Saving History
Australian Street Rodding|December 2020
Rick Ling’s survivor street rod T Bucket...

This car was the first McDonald Bros. T bucket kit ever sold. Kieran Otto was the owner and drove a yellow XM sedan delivery plastered with “Just Passing Through” signwriting while he was getting this bucket built during the seventies and early eighties. Kieran sadly passed away at the end of 2018 but had sold his bucket sometime earlier. Long-time hot rodder, Rick Ling purchased this car earlier in 2020 and despite it having been changed and some original parts missing, he’s got it running and plans to gradually rebuild the T as close as he can to how Kieran originally built it. Rick and Kieran both built T buckets in the seventies and became close friends, so this car holds a lot of memories for Rick, who feels it’s his duty to restore this old rod back to its former glory.

“About 1972 my father and I went out to McDonald Bros to have a look at their T bucket kits. They were still working in their parents’ driveway and garage and my father wasn’t too impressed with the conditions they were working under, but I was over the moon about the cars they were building there. Sometime after that, I went out and had another look by myself and met Kieran Otto, who had just bought a kit from the brothers and was proceeding to build it at their place, as he was only living in a flat at the time. We soon became friends and he would come over to check out the T bucket I was building in my dad’s garage, and I used to travel out to his place on the other side of the city and have the occasional look, if we could get in, at the McDonald Bros workshops. Then they moved from home to an actual factory and I couldn’t get there at all because they weren’t open when I could get there on Saturday afternoons.

Kieran and I lost contact over time but kept in touch through me supplying him with different bits and pieces for his car and suggestions, such as the huge brake pedal that’s in it, the mini driving lights, and the tiny indicator dash lights. I moved down to the Mornington Peninsula and got into later model cars like ’34 Fords, while Kieran continued building his car and ended up working for McDonald Bros for a number of years, eventually finishing his car around 1983. It’s actually registered as a ’69 Ford roadster on the certificate. The first time I saw it finished and took a photo was in 1985 at the Canberra Street Rod Nationals by which time Kieran was married with a little baby. That photo is one of the family cruising on the opening spread of this article.

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