A 1948 Tucker Sedan at the Blackhawk Auto Museum.
|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|
|Layout||Rear engine/Rear Wheel Drive, 4-wheel independent suspension (Rubber torsion tube (no springs) with shock absorbers)|
|Engine||H-6 (horizontally opposed), OHV, 334.1 cubic inches (5.475 L) (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);
TuckerMatic (R-1, R-1-2, R-3 versions)
|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 $1,000, but the actual price was closer to $4,000. 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. The car is commonly referred to as the "Tucker Torpedo". This name was never used in conjunction with the actual production car, and its name was officially "Tucker 48".
- 1 Development
- 2 Innovative design features
- 3 Troubled premiere
- 4 Continued development
- 5 SEC investigation and demise of Tucker Corporation
- 6 Tucker '48 Cars
- 7 Replica vehicles
- 8 Tucker Convertible Prototype
- 9 NASCAR
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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, which could develop new cars more rapidly than the huge legacy automakers. Studebaker was the 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 flat-6 rear engine, disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, 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. 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. Lawson was named the Tucker Corporation's "chief stylist" in February 1946, immediately upon the company's formation.
In December 1946, Lawson resigned from the company 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. 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 with 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. 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. 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.
The Tucker '48's evolving appearance in the company'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 Preston Tucker. The SEC, however, failed to prove its case, and Tucker was acquitted of all charges in January 1950. However, the company 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.
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.
Innovative design features
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. Tucker fabricated a cover for the cyclops center light for use in these states.
The car had a rear engine 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 dashboard was padded for safety. The windshield was made of shatter-proof 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. 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 dashboard 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. The engine and transmission were mounted on a separate subframe which was secured with only six bolts. The entire drive train 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.
Tucker envisioned several other innovations that were later abandoned. Magnesium wheels, disc brakes, fuel injection, self-sealing tubeless tires, and a direct-drive torque converter transmission were all evaluated or tested, but were dropped on the final prototype due to cost, engineering complexity, and lack of time to develop.
Tucker initially tried to develop an innovative engine, with help from Ben Parsons, who at that time was the owner and president of the Fuelcharger Corporation, and would later be Tucker's VP of engineering. 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 in line with the ignition distributor and delivered appropriately timed direct oil pressure to open each valve at proper intervals. The oil pressure fed to each valve was "timed" by intake and exhaust eccentrics and measured by spring-loaded plungers. Built of aluminum and magnesium castings with steel-plated cylinder linings, the huge pistons required up to 60 volts to turn over the starter, nearly 3 times the power of a normal starter. 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. It was designed to produce almost 200 HP and 450 ft-lbs of torque at only 1800 RPM. When cruising at 60 mph it would only turn at approximately 1000 rpm. These features would have been auto industry firsts in 1948, but as engine development proceeded, problems appeared. Six prototypes of the 589 engine were built, but the engine was installed only in the test chassis and the first prototype.
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 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. Additionally the high-voltage starter required the use of outside power to get the engine started, so Tucker had the engineering team keep the engine running during the entire event, fearing that the public would see how much effort was required to get the engine started. 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.
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. 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.
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.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
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 valve train proved problematic and the engine only produced approximately 88 hp (66 kW). The high oil pressure required a 24-volt electrical system, up to 60 volts to get it started, and a long cranking time at start-up. Additionally the oil pressure required to maintain valve function was not achieved until the engine was turning at higher RPMs and Tucker's engineers struggled with keeping the valve train working at idle and lower speeds/RPMs. Having wasted nearly a 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), 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). 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.
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.
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 that 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.
To solve the transmission problems with a new design, Warren Rice, creator of the Buick Dynaflow transmission, was consulted. A unique continuously variable 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 in the car.
Suspension and body
Suspension designs, especially the front suspension, had to be changed throughout development. Rather than springs, Tucker used an elastomeric (rubber) 4-wheel independent suspension similar to what 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 with 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. From car #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.
Three versions of the front suspension were installed in the cars (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 the upper and lower A-arms) on cars #1003–1025, however this type was severely stiff. Starting on car #1026, Tucker finally settled on a suspension design with a modified version of the rubber torsion tube with the toe-in braking problem corrected.
Original Six Tucker Paint Color Codes:
- 100: Black
- 200: Waltz Blue
- 300: Green
- 400: Beige
- 500: Grey (Silver)
- 600: Maroon
Original Three Tucker Interior Trim Color Codes:
- 900: Green
- 920: Blue
- 940: Beige
Funding and publicity
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
One of Tucker's most innovative business ideas caused trouble for the company. 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 that 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 Cars
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. A few of the remaining frames and bodies were built into complete cars, the fate of others unknown.
In the early 1950s, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, fairgrounds owner Nick Jenin purchased over ten Tuckers, the original Tucker testbed chassis, numerous Tucker parts, photos and documents. 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.
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 while Tucker #1043 went for $2.915 million at auction in 2012.
|Chassis Number||Location||Owner||Engine||Transmission||Front Suspension Version||Original Body Color/Paint Code|
|0000 (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|
|Car #1003 is currently on display at the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum in San Francisco. Sold at Gooding & Co's Pebble Beach Auction in 2014 for $2,035,000 |
|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.|
|1005||Tallahassee, FL||Tallahassee Automobile 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 Green interior(#900) trim. 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.|
|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||Waltz Blue/200|
|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 The front end sheet metal from car #1018 was used to complete car #1052 in 2015.|
|1019||California||Privately owned||Franklin O-335||Tucker Y-1||Rubber Sandwich||Grey/500|
|Painted light blue by its owner in 1959, shortly after purchasing the car. He repainted it again a few years later in a metallic blue shade approximating Waltz Blue, applied to the car on his driveway at night, a flashlight in one hand, the spray-gun in the other! That paint-job remains on the car to this day.|
|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 sent to the crusher in 1980 by 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||Green/300|
|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.|
|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||Maroon/600|
|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||Waltz Blue/200|
|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. 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.|
|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||Cord||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||Dick's Classic Garage||Franklin O-335||Cord 810/812||Rubber Torsion Tube 2||Maroon/600|
|Lowest mileage Tucker with 0.4 miles on the odometer.|
|Chassis Number||Location||Owner||Engine||Transmission||Front Suspension Version||Original Body Color/Paint Code|
|1051||Butler, New Jersey||Privately owned||Franklin O-335||Unknown||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. The chassis used to complete #1051 is actually numbered #1054.|
|1052||Aurora, Indiana||Privately owned||Franklin O-335||Tucker Y-1||Unknown||dark red|
|Tucker 1052 was not completed at the Tucker factory, so it is also not technically considered one of the original 51 cars (prototype + 50). #1052 was a test chassis used at the factory for testing automatic transmission designs. The car consisted of only the chassis, driveline and suspension, dash and seats. The car was completed in 2015 by Tucker Enthusiast John Schuler using NOS (New Old Stock) parts he collected over many years, along with front sheetmetal sourced from car #1018. Reproduction floorpans, roof and rear doors were used.|
|The chassis of car #1054 may have been used to complete car #1051.|
|Some Tucker historians believe #1055 was the actual chassis used for the controversial Tucker convertible project completed by car collector Justin Cole of Benchmark Classics.|
|1057||Unknown||Privately owned||Franklin 0-335||Cord 610/812||Unknown||Waltz Blue/200|
|#1057 remains a mystery but may have been a prototype being worked on by Tucker designer Alex Tremulis for the 1949 model year. It was one of eight incomplete body shells (believed to be #1051-1059) left on the assembly line at the time the Tucker plant was closed. Photos from the factory suggest #1057 was being built with a "wrap around rear window" as one of the 1949 year design changes. The car was never completed and it's whereabouts are unknown. There is controversy as to whether #1057 was used in the Tucker convertible project by car collector Justin Cole of Benchmark Classics, or if that chassis was actually #1055.|
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.
Tucker Convertible Prototype
Significant controversy has been generated surrounding the convertible Tucker, alleged to be a partially completed prototype developed in the company's waning days. The convertible Tucker was completed by car collector Justin Cole of Benchmark Classics in Madison, Wisconsin. There is considerable debate as to the car's authenticity "as a convertible" and no documentation has ever been provided to show the Tucker Corporation ever built a convertible prototype. The restorers proved unable to document the supposed "convertible" prototype's provenance 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. Tucker designer Alex Tremulis has denied there was ever a factory convertible project, official or otherwise, but did state he had been working on body #1057 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 #1057 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. " The "convertible part", whether it happened at the factory or after the factory closed is still in dispute. Some Tucker historians believe that the convertible was actually fabricated from chassis #1055, but was incorrectly stamped as #1057 by the restorers as #1057 has been seen in factory photos with a hard-top in place, being reworked with a wrap-around rear window for the 1949 model year, clearly not a convertible.
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- "Torpedo Car Will Be Made in Chicago". Traverse City Record-Eagle. United Press International. February 11, 1946. p. 2.
- Tremulis SEC Trial Testimony, National Archives, Chicago
- 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]
- "Tucker Acquitted of Fraud; Wants to Build Autos". Jacksonville Daily Journal. January 24, 1950. p. 1.
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- 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.
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- "Gooding's Pebble Beach 2014 Auction". Gooding and Company. Retrieved 12.1.14. Check date values in:
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- Matras, John (July 2001). "Ida Automotive New Tucker 48". Car and Driver. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tucker vehicles.|
- TuckerClub.org Official Tucker Automobile Club of America Website - Information about the cars, including the locations of all extant examples
- www.htmgv.org Henry Ford Museum Tucker Exhibit
- RobIdaConcepts.com The Ida Automotive New Tucker '48 and Lower '48
- Automotive History Online Tucker Automobile History & Photos
- Tucker 48 Jalopnik Fantasy Garage
- Tucker Torpedo Automobile 1948 3D model of the Tucker
- Antique Automobile Club thread about the auction of Tucker #1010
- Short lived/Odd vehicle collection from Chuck's Toyland
- Huntsville Rewound feature about Keller Automobiles (18 made/3 exist)