1948 Tucker Sedan

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Tucker '48

A 1948 Tucker Sedan at the Blackhawk Auto Museum.
ManufacturerTucker Car Corporation
Production1947–1948 (MY1948 - Total of 51 cars completed)
AssemblyChicago, IL, United States
ClassSedan
LayoutRear engine/Rear Wheel Drive, 4-wheel independent suspension (Rubber torsion tube (no springs) with shock absorbers)
EngineH-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
TransmissionCord 810/812; Tucker Y-1 (Modified Cord 810/812);[1]
TuckerMatic (R-1, R-1-2, R-3 versions)
Wheelbase128 in (325 cm)
Length219 in (556 cm)
Width79 in (201 cm)
Height60 in (152 cm)
Curb weight4,200 lb (1,900 kg)
Designer(s)Alex Tremulis
 
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Tucker '48

A 1948 Tucker Sedan at the Blackhawk Auto Museum.
ManufacturerTucker Car Corporation
Production1947–1948 (MY1948 - Total of 51 cars completed)
AssemblyChicago, IL, United States
ClassSedan
LayoutRear engine/Rear Wheel Drive, 4-wheel independent suspension (Rubber torsion tube (no springs) with shock absorbers)
EngineH-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
TransmissionCord 810/812; Tucker Y-1 (Modified Cord 810/812);[1]
TuckerMatic (R-1, R-1-2, R-3 versions)
Wheelbase128 in (325 cm)
Length219 in (556 cm)
Width79 in (201 cm)
Height60 in (152 cm)
Curb weight4,200 lb (1,900 kg)
Designer(s)Alex Tremulis

The 1948 Tucker Sedan or Tucker '48 Sedan (initially named the Tucker Torpedo[2]) 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 (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. 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 was US$1,200,000.

Contents

Overview

After WWII, 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 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 tack, 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.

Tucker's first design for the car appeared in a December 1946 Science Illustrated magazine article entitled "Torpedo on Wheels", showing a futuristic version of the car with a hydraulic drive system designed by George Lawson, along with a photo of a 1/8 scale model blown up to appear full sized. This was only an early rendering of the proposal, with its design features yet to make it off the drawing board, but the article helped make the motoring public aware of the Tucker.

To finish the prototype design and get construction under way, Tucker hired famed stylist Alex Tremulis, previously of Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg, on December 24, 1946 and gave him just six days to finalize the design. On December 31, 1946, Tucker approved Tremulis' preliminary design. Tucker's future car became known as the "Tucker Torpedo" from the first Lawson sketch, but because Tucker did not want to remind the public of the horrors of WWII, he quickly changed the name to the "Tucker '48". With Tremulis' design sketch, a full page advertisement was run in March 1947 in many national newspapers, proclaiming "How 15 years of testing produced the car of the year". Tucker said he had been thinking about the car for 15 years. This second advertisement specifically described many of the innovative features Tucker proposed for his car, many of which would not make it to the final version. This advertisement helped generate considerable public enthusiasm for the car, but Tucker had much work to do before a prototype was complete.

To finalize the design, Tucker hired the New York design firm J. Gordon Lippincott to create an alternate body. Only the front end and horizontal tail-light bar designs were refined for the final car. Tremulis gave the first prototype car the nickname of "Tin Goose".

Innovative design features

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.[3] Tucker fabricated a cover for the cyclops center light for use in these states.

A Tucker '48 Sedan design patent illustration[4]

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.[5] 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.[3] The engine and transmission were mounted on a separate sub frame 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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[3]

Troubled premiere

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 Tin Goose's independent suspension arms snapped under the car's own weight. (The Tin Goose 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]

A skeptical journalist named Drew Pearson reported publicly that the car was a fraud because it could not go backward and that it went "goose-geese" going down the road.[9] 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.[9]

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.[10]

Continued development

Engine

Tucker 589cu.in. prototype direct drive engine. (Note torque converters at each end and the early rubber disk-type suspension used on Tin Goose)
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),[11] 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).[11] 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.[12]

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

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 resistance based on load.

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 lay-shaft 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, however 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

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[3] 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 Tin Goose 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 Tin Goose). 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 Tucker Paint Codes:[1]

Funding and publicity

Having raised $17,000,000 in a stock issue (equal to $176,941,878 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 $20,816,692 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

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

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.[13] 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.[13]

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[14] while Tucker #1043 went for $2.915 million at auction in 2012.[15]

Remaining Tucker '48s today and original configuration:

Chassis NumberLocationOwnerEngineTransmissionFront Suspension VersionOriginal Body Color/Paint Code
1000 (Tin Goose)Huntingdon, PASwigart Antique Auto MuseumTucker 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 TypeMaroon/600
Tin Goose 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.
1001Alexandria, VATucker Collection/Privately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 1Maroon/600
1002CaliforniaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 1Waltz Blue/200
Fenders changed from 1003-on to allow rear wheel removal. Rubber Torsion tube front suspension plagued by severe toe-in when braking.
1003CaliforniaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichMaroon/600
Front bumper lengthened to protect the center headlight if pulled too close to a wall or barrier.
1004Nagakutecho, JapanToyota Automobile MuseumFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichGrey(Silver)/500
Car was originally Grey(Silver)/500 but was painted Maroon/600 when it was restored in 1978.
1005Tallahassee, FLTallahassee Antique Car MuseumFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichWaltz Blue/200
1006CaliforniaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichGreen/300
1007Tacoma, WALeMay Family CollectionFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichGreen/300
1008Chicago, ILChicago Vintage Motor CarriageFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichBeige/400
Car was originally Beige but is now Maroon/600. It is currently located in The Richard Driehaus Collection at Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage.
1009CaliforniaLucasFilms, LTDFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichGrey(Silver)/500
1010WashingtonPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichWaltz 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.
1011MontanaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichBeige/400
1012LaPorte, IndianaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichMaroon/600
1013Huntingdon, PASwigart Antique Auto MuseumFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichGrey(Silver)/500
1014San Francisco, CAPrivately owned/Francis Ford CoppolaFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichWaltz Blue/200
1015St. Clair Shores, MIThe Stahls CollectionFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber SandwichGreen/300
1016Dearborn, MIHenry Ford MuseumFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichBlack/100
1017ColoradoPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichGreen (300)
1018Grand Rapids, MIIncomplete/ Remains are privately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichBeige/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 Tucker Collection in Alexandria, VA.
1019CaliforniaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichBlack/100
1020JapanHani CorporationFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichMaroon/600
1021CaliforniaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichBlack/100
1022Alexandria, VATucker Collection/Privately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichGrey(Silver)/500
1023FloridaDestroyed in FireTucker Y-1Rubber SandwichMaroon/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 and buried under the garage of the owner, a TACA founder.
1024Lincoln, NEThe Smith CollectionFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber SandwichWaltz Blue/200
1025Frankfort, INThe Goodwin CollectionFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber SandwichWaltz Blue/200
Rubber sandwich front suspension abandoned due to severe stiffness
1026Alexandria, VATucker Collection/Privately ownedFranklin O-335Tuckermatic R-1-2Rubber Torsion Tube 2Maroon/600 (Repainted in Bronze during restoration)
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. Arguably the most valuable Tucker, #1026 is the only remaining complete Tucker with the Tuckermatic transmission.
1027Roscoe, ILHistoric Auto AttractionsFranklin O-335UnknownRubber Torsion Tube 2Waltz 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.
1028Tupelo, MSTupelo Automobile MuseumFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber Torsion Tube 2Beige/400
1029CaliforniaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Grey(Silver)/500
1030Los Angeles, CAPetersen Automotive MuseumFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Black/100
1031Los Angeles, CaBreslow CollectionFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Waltz Blue/200
1032Reno, NVNational Automobile MuseumFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber Torsion Tube 2Grey(Silver)/500
1033MainePrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Maroon/600
1034Tucker, GAThe Cofer CollectionFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Waltz Blue/200
1035Caçapava - SP, BrazilPrivately ownedFranklin O-335UnknownRubber Torsion Tube 2Black/100
1036NevadaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Maroon/600
1037Rutherford, CAPrivately owned/Francis Ford CoppolaFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Maroon/600
1038UnknownPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber Torsion Tube 2Green/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.[16] 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).
1039Washington, DCSmithsonian InstitutionFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Grey(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. Marshall Service which had previously seized the car in a 1992 narcotics arrest. Instead of selling the car, the U.S. Marshall Service decided to donate the car to the Smithsonian. Currently on loan as of February 2012.[17]
1040Sylmar, CASan Sylmar MuseumFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Beige/400
1041CaliforniaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber Torsion Tube 2Black/100
Tucker # 1041 sold at the Clars Auction on June 7, 2009 for $750,000 ($765,000 with fees)
1042Memphis, TN (Last seen)Abandoned/Destroyed/LostFranklin O-335Tuckermatic R-1-2Rubber Torsion Tube 2Maroon/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 Tucker Collection in Alexandria, VA.
1043ArizonaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335UnknownRubber Torsion Tube 2Waltz Blue/200
1044OhioPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber Torsion Tube 2Green/300
1045Melbourne, AustraliaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Grey(Silver)/500
1046CaliforniaPrivately ownedFranklin O-335 (original) / Oldsmobile Rocket 88 / Mercury 390CIDUnknownRubber Torsion Tube 2 (Original)/Removed for front engine conversionMaroon/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).
1047Hickory Corners, MIGilmore Car MuseumFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber Torsion Tube 2Waltz Blue/200
1048Hartford, WisconsinPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Borg-Warner 3-speed automaticRubber Torsion Tube 2Green/300
1049Old Oxted, Surrey, EnglandPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Tucker Y-1Rubber Torsion Tube 2Waltz Blue/200
1050San Marcos, TXDicks Classic GarageFranklin O-335Cord 810/812Rubber Torsion Tube 2Maroon/600
Lowest mileage Tucker with 0.4 miles on the odometer.
1051Butler, New JerseyPrivately ownedFranklin O-335Unknowndark red
Tucker 1051 was not completed at the Tucker factory, so it is not technically considered one of the original 51 cars (Tin Goose + 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

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 rear-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.[18]

Alleged convertible prototype

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.[19] There is considerable debate as to the car's authenticity as a convertible[20] and no documentation has ever been provided to show the Tucker Corporation ever built a convertible prototype.[21] The restorers proved unable to document the supposed convertible prototype's provenance[22] 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.[21] 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 Tin Goose. "[23] The convertible part, whether it happened at the factory or after factory closed is still in dispute.[19][21]

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.[24]

Similar automobiles

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e "The 1948 Tucker: Specifications". The Showroom of Automotive History. The Henry Ford. http://www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/showroom/1948/specs.html. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Tucker History - Fact Sheet". Tucker Automobile Club of America. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. http://www.tuckerclub.org/html/history.php. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Jr, J. "Kelly" Flory (2008). American cars, 1946-1959 : every model, year by year. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.. pp. 855, 1013–1015. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5. 
  4. ^ U.S. Design Patent no. 154,192, P.T. Tucker, Design for an Automobile, June 14, 1949
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