Tucker 48

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Tucker '48
1948 Tucker Sedan at the Blackhawk Museum.jpg
A 1948 Tucker Sedan at the Blackhawk Auto Museum.
Overview
Manufacturer Tucker Car Corporation
Production 1947–1948 (MY1948 - Total of 51 cars completed
Assembly Chicago, Illinois, United States
Designer George S. Lawson, Alex Tremulis, Read Viemeister, Budd Steinhilber, Tucker Madawick, Hal Bergstrom, Philip S. Egan
Body and chassis
Class Sedan
Layout Rear engine/Rear Wheel Drive, 4-wheel independent suspension (Rubber torsion tube (no springs) with shock absorbers)
Powertrain
Engine H-6 (horizontally opposed), OHV, 334.1 cubic inches (5.475 L)[1] (4.50 x 3.50 in. bore x stroke), 7.0:1 compression ratio, 166 bhp, 372 lb·ft (504 N·m) torque
Transmission Cord 810/812; Tucker Y-1 (Modified Cord 810/812);[1]
TuckerMatic (R-1, R-1-2, R-3 versions)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 128 in (325 cm)
Length 219 in (556 cm)
Width 79 in (201 cm)
Height 60 in (152 cm)
Curb weight 4,200 lb (1,900 kg)

The Tucker 48 (named after its model year) was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948. Only 51 cars were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity initiated by the news media, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial (in which allegations were proven baseless in court with a full acquittal). Speculation exists that the Big Three automakers and Michigan senator Homer S. Ferguson also had a role in the Tucker Corporation's demise. The 1988 movie, Tucker: The Man and His Dream is based on Tucker's spirit and the saga surrounding the car's production. The film's director, Francis Ford Coppola, is himself a Tucker owner and displays his vehicle on the grounds of his winery. Coppola's friend and protégé, filmmaker George Lucas, is another notable owner. The Tucker 48's original proposed price was said to be $2,450, but the actual price was closer to $4,000.[2] A 1948 Tucker sedan was featured in the July 26, 2011 installment of NBC's It's Worth What? television show. The car's estimated value at that time was US$1,200,000. It is a common error to call the "Tucker 48" the "Tucker Torpedo". This name was never used in conjunction with the actual production car, and its name was officially "Tucker 48".[2][3]

Development[edit]

After World War II, the public was ready for totally new car designs, but the Big Three Detroit automakers had not developed any new models since 1941. This provided great opportunities for new, small automakers[citation needed] who could develop new cars more rapidly than the huge legacy automakers. Studebaker was first to introduce an all-new postwar model, but Tucker took a different track, designing a safety car with innovative features and modern styling. His specifications called for a water-cooled aluminum block[1] flat-6 rear engine, disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension,[1] fuel injection, the location of all instruments within reach of the steering wheel, seat belts, and a padded dashboard.

Even before the War's end Preston Tucker began working on plans for his new automobile. In the summer of 1944, he hired noted car designer George S. Lawson to style his new automobile.[4] Lawson worked on the project for over a year-and-a-half before his design debuted publicly, beginning about February 1946 and found as late as a year later in March 1947.[5] Lawson was named the Tucker Corporation's "chief stylist" in February 1946, immediately upon the Corporation's formation.[6]

In December 1946, Lawson resigned from the Corporation after a disagreement with Preston Tucker, and shortly thereafter, now-famous stylist Alex Tremulis of local Chicago design firm Tammen & Denison, was hired and furthered the development of the Lawson design. Tucker gave Tammen & Denison and Tremulis a three-month contract, which expired in March 1947 and was not renewed.[7] The culmination of Tremulis' efforts during this phase of design development was featured in a full page advertisement run in numerous national newspapers in March 1947. Tremulis' design was based directly upon the work of George Lawson, but incorporated his own artistic flair.

Simultaneous to Tremulis' departure, Preston Tucker hired a team of five designers (Read Viemeister, Budd Steinhilber, Tucker Madawick, Hal Bergstrom and Phillip Egan) from the New York design firm J. Gordon Lippincott, who updated Tremulis' design just as Tremulis had done with Lawson's.[8] After a month's absence, Tremulis was rehired and the two independent design groups developed full-size clay models side by side in direct competition.[7] Surviving photographs of the two models reveal that Tremulis' clay design remained unchanged from his March 1947 advertisement proposal and was not chosen for production. The passenger side of the Lippincott team's clay model (they submitted two designs), which incorporated the side profile developed by Tremulis prior to their arrival, was chosen virtually intact for the production automobile's styling.[8]

The Tucker '48's evolving appearance in the Corporation's press releases and other promotional materials, combined with suggestive statements such as "15 years of testing produced the car of the year"—despite no running prototype existing at the time—were instrumental in the SEC filing mail and conspiracy fraud charges against PrestonTucker. The SEC, however, failed to prove their case, and Tucker was acquitted of all charges in January 1950.[9] The Corporation never recovered.

Tremulis, like George Lawson, was eventually named the Tucker Corporation's "chief stylist," although the first reference to him holding this position does not appear until 1948, after the Tucker '48's exterior styling was completed.[10]

The Tucker automobile was originally named the "Torpedo," but was changed to "Tucker '48" around the time of Lawson's departure and Tremulis' arrival, reportedly because Tucker did not want to remind the public of the horrors of World War II. Alex Tremulis has claimed responsibility for dubbing the first prototype automobile the "Tin Goose," which is presently used in a loving manner but at the time was considered derogatory.[11]

Innovative design features[edit]

1948 Tucker Sedan in Waltz Blue

Some components and features of the car were innovative and ahead of their time. The most recognizable feature of the Tucker '48, a directional third headlight (known as the "Cyclops Eye"), would activate at steering angles of greater than 10 degrees to light the car's path around corners. At the time, 17 states had laws against cars having more than two headlights.[12] Tucker fabricated a cover for the cyclops center light for use in these states.

A Tucker '48 Sedan design patent illustration[13]

The car was rear-engined and rear wheel drive. A perimeter frame surrounded the vehicle for crash protection, as well as a roll bar integrated into the roof. The steering box was behind the front axle to protect the driver in a front-end accident. The instrument panel and all controls were within easy reach of the steering wheel, and the dash was padded for safety.[14] The windshield was made of shatterproof glass and designed to pop out in a collision to protect occupants. The car's parking brake had a separate key so it could be locked in place to prevent theft. The doors extended into the roof, to ease entry and exit.[12] Each Tucker built differed somewhat from the previous car, as each car built was basically a “prototype” where design features and engineering concepts were tried, improved, or discarded throughout the production cycle. The door releases on the interior of the Tucker came from the Lincoln Zephyr. The steering columns used in the Tucker were donated by Ford and are from the 1941 Lincoln. Preston Tucker held a patent for a collapsible steering column design. A glove box was added to the front door panels instead of the more conventional location in the dash to provide space for the “crash chamber” that the Tucker is now famous for. This is a padded area ahead of the passenger seat, free from obstructions, providing the front seat passengers an area to protect themselves in the event of an accident.[2] The engine and transmission were mounted on a separate subframe which was secured with only six bolts. The entire drivetrain could thus be lowered and removed from the car in minutes. Tucker envisioned loaner engines being quickly swapped in for service in just 30 minutes.[15]

Tucker envisioned several other innovations which were later abandoned. Magnesium wheels, disc brakes, fuel injection, self-sealing tubeless tires, and a direct-drive torque converter transmission were all evaluated and/or tested but were dropped on the final prototype due to cost, engineering complexity, and lack of time to develop.[16]

Tucker initially tried to develop an innovative engine. It was a 589 cubic inches (9.65 L) flat-6 cylinder with hemispherical combustion chambers, fuel injection, and overhead valves operated by oil pressure rather than a camshaft. An oil pressure distributor was mounted inline with the ignition distributor and delivered appropriately timed direct oil pressure to open each valve at the proper interval. This unique engine was designed to idle at 100 rpm and cruise at 250-1200 rpm through the use of direct drive torque converters on each driving wheel instead of a transmission. These features would have been auto industry firsts in 1948, but as engine development proceeded, problems appeared. The 589 engine was installed only in the test chassis and the first prototype.[12]

Troubled premiere[edit]

The world premiere of the much-hyped Tucker '48 car was set for June 19, 1947. Over 3,000 people showed up at the Tucker factory in Chicago for lunch, a train tour of the plant, and the unveiling of the first Tucker prototype. The unveiling appeared doomed, however, as last-minute problems with the car cropped up. The night before the premiere, two of the prototype's independent suspension arms snapped under the car's own weight. (The prototype was extremely heavy; much heavier than the other Tucker '48's.) Minor engine problems were fixed, and the car was presentable by the time of the premiere. However, the experimental 589 engine was extremely loud. Tucker told the band to play as loud as possible to drown out the noise. As the car was driven on to the platform, the liquid coolant boiled over and some steam escaped from the car, but no one seemed to notice.[8]

Drew Pearson, one of the top newspaper columnists of his time, reported publicly that the car was a fraud because it could not go backward and that it went "goose-geese" going down the road.[17] This hurt the public view of Tucker's car, at a time in history when journalists and public officials were more trusted than they are today.[citation needed] Despite the fact that this problem was limited to the first prototype only, a symptom of the speed with which the first car was put together, the damage was done in the court of public opinion. A negative media feeding frenzy resulted.[17]

Tucker suffered another setback when his bids to obtain two steel mills to provide raw materials for his cars were rejected by the War Assets Administration under a shroud of questionable politics.[18]

Continued development[edit]

Engine[edit]

Tucker 589cu.in. prototype direct drive engine. (Note torque converters at each end and the early rubber disk-type suspension used on prototype)
Franklin O-335 engine and Tucker Y-1 transmission.

Tucker had promised 150 hp (112 kW), and his innovative 589 engine was not working out. The large 589 cu in (9,650 cc) engine functioned, but the valvetrain proved problematic and the engine only produced approximately 88 hp (66 kW). The high oil pressure required a 24 volt electrical system and long cranking time at start-up. Having wasted nearly one year trying to make the 589 work, Tucker started looking for alternatives.

The company first tried the Lycoming aircraft engine but it would not fit in the car's rear engine compartment. A Franklin air-cooled flat-6 engine, the O-335 made by Air Cooled Motors (and originally intended for the Bell 47),[19] fit, and its 166 hp (124 kW) pleased Tucker. He purchased four samples for $5,000 each, and his engineers converted the 334 cubic inches (5,470 cc) engine to water cooling (a decision that has puzzled historiographers ever since).[19] The Franklin engine was heavily modified by Tucker's engineers, including Eddie Offutt and Tucker's son Preston, Jr. at his Ypsilanti machine shop. Using an aircraft engine in an automotive application required significant modification; thus, very few parts of the original Franklin engine were retained in the final Tucker engine. This durable modification of the engine was tested at maximum power for 150 hours, the equivalent of 18,000 miles (29,000 km), at full throttle.[20]

Tucker quickly bought Air Cooled Motors for $1.8 million to secure the engine source, then canceled all of the company's aircraft contracts so that its resources could be focused on making automotive engines for the Tucker Corporation. This was a significant decision, since at the time of Tucker's purchase, Franklin held over 65% of post-war U.S. aviation engine production contracts. The loss of income was substantial.

Transmission[edit]

With the 589 and its torque converters (and no reverse) out, Tucker now needed a transmission to mate with the Franklin O-335. They decided to try adapting designs intended for front-engine/front wheel drive use. The Cord 810/812 4-speed electro-vacuum manual transmissions fit the design requirements and were used initially. The Cord 810/812 could not handle the power and torque of the O-335 engine, shearing off the teeth from first gear if the engine was gunned off the line. In an effort to solve this problem, Tucker and his engineers modified the Cord 810/812 by installing stronger gears and lengthening the case. The modified Cord was named the Tucker Y-1 (Ypsilanti-1) and was installed in most Tuckers. The Cord 810/812 and Tucker Y-1 used a Bendix electric vacuum shift mechanism, with no mechanical linkage to the steering column shift lever. These versions had problems with electrical connections and vacuum leaks which hindered shifting, so a new design was needed.

A Borg-Warner 3-speed automatic was tested and was installed on car #1048, but Tucker ultimately wanted to design his own transmission for the car.

Tucker 335 engine and Tuckermatic R-1-2 transmission (trans recovered from car #1042; note second torque converter on the end).

To solve the transmission problems with a new design, Warren Rice, creator of the Buick Dynaflow transmission, was consulted. A unique continuously variable automatic transmission called the "Tuckermatic" was designed, which was strong enough to handle the Franklin O-335's power and torque. It was a simple but effective design with double torque converters and only 27 parts, about 90 fewer than normally required for an automatic. The double torque converters allowed a continuously variable drive ratio with only one forward gear and one reverse gear which used the torque converters to vary the transmission ratio based on load and engine speed.

Three versions of the Tuckermatic were made, the R-1, R-1-2, and R-3, (R for Warren Rice, its designer). The first version, the R-1, was not installed on any of the final cars. It required the engine to be off in order to select a gear. The R-1-2 was improved by adding a layshaft brake to allow gear selection while the engine was running. This version was installed on cars #1026 and 1042 only. The R-3 version had further improvements including a centrifugal clutch to help shifting between forward and reverse even further, but it was never installed in any of the final cars.

Because the two torque converters on the Tuckermatic made the engine/transmission unit longer, the fuel tank in the Tucker '48 had to be moved from behind the rear seat to in front of the dashboard for all Tuckers from car #1026 forward, even though only two of them actually had the Tuckermatic installed. This had the added advantage of improving weight distribution on the car.

Suspension and body[edit]

Tucker rear suspension rubber torsion tube(left) and Sandwich type front suspension(right) used on cars #1003–1025.
Tucker Rubber Torsion Tube (version2) Front Suspension used on car #1026-on. This unit taken from car #1046 for V8 conversion.

Suspension designs, especially the front suspension, had to be changed throughout development. Rather than springs, Tucker used an elastomeric (rubber) 4-wheel independent[12] suspension similar to that which was used on the race cars he developed with Harry Miller at the Indianapolis 500. The rubber elastomers were developed with assistance from the Firestone Tire Company and used a special Vulcanization process to produce a specific spring rate.

Tucker's suspension designs were plagued by severe stiffness throughout development which, while good for handling, caused front wheel corner lift when cornering on uneven surfaces. The test bed and the prototype had a double-rubber disc type front and rear suspension, similar to Miller's race cars, which was too weak for the weight of a passenger car. On cars #1001 and 1002 the rear wheels could not be removed without removing the fender or suspension due to the stiffness of the suspension and the rear wheel arch fender design. On cars #1003-on the rear fender shape was changed so the tire could be removed easily. Aside from the fender changes, the rear suspension remained the same from car #1001-on.

The front suspension was installed in 3 versions on the car (aside from the rubber-disc style used on the prototype). Cars #1001–1002 used a rubber torsion tube design which suffered from severe toe-in during heavy braking. Tucker then switched to a rubber sandwich-type suspension (with a rubber block sandwiched between upper and lower A-arms) on cars #1003–1025, however this type was severely stiff. On cars #1026-on Tucker finally settled on a suspension design with a modified version of the rubber torsion tube with the toe-in braking problem corrected.

The front bumper of the car was lengthened from car #1003-on to prevent the center headlight from being the forwardmost point on the car. The lengthened bumper protected the center headlight from being crushed if the car were pulled too close to a wall or barrier.

Original Six Tucker Paint Color Codes:[1]

  • 100: Black
  • 200: Waltz Blue
  • 300: Green
  • 400: Beige
  • 500: Grey (Silver)
  • 600: Maroon

Original Three Tucker Interior Trim Color Codes:[2]

  • 900: Light green
  • 910: Light Blue
  • 920: Light Beige

Funding and publicity[edit]

Having raised $17,000,000 in a stock issue (equal to $179,551,416 today), one of the first speculative IPOs, Tucker needed more money to continue development of the car. He sold dealerships and distributorships throughout the country. Another money maker was the Tucker Accessories Program. In order to secure a spot on the Tucker waiting list, future buyers could purchase accessories, like seat covers, radio, and luggage, before their car was built. This brought an additional $2,000,000 (equal to $21,123,696 today) into the company.

With the final design in place, Preston Tucker took the pre-production cars on the road to show them in towns across the country. The cars were an instant success, with crowds gathering wherever they stopped. One report says that Tucker was pulled over by a police officer intent on getting a better look at the car.

To prove the road-worthiness of his cars, Tucker and his engineers ran several cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in several endurance tests. During this testing, car #1027 was rolled three times at 95 miles per hour (153 km/h), and the driver (chief mechanic Eddie Offutt) walked away with just bruises. During the crash, the windshield popped out as designed, verifying Tucker's safety features were effective. Afterwards, upon replacing a damaged tire, the car started up and was driven off the track.

SEC investigation and demise of Tucker Corporation[edit]

Main article: Preston Tucker
Tucker '48 at Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California, United States

One of Tucker's most innovative business ideas caused trouble for the company, however. His Accessories Program raised funds by selling accessories before the car was even in production. After the war, demand for new cars was greater than dealers could supply, and most dealers had waiting lists for new cars. Preference was given to returning veterans, which meant that non-veterans were bumped down on the waiting lists indefinitely. Tucker's program allowed potential buyers who purchased Tucker accessories to obtain a guaranteed spot on the Tucker dealer waiting list for a Tucker '48 car.

This concept was investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Attorney, and led to an indictment of company executives. Although all charges were eventually dropped, the negative publicity destroyed the company and halted production of the car.

Tucker '48 legacy[edit]

The first Tucker ever produced was a prototype sedan, known as the "Tin Goose". Fifty-eight frames and bodies were built at the factory. From these parts, 36 sedans were finished before the factory was closed. After the factory closed but before liquidation of his assets, Tucker retained a core of employees who assembled an additional 14 sedans for a total of 50. A 51st car was partially completed.

In the early 1950s, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida fairgrounds owner Nick Jenin purchased over 10 Tuckers, the original Tucker test bed chassis, numerous Tucker parts, photos and documents.[21] He developed a traveling display called "The Fabulous Tuckers". He hauled the cars and memorabilia around the country for nearly 10 years displaying them at fairgrounds and car shows. His display highlighted the questionable policies and SEC fraud investigation which brought Tucker down.[21]

When the cars appear at auction, which is rare, they command prices attained by only a few marquee cars. In August 2010 Tucker #1045 sold for $1.127 million[22] while Tucker #1043 went for $2.915 million at auction in 2012.[23]

Remaining Tucker '48s today and original configuration:

Chassis Number Location Owner Engine Transmission Front Suspension Version Original Body Color/Paint Code
1000 (prototype) Huntingdon, PA Swigart Antique Auto Museum Tucker 589 cu in. Direct Drive (Original); Converted to Franklin O-335 by Tucker after first showing. Direct drive torque converters (Original); Converted to Tucker Y-1 by Tucker after first showing. Rubber Disc Type Maroon/600
The prototype was the only complete Tucker with Rubber Disc prototype suspension, the 589 engine, and direct torque converter drive (with no reverse gear). After the first showing it was converted to an O-335/Y-1 at the Tucker factory.
1001 Hershey, PA AACA Museum Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 1 Maroon/600
Car #1001 was previously owned by David Cammack as part of the Tucker Collection in Alexandria, VA. Upon Cammack's death in 2013 his entire extensive Tucker collection was donated to the AACA museum in Hershey, PA.
1002 California Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 1 Waltz Blue/200
Fenders changed from 1003-on to allow rear wheel removal. Rubber Torsion tube front suspension plagued by severe toe-in when braking.
1003 California Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Maroon/600
Front bumper lengthened to protect the center headlight if pulled too close to a wall or barrier.
1004 Nagakutecho, Japan Toyota Automobile Museum Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Grey(Silver)/500
Car was originally Grey(Silver)/500 but was painted Maroon/600 when it was restored in 1978. Was reportedly entered in two NASCAR races in 1950.[24]
1005 Tallahassee, FL Tallahassee Antique Car Museum Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Waltz Blue/200
1006 California Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Green/300
1007 Tacoma, WA LeMay Family Collection Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Originally Green/300 Repainted Navy Blue
Tucker #1007 left the factory in the Green color (#300) with the Light Green (#900) trim on the data plate. There were only eight Green Tuckers, and only 5 remain in the factory Green color. During the early 1960s, Tucker #1007 was painted a bright red-orange, then later painted black, then lastly painted its present deep metallic blue color in the early 1990s. It is currently on display in The Lemay Americas Car Museum in Tacoma, WA.[2]
1008 Chicago, IL Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Beige/400
Car was originally Beige but is now Maroon/600. It is currently located in The Richard Driehaus Collection at Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage.
1009 California LucasFilms, LTD Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Grey(Silver)/500
1010 Washington Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Waltz Blue/200
After 50 years stored in a barn near Tacoma, WA Tucker #1010 was sent to auction in January 2011 via Gooding and Co in Scotsdale, AZ for a starting bid price of $750,000. Reports and photos indicate the engine was seized, with rust damage throughout the vehicle and some minor exterior parts missing, including original hubcaps. Major restoration is necessary.
1011 Montana Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Beige/400
1012 LaPorte, Indiana Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Maroon/600
On public display at the La Porte County Historical Society Museum as part of the Kesling Auto Collection.
1013 Huntingdon, PA Swigart Antique Auto Museum Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Grey(Silver)/500
1014 San Francisco, CA Privately owned/Francis Ford Coppola Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Waltz Blue/200
1015 St. Clair Shores, MI The Stahls Collection Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Sandwich Green/300
1016 Dearborn, MI Henry Ford Museum Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Black/100
1017 Colorado Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Green (300)
1018 Grand Rapids, MI Incomplete/ Remains are privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Beige/400
This car was wrecked/damaged beyond repair in 1953, broadsiding a tree in South Wales, NY. The remnants of the frame are located in Grand Rapids, MI and some body panels are in Roscoe, IL with the owner of Tucker 1027. The engine and Y-1 transmission from #1018 are located at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. Accident Remnants
1019 California Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Black/100
1020 Japan Hani Corporation Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Maroon/600
1021 California Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Black/100
1022 Hershey, PA AACA Museum Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Grey(Silver)/500
Car #1022 was previously owned by David Cammack as part of the Tucker Collection in Alexandria, VA. Upon Cammack's death in 2013 his entire extensive Tucker collection was donated to the AACA museum in Hershey, PA.
1023 Florida Destroyed in Fire Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Maroon/600
In 1978, while in storage awaiting restoration in a DeLand, FL warehouse owned by Allied Van Lines, #1023 was destroyed when the huge warehouse burned to the ground. Remains of car after fire were crushed in 1980 and buried under the garage of the owner, a TACA founder. Remnants Entering the crusher
1024 Lincoln, NE The Smith Collection Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Sandwich Waltz Blue/200
1025 Frankfort, IN The Goodwin Collection Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Sandwich Waltz Blue/200
Rubber sandwich front suspension abandoned due to severe stiffness
1026 Hershey, PA AACA Museum Franklin O-335 Tuckermatic R-1-2 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Maroon/600 (Repainted in Bronze during restoration)
Arguably the most valuable Tucker, #1026 is the only remaining complete Tucker with the Tuckermatic transmission. Car #1026 was previously owned by David Cammack as part of the Tucker Collection in Alexandria, VA. Upon Cammack's death in 2013 his entire extensive Tucker collection was donated to the AACA museum in Hershey, PA. From #1026-on the fuel tank was moved to the front of the car and the Rubber Torsion Tube 2 style suspension with improved toe-in was used. Tucker #1025 and below used a mechanical linkage for the Cyclops Eye, whereas #1026 and above used a new, simpler cable design.[2]
1027 Roscoe, IL Historic Auto Attractions Franklin O-335 Unknown Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Waltz Blue/200
Car was rolled in testing at Indy by Tucker Corp, 1948. The engine/trans were removed at the factory, the chassis was sold at the Tucker factory auction after its closure. Museum also owns some body panels to wrecked Tucker 1018, other parts were either lost or used in restoration of other Tuckers. Accident
1028 Tupelo, MS Tupelo Automobile Museum Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Beige/400
1029 California Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Grey(Silver)/500
1030 Los Angeles, CA Petersen Automotive Museum Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Black/100
1031 Los Angeles, Ca Breslow Collection Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Waltz Blue/200
1032 Reno, NV National Automobile Museum Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Grey(Silver)/500
1033 Maine Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Maroon/600
1034 Tucker, GA The Cofer Collection Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Waltz Blue/200
1035 Caçapava-SP, Brazil Privately owned Franklin O-335. Car now has a Cadillac drivetrain Unknown Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Black/100
1036 Nevada Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Maroon/600
1037 Geyserville, CA Privately owned/Francis Ford Coppola Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Maroon/600
On public display in the wine tasting room at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville (Sonoma County), California.
1038 Unknown Privately owned Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Green/300
#1038 was, for a time, owned by Bernard Glieberman. It was on display in Shreveport, Louisiana while Glieberman owned the Shreveport Pirates. Creditors moved to seize the car due to Glieberman's financial problems, and Glieberman's lawyer attempted to steal the car and hide it from authorities, only to run out of gas. Glieberman was eventually allowed to keep the car.[25] The car was sold at auction in August 2006 for $577,500 ($525,000 plus fees) and sold again in August 2008 for $1,017,500 ($925,000 plus fees).
1039 Washington, DC Smithsonian Institution Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Grey(Silver)/500
After years hidden in Smithsonian storage, Tucker #1039 was finally placed on public display in the Museum of American History in 2011. Tucker #1039 was acquired by the Smithsonian through the U.S. Marshals Service which had previously seized the car in a 1992 narcotics arrest. Instead of selling the car, the U.S. Marshals Service decided to donate the car to the Smithsonian. Currently on loan as of February 2012.[26]
1040 Sylmar, CA The Nethercutt Museum Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Beige/400
1041 California Privately owned Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Black/100
Tucker # 1041 sold at the Clars Auction on June 7, 2009 for $750,000 ($765,000 with fees)
1042 Memphis, TN (Last seen) Abandoned/Destroyed/Lost Franklin O-335 Tuckermatic R-1-2 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Maroon/600
#1042 was sold at the Tucker auction without an engine. Rumors exist that it was used in a "Bash a Tucker" fundraiser in the 1950s or may have been hauled off from its storage location by a disgruntled renter. Its location was unknown until 1960 when it was reportedly found abandoned along the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis, TN, totally destroyed. A Memphis policeman took possession of the remains, but they were later stolen from his property. Most of the Tuckermatic transmission was found and is currently located at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA.
1043 Arizona Privately owned Franklin O-335 Unknown Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Waltz Blue/200
1044 Ohio Privately owned Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Green/300
1045 Melbourne, Australia Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Grey(Silver)/500
1046 California Privately owned Franklin O-335 (original) / Oldsmobile Rocket 88 / Mercury 390CID Unknown Rubber Torsion Tube 2 (Original)/Removed for front engine conversion Maroon/600
This car was converted to a Front-Engine Oldsmobile drive-train in the 1950s by Nick Jenin for his daughter. It was converted again in the 1960s to a 1964 Mercury Monterey chassis with 390 CID front engine. Sold on eBay for $202,700 (8/20/07).
1047 Hickory Corners, MI Gilmore Car Museum Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Waltz Blue/200
1048 Hartford, Wisconsin Privately owned Franklin O-335 Borg-Warner 3-speed automatic Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Green/300
1049 Old Oxted, Surrey, England Privately owned Franklin O-335 Tucker Y-1 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Waltz Blue/200
1050 San Marcos, TX Dicks Classic Garage Franklin O-335 Cord 810/812 Rubber Torsion Tube 2 Maroon/600
Lowest mileage Tucker with 0.4 miles on the odometer.
1051 Butler, New Jersey Privately owned Franklin O-335 Unknown dark red
Tucker 1051 was not completed at the Tucker factory, so it is not technically considered one of the original 51 cars (prototype + 50). The car was purchased at the Tucker auction in an incomplete state, and was finished in the late 1980s using leftover Tucker parts and fiberglass replica doors.

Replica vehicles[edit]

In 1997, Rob Ida Automotive started work on a replica of the Tucker '48 Sedan, which culminated in the release and marketing of the 2001 Ida Automotive New Tucker '48. This replica faithfully recreates the Tucker's external bodywork, but is built on a hotrod chassis with resin infused plastic body panels. The paint and wheels reflect modern hotrod styling, and the interior is fully modern. It is powered by a mid-mounted Cadillac Northstar V8. Claimed performance is 0–60 in 7 seconds, with a top speed in excess of 120 mph (190 km/h). Ida has built three cars.[27]

Alleged convertible prototype[edit]

A convertible Tucker, alleged to be a partially completed prototype developed in the company's waning days, was completed by car collector Justin Cole of Benchmark Classics in Madison, Wisconsin.[28] There is considerable debate as to the car's authenticity as a convertible[29] and no documentation has ever been provided to show the Tucker Corporation ever built a convertible prototype.[30] The restorers proved unable to document the supposed convertible prototype's provenance[31] and the Tucker Automobile Club of America stated it had been provided with no proof of its authenticity and was unable to verify it as such.[30] Tremulis denied there was ever a factory convertible project, official or otherwise, but did state he had been working on body #57 when the plant shut down and said specifically, "we were changing the rear window to a full wrap around and had already started cutting the opening for the (1949 model year) re-style job". Tucker #57 was the only 1949 model produced, as referenced in the Tremulis records, with the rear window styling change. All the other Tuckers were 1948 models including the prototype. "[32] The convertible part, whether it happened at the factory or after factory closed is still in dispute.[28][30]

The convertible was part of a Russo and Steele auction, January 20–24, 2010. Bidding climbed to $1.5 million, but never reached the sellers reserve.[33]

NASCAR[edit]

Several Tuckers were entered in the NASCAR Grand National series in the 1950s.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "The 1948 Tucker: Specifications". The Showroom of Automotive History. The Henry Ford. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f http://www.lemaymarymount.org/vintage-car-collection.htm
  3. ^ "Tucker History: Fact Sheet". Tucker Automobile Club of America. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ Lawson SEC Trial Testimony, National Archives, Chicago
  5. ^ "Car of the Future". San Antonio Light. February 11, 1946. p. 5. 
  6. ^ "Torpedo Car Will Be Made in Chicago". Traverse City Record-Eagle. United Press International. February 11, 1946. p. 2. 
  7. ^ a b Tremulis SEC Trial Testimony, National Archives, Chicago
  8. ^ a b c Egan, Philip S. (1989). Design and Destiny: The Making of the Tucker Automobile (1st ed.). Orange, CA: On the Mark. ISBN 978-0-924321-00-9. [page needed]
  9. ^ "Tucker Acquitted of Fraud; Wants to Build Autos". Jacksonville Daily Journal. January 24, 1950. p. 1. 
  10. ^ Tucker Topics," Tucker Corporation, 1948
  11. ^ "Fantastic Tucker Story". Waukesha Daily Freeman. June 29, 1949. p. 8. 
  12. ^ a b c d Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. (2008). American Cars, 1946–1959: Every Model, Year by Year. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. pp. 855, 1013–1015. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5. 
  13. ^ U.S. Design Patent no. 154,192, P.T. Tucker, Design for an Automobile, June 14, 1949
  14. ^ "Directory Index: Tucker/album/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  15. ^ Duchene, Paul (February 1, 2011). "11 things you didn't know about the Tucker '48". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  16. ^ Van Riper, A. Bowdoin (2011). A Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists and Inventors in American Film and TV since 1930. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. pp. 235–237. ISBN 0-8108-8128-4. 
  17. ^ a b Duchene, Paul (February 1, 2011). "Preston Tucker: The Man behind the Car". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  18. ^ Mitten, Ray (January 24, 1948). "Tucker Fights Republic for Steel Plant". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved February 10, 2012. [page needed]
  19. ^ a b Burgess-Wise, David (1977). Ward, Ian, ed. The World of Automobiles: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car (Reference ed.). Milwaukee: Purnell Reference. p. 2386. ISBN 978-0-8393-6009-4. 
  20. ^ Auto editors of Consumer Guide (2002). Cars of the Fascinating '40s: A Decade of Challenges and Changes. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International. pp. 264–265. ISBN 0-7853-6274-6. 
  21. ^ a b Ash, Agnes (May 8, 1960). "The Car Arrived Before Its Time". The Miami News. 
  22. ^ "Lot 246 1948 Tucker 48 4Dr Sedan". RM Auctions. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Barrett-Jackson Lot 5008: 1948 Tucker Torpedo". Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  24. ^ http://www.hemmings.com/hcc/stories/2012/03/01/hmn_feature1.html
  25. ^ Tobas, Daniel. "The Great Tucker Caper (Or: Glieberman Schlepped Here!)". Archived from the original on February 8, 2001. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Tucker automobile". America on the Move Collection. National Museum of American History. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  27. ^ Matras, John (July 2001). "Ida Automotive New Tucker 48". Car and Driver. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  28. ^ a b Norman, Jim (July 24, 2009). "The Tucker That Time Forgot". The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  29. ^ Earnest, Brian. "The Mysterious Tucker Convertible". Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  30. ^ a b c Follis, Jay A. "Official TACA Statement on Tucker Convertible" (Press release). Tucker Automobile Club of America. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  31. ^ Moe, Doug (January 12, 2010). "Madison Man Rehabs Rare Tucker Convertible". Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI). Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  32. ^ Pearson, Charles T. (1960). The Indomitable Tin Goose: The True Story of Preston Tucker and His Car. London: Abelard-Schuman. p. 285. 
  33. ^ "Vintage: Only Tucker Convertible To Be Auctioned". Speed Channel. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  34. ^ Schutta, Mike (March 1, 2012). "Racing Rarity". Hemmings Motor News. Retrieved August 18, 2013. )

External links[edit]