Detroit Speedcraft’s Super-Performance T-Bucket is a “Cobra Killer”

With a title like that, it helps to start things off with some substantiation, so take a quick look at this 35 second video and then we’ll tell you more.

Back in 2011, we did a series of very popular posts on NEHR Speedcraft’s T-Bucket “Hot Rod” in a Box kits. Today, NEHR has evolved into Detroit Speedcraft and they’ve taken their T-Bucket kit building up a few notches with their new Super-Performance T-Bucket.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

Dave Nedock and Tom Kuhr of Detroit Speedcraft noticed that more of their T-Bucket customers were looking for not only a safe, dependable ride that looked good, but also one that had really dramatic performance — and they responded. While their T-Bucket in a Box kit is a roller that sells for $14,545, they also produce a complete turnkey T-Bucket with new 350 Chevy crate engine, along with Turbo 350 automatic, 4 barrel intake, and headers ready to drive away for $24,900 (which is pretty nice compared to similar at that price point where you have to supply your own engine and transmission).

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

With a 290+ HP crate engine and weighing only 1850 pounds their regular complete T-Bucket has great performance! That became the basis for the new Super-Performance T-Bucket when a customer in California was looking for something more that would really produce that strong kick in the tail.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

By the way, when a guy in California does his T-Bucket research and ends up having his built in the all the way across country in Michigan, that’s quite an endorsement!

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

As a point of reference, Dave Nedock is a former Ford engineer whose hot rod exploits have included Funny Cars and Fuel Altereds, so Dave has a good handle on what it takes for performance. Take a look at the video below to see that the proof is in the pudding.

For a street-driven T-Bucket to turn an 11.21 e.t., at 121 mph, is pretty impressive. Hey, I’m an old guy and back in the 60′s that’s the kind of e.t. that would be cranked out by a C/Altered or B/Gas car that was drag strip only, towed, and gulping race gas.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

It so happened the Detroit Speedcraft guys rented Milan Dragway for a day and invited a few customers. One of them drove his T 150 miles to the drag strip, laid down several runs with a best of 11.78 at 116 mph, drove 150 miles back home and picked up his wife to go out to a cruise that night. Talk about versatility!

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

So, how does Detroit Speedcraft engineer a Super-Performance T-Bucket?

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

Well, they start with their standard complete T-Bucket and replace the 4-barrel on an aluminum intake with a tunnel ram fed by a pair of side-mounted double-pumper Holley carbs. Then, Dave works some real magic by replacing the crate motor cam with a grind that makes lots of torque and has a great whap-whap sound. It has modest lift, though, so there’s no need for frequent valve spring replacement and being hydraulic you don’t have to worry with resetting valve lash.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

By the way, this is all done still using regular fuel.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

The next ingredient is upgrading to a 700R4 automatic converted to fully manual shift operation with a higher stall torque converter. And the rear end gear is a conservative 3.42:1, which goes well with the tranny’s 3.05:1 first gear.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

Their rear end design features long ladder bars to avoid harshness in the ride, but also serve well from a traction standpoint. Polyurethane bushings are used instead of rubber to further enhance rear suspension performance.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

By design, the Detroit Speedcraft T-Bucket’s wheelbase is longer than most at 106″ and the front axle is 12″ in front of the engine; making the engine almost mid-ship and giving very good front-to-back weight distribution of 52/48 for a T-Bucket.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

With the resulting vehicle dynamic response with 350+ HP and a weight of 1850 lbs. wet, the Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket really is in the “Cobra Killer” category. Yet, you can still drive 1000 miles and enjoy it. Talk about bang for the buck!

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

Although the Super-Performance T-Bucket is not built as a race car, it does come with a 4-point rollbar.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

While Detroit Speedcraft’s Super-Performance T-Bucket is a “Cobra Killer”, it’s also a terrific highway cruiser.

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

With the locking converter in overdrive on the highway the engine’s turning only 2100 rpm at 80 mph with just two fingers resting on top of the steering wheel as you pass the slow movers in the right hand lane. At 100 mph, it’s just smooth driving. Here’s a nice one-minute video of Geoff “Skullk” Sculley’s Super-Performance T-Bucket doing some of the things it does best.

I could go on and on about the Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket because I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Dave and Tom about their fascinating work — but you can get the full story at their website, Plus, they have a pretty terrific sale now going on. Dave likes to say that “if you drive one, you’ll buy it.”

Detroit Speedcraft Super-Performance T-Bucket

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  1. says

    Lonie, it’s so nice to hear a spouse weigh in on the family T-Bucket. You and Geoff can be rightly proud of a very distinctive T. And you’re absolutely correct that Tom and Dave at Detroit Speedcraft are a pleasure to deal with. Seldom do you find shops where they’re so willing to listen and then go to great lengths to answer questions to your satisfaction. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Geoff Sculley says

    After a full first day of driving this beast, all I can say is WOW! What an awesome hot rod. Working with Dave and Tom for the last few months has truly been an exciting time for me. Bouncing ideas back and forth to come up with a remarkable hot rod. If you have any thoughts of having a car built, these are the guys to do it for you. A really fast and driveable car; and hope you are not shy about people taking pictures of the car!

  3. Lonie Sculley says

    This was the best project ever! Working with my husband Geoff and the level of detail both Tom and Dave put into the design an build was so awesome. Now that we have the car, Geoff can’t stay out of the Garage. That could be a good or bad thing! Can’t wait to go to the car show and just cruise in “Skullduggery! Thanks to both Dave and Tom for going over and beyond! Stay tuned for some roadshow pictures.

  4. says

    Thanks for the comment, Charlie. After all, T-Buckets are the closest hot rods to a Harley you’ll find in terms of openness and exposed mechanicals — plus they’re a darn sight safer and a heck of a lot more comfortable for passengers along for the ride!

  5. mike salvador says

    Tom & Dave , Built Me One and its a Great Car.. I am in San Jose Ca.. Thanks Guys.

  6. John Ireland says

    I built, drive, tour, race and show a Detroit Speedcraft ’27 kit. The chassis is identical in the front, but the rear suspension is different than the ’23. It is slung low beneath the rear axle. Great driving car with a soft ride, rare for a light roadster. Dave and Tom have a great design. I drove all the way from Idaho to pick up my kit. It was well worth it, and I’d do it again.

  7. says

    Have they sold any turn key cars or kits in Michigan? I didn’t see any with bumpers or wipers on the website.
    I would like to talk to anyone who has went through the Michigan inspection/registration process.

  8. Charlie says

    Been looking at the Detroit Speedcraft car since they were NEHR. GOTTA sell some stuff to finance the project. Like my boring ol Harley.

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