This well-known T bucket graced the April 1979 cover of ASR and it still looks very much the same 42 years later. Reading on you will come to notice how different this car actually is now compared to that original build, but at the same time the overall look of the car and the components in it have hardly changed since a freshen up was completed in the early eighties. The most noticeable difference would arguably be the wheel change, but that happened in the mid-eighties while Jim still owned the bucket and thus, has been known to look this way for many years.
When the current custodian of this seventies survivor T bucket, Darko Gudelj purchased this wicked hot rod, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. He wasn’t specifically on the hunt for an iconic Aussie hot rod from the golden era of the hobby, but he had been longing for a cool rod for some time and knew the style of car he was after. It had to be a nice-sounding T bucket with big ’n’ little tyres, a vertical steering column, and a blown motor with a bug catcher-style scoop. He found this bucket for sale on the internet while waiting for his wife at the hairdresser's, on Valentine's Day.
Darko has always been into cars and as a youngster, tried to get an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic. That didn’t work out and he ended up in the spray painting trade, which he has been successfully doing since 1994. He’s owned several modified cars over the years, everything from a Datsun 1200 coupe and an FB Holden in his early years to Commodores and Sigmas. Nothing was normal though, everything he owned had to be different. He even had the seventies stretch Cadillac at one stage. This bucket now shares garage space with a 2004 CV8 Monaro and Darko’s wife, Vanesa’s award-winning twin-turbo Nissan 300ZX.
Through spray painting, Darko has worked on HQ Holdens, a Sandman panel van, Jaguars and even applied his craft to a very rare, one of seven, and only one in Australia, Austin. He runs his own spray painting business, Mobile Vehicle & Marine Body Repairs, which keeps him plenty busy without advertising, but also does contract work for a coach company and is in charge of panel beating, painting, and interior work on a fleet of 90 buses.
After finding the bucket for sale on eBay, Darko contacted the owner, Northern Beaches Hot Rod Club member, Warren Lyon, who had bought the T from Jim Suttar more than a decade ago after pestering his club mate for some time. Darko made contact to find out more about it but it wasn’t until a year later that he ended up becoming just the third owner of this historic hot rod.
“Apart from the photos online, I purchased this car without actually seeing it in the flesh. Two weeks later I went over to get the car and my wife asked, what if you don’t like it? I said I’m pretty sure I’ll like it, it’s a hot rod! All I was concerned about was that if it sounded nice and was driveable, I’d be happy. As soon as it started I didn’t even need to take it for a drive, I’d fallen in love with it. I took the car home the day before my 40th birthday.”
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