Skip to content

Legendary Uncertain-T hot rod rediscovered after 50 years

WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOS: GALPIN MOTORS

The hot-rodding world is abuzz with the news that one of the scene’s most extreme customs, Uncertain-T, has been rediscovered after being lost for more than half a century. 

For years, custom car enthusiast and TV star Beau Boeckmann travelled the world in an effort to track down the famous Ford Model T-based hot rod form the 1960s. Yet, in an ironic twist, he stumbled across the car in a dusty warehouse, mere blocks away from his flagship Galpin Motors dealership in Van Nuys, California.

“Uncertain-T found me – I didn’t find it,” Boeckmann mused. “I love that it was built in and found in the San Fernando Valley, right down the street from Galpin Ford. What makes it even more sentimental is the connection between the previous owner, Dick Nickerson, and my father, who worked on the Mach IV four-engine Mustang Funny Car together in 1969.”

Hot rod fans will be able to see Uncertain-T for themselves, still in the condition in which was found, at the upcoming Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona on February 2-4, 2024, as well as at the Detroit Autorama in March. After these appearances, Boeckmann plans to fully restore the car, and he has enlisted restoration specialist and TV personality Dave Shuten to lead the project.

Uncertain-T is renowned among hot rodders for the impact it had on custom culture during its meteoric success in the late-1960s show-car scene. 

The idea for the car began in 1960, when 17-year-old high-school student Steve Scott noticed a cartoon sketched by a classmate in an advanced physics class. The cartoon portrayed a heavily modified Ford Model T, and left such an impression on Scott that he immediately began building the car in his parents’ garage.

Five years later, Scott’s ambitious project was complete. The distinctive bodywork was crafted from glassfibre, and was married to a bespoke chassis built from steel tubing. A 1957 Buick ‘Nailhead’ V8 powered the hot rod, and its chrome headers dramatically snaked around each side of the body. Complementing the all-American engine was rack-and-pinion steering from an MGA along with a pair of big-finned drum brakes on the rear axle.

Scott’s masterpiece made its debut as a show car in 1965, and it won a plethora of awards, beating builds created by the likes of hot rod legends such as George Barris, Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and Dan Woods. Uncertain-T received such a rapturous response, that show promoters paid Scott to tour the car across the US, sparking a national phenomenon in the process. 

Once in the public consciousness, the car was replicated as a 1:24-scale model kit by Monogram, and also appeared on the covers of various magazines, including Car Craft and Popular Hot Rodding. 

Uncertain-T continued to appear at car shows until the mid-1970s, before fading into obscurity by the early ’80s. Rumour has it that Scott sold the car to a friend, who then purposely kept it hidden, transporting it to a new location when he sensed people were homing in on its whereabouts.