Lower Key, Lower T
I’ve spent the past two workdays no more than 50 feet away from what is arguably the world’s most expensive T-bodied hot rod. Yes, it’s probably the most famous, but is it the best looking? I think we can all agree on the answer to that one. The “Kookie Kar” is wild-n-weird. It’s storied, historic and—especially in its current state—provides a raw, unfiltered look at the progression of show rod excess into the late-’60s. Today’s post, however, isn’t about Norm Grabowski or the Kookie Kar. It is about Model T’s.
Name any make and model of pre-’65 car and I’m sure we can conjure up at least three different ways to build it—you know, like an AMT 3 ’n 1 kit coming together somewhere in the depths of your mind. Mild? Wild? Somewhere in between? Model T’s are perfect examples. When you think of T-based hot rods, what do you see?
Some of you may imagine pre-war gow jobs and some may dream up far-out show machines. No wrong answers here. Sometimes I see a ’60s-style tall T, and others I see a car much like Bob Urquhart’s roadster.
Bob’s T was low, lean and athletic. The tasteful channel and heavy chop helped create a sleek profile, while the Model A frame with suicide spring perch gave the entire car a tight, compact feel. It’s neither stubby nor overly stretched. Pair that with a 4×2-fed Red Ram Hemi, lots of chrome, abbreviated cycle fenders and black Naugahyde interior and you have yourself an unforgettable machine.
This was actually the second version of the little roadster, the first of which appeared on the cover of HRM in October 1962. By the following year, the windshield had been drastically lowered and the expertly formed top was put into play. (I’m not sure how tall Mr. Urquhart was, but it looks as if it’d be a tight squeeze in there).
Even though it’s chopped, channeled and motivated by a multi-carbed Hemi, I would argue that this T isn’t over the top. It’s not over indulgent and I would undoubtedly say it’s tasteful. Yes, excess can be a good thing, but this roadster seems just a bit more manageable than the Kookie Kar. Luckily for us, both cars still exist. Here’s a glimpse at the ’63 version of Bob’s low key low T, plus a snapshot from the early 2010s.
Photos by Bob Hardee, Car Craft, November 1963…photos of the earlier version can be found here.