By Michael Kitchens
Owner: Darren Nishimura
Occupation: Overnight Employee
Hobbies: Spending time with wife and kids, and playing music
Exterior: 1923 Ford T-Bucket and frame, 1917 fenders wooden oak bed, chrome accents
Wheels: Weld Racing Prostar wheels with Performance Radial 185/55/14 front and Delta Road Max GT 295/50/15 rear
Interior: Grant GT steering wheel, aftermarket gauges, tachometer, beige interior
Engine: Chevy 350 small block, stainless steel headers and gearings, Competition cam, Holley 600, K&N air filter, single-in, single-out dual Flowmasters 40s series
Drivetrain: 2-speed powerglide transmission, Chevy 12-bolt rear end, front disc brakes
As a kid, I grew up watching re-runs of The Munsters like many other kids, and I can honestly say that it was my introduction to the traditional “rat rod” build with the fantastic Munster coach. As evidenced by the 1923 Ford T-Bucket on these pages, I wasn’t the only one left with a lasting im pression of the car. So, too, was Dar-ren Nishimura.
Darren has been an automotive enthusiast since high school. He’s been the proud owner of several hot rods including a ’56 Pontiac Chieftain, a ’67 Chevy Impala and a ’64 Ford Mustang. He prefers it loud and relishes the power that comes from a traditional V8 setup. “I love the sound of the motor and the smell of the gas and asphalt,” Darren says.
He also has a passion for the sinister side of things — something that’s a little bit of a freak or a creepshow. He was looking for something a little out-of-the-ordinary that harkened back to those Munster T-Bucket days. Surprisingly, he purchased this T-Bucket in a blinding shade of bright yellow from its second owner. The color didn’t matter to Darren because the price was right and the ride was clean running. All that was required was a bit of modification work to fit his taste.
All of his hot rods have been a shade of gunmetal gray, so the first step was to work on the body. Immediately, Darren had the body, fenders and radiator shroud sanded down and coated in his favorite color of lustrous gunmetal gray. Even the interior dash was treated with a refresh.
A lavish wooden oak bed holds the polished fuel tank as a fantastic addition. A polished Creepshow emblem and twisted rear tail-lights really bring home that rat rod feel. Underneath the bed, the 12-bolt rear-end stands out while being mated to a 2-speed Pow-erglide transmission. Putting the incredible power-to-weight ratio to the ground are a set of Weld Racing five-star Prostar wheels with Performance Radials sized at 185/55/14 front and Delta Road Max GT 295/50/15 in the rear.
Continuing the freak show, this Ford rocks a Chevy 350 small block that was rebuilt from the ground up to higher specs that included a Competition cam, stainless steel header and gearings as well as a Holley 600 carburetor. A K&N filter and single-in, single-out dual Flowmasters 40s series exhausts were added for extra oomph. The engine is always on display, so Darren spared no expense in the details as every part and accessory has been polished, including gleaming valve covers and a blinding alternator. The skeleton-infested air filter cover adds a nice touch, too.
The single-door bucket features a beige interior fitted with gauges of all types including a huge RPM gauge mounted to the steering column. The Grant GT steering wheel has been reversed for comfort and a bit of fun. Polished mirrors peak out from the sides of the windshield. In fact, the entire car is covered with chromed details that set this ride apart from the pack.
At this point, Darren doesn’t plan on doing anything further with this ride. “(I’ll) just enjoy it,” he says. “Live life to the fullest, enjoy your family, and when you get a chance, own a hot rod.”