. Because no parts were available to purchase back then, the duo had to “absolutely make everything”, Mr. Morgan said.They remodeled the body, constructed the chassis and grafted a section from a Model T Ford pick-up truck on to the back. The T Bucket is powered by a 1955 Ford Thunderbird V8 engine with six two-bell carburetors and is driven by a two-speed automatic transmission. Adding to its melting pot of components are the early-model Firestone dragster slicks – used as rear tires – and hand-made suspension. Before Mr. Morgan first sold it – the T Bucket has been in and out of his ownership three times. Returning to the family’s Wanaka garage more than 20 years later, the hot rod nicknamed T’n’T gathered dust for a while before Jason Morgan said he decided it was “time to put it back to the way it should have been”.
Teaming up with his father, the duo, whose business is building new hot rods and restoring old cars, set about stamping their mark on the Dodge again. The resulting exterior required about 100 coats of apricot metal flake paint, while the interior was reupholstered in black.
After finishing in time for the hot rod nationals in Methven at Easter, the “father/son effort” was awarded a trophy for the best nostalgia vehicle.