(The Ford Mercury drove like a) bucket

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Senior Member
How should I understand 'bucket' in the following context?
  1. any of various bucket-like parts of a machine, such as the scoop on a mechanical shovel OR
  2. an open-topped roughly cylindrical container; pail
The winds by now were ferocious, the heat a gritty oppres- sion.When he got into the Ford Mercury, he was startled to see his face in the rear-view mirror covered in smuts of the ash that was swirling outside in thick eddies, like black snow.

The Ford Mercury drove like a bucket with only a vague relationship to the road, but its V8 had a reassuring power.

Source: The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The author is whimsically choosing something that has no relationship to driving whatsoever and is probably the thing you carry water or something in like this. (A pail)

    In other words, it's ironic - not literal.


    Senior Member
    American English
    I agree with the water bucket – something that has very little steering capability and no shock absorbers.

    It might also be related in a distant way to "bucket of bolts," which is (idiomatic) A piece of machinery that is not worth more than its scrap value, often of old cars. (Wiktionary)
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