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InterView Magazine
 

 

It’s been said that travel and a change of pace impart new vigor to the mind and the soul.

So it is for Bill and Linda Seal, who find immense joy in their frequent adventures, cruising roads less traveled in their 1923 Ford T-Bucket roadster.

        Linda and Bill Seal first met as neighbors in Covina and soon became good friends. Later, they began dating and eventually lived together for a few years. They had three children: two daughters, Lorie and Mary; and one son, Mike. Ultimately, the couple says it was “pressure from our kids” that convinced them to get married (a second marriage for both). That was 32 years ago.



        While growing up in Southern California, Bill tinkered with cars in his school’s auto shop and at home in the family garage. He had a Model A dragster in the 1950s, which he raced in San Gabriel (also known as “Old San Gabe”), and at what is now the Auto Club Raceway at the Fairplex in Pomona.

        Many years later, when he began building the couple’s now exceptionally “well traveled” T-Bucket, his enthusiasm for cars transformed into what would become a much needed source of therapy— and a true labor of love.

        Bill, an engineer, designed and built a customized wheelchair that enabled their son, Mike, who was paralyzed, to tilt back at a 45 degree angle and sit up higher than a typical wheelchair height would allow.  As a result of Bill’s ingenuity, and labor of love, Mike sat taller allowing him to be “one of the guys” when hanging out with friends.

        “Mike was bedridden for seven years,” says Linda. “We didn’t have much social interaction during that time. Mary our daughter, and her husband, Dave, moved in to help take care of Mike. But, Bill had to keep busy, and that’s when he started building the T-Bucket.

        “There aren’t many men who could build a car from a vision, and from the ground up,” she adds, describing his persistence in pursuing the needed parts online, at swap meets and at “pick-a-part” recyclers. Bill also built the frame himself, from scratch— and outfitted the car with a chromed beer keg, which serves as the 15-gallon gas tank. The engine is a rare hopped-up 1938 flat-head V8-60 (as in 60 horsepower), mated to a Toyota transmission. The pint sized engine gets about 20 MPG, which provides enough fuel for about 2 days worth of cruising distance. While Bill was busy trying to decide where to order the body that would complete the T-Bucket project—Linda had been secretly saving up on the side to give her husband what would be an especially touching surprise—the body of the T-Bucket to complete the car.


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