Design, engineering, and innovation are all hallmarks of the automotive industry. Look how it's progressed over the past 100 years. Cars now have almost Jetson-like capabilities, including telling drivers how to get to their destinations. Though automotive designers are always looking to the future, they incorporate the best elements from past designs into current projects. Recent vehicle rebirths like the Mini, Ford Mustang, and upcoming Dodge Challenger are perfect examples. Iconic automobiles like the '32 Ford, Shelby Cobra, or Porsche Speedster will always be in style. Collectors will find and restore originals, and aftermarket kit suppliers will enable more enthusiasts to build and own their dreams. In the right hands, the past's iconic automotive styling cues have a way of evolving into something even better.

With Total Performance Inc., the world's oldest and most groundbreaking T-bucket manufacturer, celebrating its 35th year in business, owner Mickey Lauria thought it would be the perfect time to unveil something totally new that would give builders a chance to flash back once again to hot rodding's heyday. Working with top concept designers, Mickey has brought a brand-new body style to the market that blends the classic cowl of a '23 T with the flowing lines of a '26-27 Ford roadster and its graceful turtle deck rear. The combination of the body along with a full three-piece hood and track nose very reminiscent of the award-winning Flint roadster make this car look like it's ready to head to Bonneville to attend speed trials. But the innovation doesn't stop there. Underneath, there is a brand-new rectangular steel chassis that gives the roadster the rake it deserves, making it look like it's hunkered down and ready to strike at any time.

This new kit offering's overall package is very impressive considering the body and chassis combination is being offered at only $6,995. The rock-solid backbone of any hot rod is its chassis, and the craftsmen at Total Performance make sure it's a base that can take plenty of punishment. Starting with 1 1/2x3x.120-inch-wall rectangular tubing, it is fully welded in Total Performance's exacting jig to perfect specifications, with all related mounting brackets in place and all necessary holes precision-drilled.

The chassis is set up for a small-block Chevy linked to a turbo 350 transmission, including engine mounts and crossmembers; however, there will also be accommodations for four-cylinder engines soon. A complete front suspension includes a 5-inch dropped tube axle with a four-leaf spring, friction shocks, radius rods with clevises and rod ends, tie rod, and Total Performance spindles. Out back there are more goods to be had, including a Currie 8-inch Ford rearend housing perfectly matched up with a combination of coilover shocks, panhard bar, and four-link suspension. To navigate the car, Total incorporates a complete steering system that includes upper and lower steering arms, drag link, pitman arm, steering box, steering shaft, steering column, and Grant steering wheel. To give the car plenty of whoa, they also add in a dual master cylinder, brake pedal, pad, and pushrod.

As with all of Total Performance's kits, the body is constructed from the finest hand-laid fiberglass. The King T kit incorporates the floor and trunk area as well as a fully molded dash. The track nose receives the same painstaking quality to match the body, while the finely crafted grille insert is like a jewel waiting to be placed into its setting. Add in a three-piece hood and you pretty much have everything you need to bring this fresh blank canvas to life. As with all hot rods, they are as distinct to their owner as a fingerprint. You could get nostalgic like Mickey has with this first production car, or you could take it into the future using a wild blown four-banger with a quick-change rear and decadent pearl-based paints. Check it out. Give Total a call, and get busy designing your own new King T!

Facts Box
Total Performance, Inc.
Wallingford, Connecticut
MODEL: 23ish, Ford, King T

CHASSIS
Frame / Manufacturer:
1 1/2x3" rectangular steel
tubing / Total Performance
Wheelbase:
112 1/2"
Modifications:
11" rear kick
Chassis plumbing:
Steel
Rearend / Ratio:
Currie 8" Ford / 3.25:1
Rear suspension:
4-link combined with
coilover shocks and pan
hard bar
Rear brakes:
Ford drum
Front suspension:
5" dropped tube axle com
bined with a 4-leaf spring,
friction shocks, TP dropped spindles, and
radius rods
Front brakes:
Wilwood flat black single piston disc
Master cylinder:
Dual cylinder
Steering box:
Reversed Corvair
Wheel covers:
Moon spun aluminum disc
with Dzus fasteners
Front wheel make, size:
Early Wheel steelie, 15x5
Rear wheel make, size:
Early Wheel steelie, 15x8
Front tire make, size:
Coker industrial tire 25"
tall bias-ply
Rear tire make, size:
Coker dirt track style 30"
tall bias-ply
Gas tank:
Steel 10-gallon unit
Other chassis items:
Bolt-in tubular center
crossmember
ENGINE
Make:
1987 Chevrolet Corvette
Displacement:
350 cubic inches
Machining / Assembly:
GM
Crankshaft:
Stock
Rods:
Stock
Pistons:
Stock
Camshaft:
Stock
Water pump:
Stock
Cooling fan:
Spal electric
Radiator:
Walker
Alternator:
Tuff Stuff
Heads:
Stock Corvette
Valves / Springs:
Stock / Stock
Rockers:
Stock
Valve covers:
Stock
Manifold / Induction:
Edelbrock / Holley 750
-cfm 4-barrel
Ignition / Wires:
PerTronix / PerTronix
Headers:
PerTronix block huggers
Exhaust / Mufflers:
1 3/4"steel, black ceram
ic-coated / Cherry Bombs
TRANSMISSION
Make:
Chevrolet TH 350
Converter:
Transmission Specialties
2400 stall speed
Shifter:
Lokar with eight-ball knob
Trans mods:
None
Driveshaft:
Total Performance
BODY
Body style / Material:
King T / Fiberglass
Body manufacturer:
Total Performance
Body mods:
'23 Ford cowl blended to
'27 Ford roadster body
with reveals removed
Hood:
Three piece with smooth
panels and optional hood
scoop
Grille:
Custom polished alu
minum
Bodywork:
Total Performance
Paint type / Color:
Harley-Davidson /
Black Denim
Painter:
Total Performance
Headlights / Taillights:
King Bee / '50
Pontiac
Outside mirror:
Vintique 3" straight
arm
Other body items:
36 cubic feet of stor
age behind seat, inte
gral roll pan
INTERIOR
Dashboard:
Custom molded for
King T
Insert / Gauges:
None / Classic
Instrument wing-style
nostalgia gauges
Stereo / Speakers:
Small-block V-8
Air conditioning:
Topless!
Wiring:
Total Performance
Steering wheel:
Grant sprint car style
Steering column:
Total Performance
Interior mirror:
None
Seats:
Bench by Fairfield
Auto Upholstery,
West Haven, CT
Upholsterer:
Fairfield Auto
Upholstery, West
Haven, CT
Material / Color:
Naugahyde / Black
Carpet:
Black loop
Seatbelts:
Juliano's
Other interior items:
Carpeted trunk stor
age area with lighting