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Mario's Tribute to the 1948 Tucker Torpedo

1948 Tucker Torpedo

Preston Tucker was a gifted performer and an egomaniac who insulated himself from criticism by surrounding himself with acolytes. He knew how to manipulate the press.

He designed a safety car with innovative features and modern styling. The doors extended into the roof to ease entry and exit.

Rear engine for improved traction, Aluminum block 335 cubic inch, 6-cylinder engine with 167 horsepower and an astonishing 390-pound feet of torque and 20 mpg.

Centrally located, the 3rd headlight would activate at steering angles greater than 10 degrees to light the car's path around corners.

The car he created was indeed a transformative break with the past, but he was unable to scale production to meet expectations.

I was fortunate to see Tucker S/N1044 at the Gold Coast Car Show in June 2024. Enjoy, Mario.

1 1948 Tucker Sedan produced in Chicago in 1948. Only 51 examples were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949.

2 Preston Tucker designed a safety car with innovative features and modern styling. The doors extended into the roof to ease entry and exit.

3 Rear mounted engine 335ci boxer-6 horizontally opposed, OHV, 167 hp alloy power plant. Water cooled, 0-60 in 10 seconds, top cruising speed of 130mph.

4 Tucker’s specifications called for a rear engine like Porsche, disc brakes, fuel injection, the location of all instruments within reach of the steering wheel, seat belts and a padded dash.

5 The final car was only 60 inches tall but was very roomy inside. This model sold in 2012 at Barrett Jackson Auction for $2,915,000.

6 Tucker at the San Diego Automotive Museum CA. The Tucker featured a directional third headlight, dubbed the Cyclops Eye for use in turns.

7 Centrally located, the 3rd headlight would activate at steering angles greater than 10 degrees to light the car's path around corners.

8 A perimeter frame surrounded the vehicle for crash protection, as well as a roll bar integrated into the roof.

9 The instrument panel and all controls were within easy reach of the steering wheel and the dashboard was padded for safety.

10 Tucker 48 at Stahl’s Automotive Collection. Rear engine, rear-wheel drive, 4-wheel independent suspension, rubber torsion tube, no springs with shock absorbers.

11 The 48's original proposed price was said to be $1,000, but the actual selling price was closer to $4,000. Wheelbase 128.0 in, Length 219.0 in, Width 79.0 in Height 60.0 in, Weight 4200 lbs.

12 Tucker at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed, England. Tucker suspected that the Big Three automakers and Michigan Senator Homer S. Ferguson had a role in the Tucker Corporation's demise.

13 The Third Headlight, that would light your way into turns. The windshield was made of shatterproof glass and designed to pop out in a collision to protect occupants.

14 Rear engine for improved traction. The Tucker ’48 was an overnight sensation attracting huge crowds everywhere it showed up.

15 Pop-out windshields, padded dashboard, safety crash compartment, aviation style doors, exit buttons instead of handles were all part of the innovative features.

16 All the Instrument Panel controls were within easy reach of the driver. People rushed to buy accessories that would get them a place in line for a car.

17 Roomy trunk in the front. The engine is in the rear. Dealers flooded Tucker with requests to buy a dealer franchise.

18 Spare tire and luggage no problem. This was no surprise when you consider the array of features that this car had.

19 Aluminum 335 cubic inch, opposed, 6-cylinder engine with 167 horsepower and an astonishing 390-pound feet of torque, 20 mpg.

20 Aircraft style doors cut into the roof line. Lowered, step down floor for lower center of gravity.

21 The world premiere of the much-hyped Tucker 48 car was set for June 19, 1947. Over 3,000 people showed up at the factory in Chicago.

22 Original Tucker paint colors were Black, Blue, Green, Beige, Maroon, and Silver.

23 The car's parking brake had a separate key so it could be locked in place to prevent theft. Preston Tucker held a patent for a collapsible steering column design.

24 The cars were an instant success, with crowds gathering wherever they stopped. One report says Tucker was pulled over by a police officer intent on getting a better look at the car.

25 1948 Tucker sold for $1,792,500 in Arizona 2018. Personal car of Preston Tucker until 1955. Star of the 1948 promotional film “Tucker The Man and the Car”.

26 Among the proposed highlights were fuel injection, a torque converter, and disk brakes. Although these advancements never made it to production.

27 Tucker drove this car for seven years before he sold it to the Arkansas governor, Winthrop Rockefeller.

28 The 1948 Tucker was developed as a revolutionary car for the time. It had many features and innovations, some of which would become commonplace on cars that would follow.

29 1948 Tucker at Petersen Automotive Museum, LA, CA in Black.

30 Of the 51 cars built (50 production and 1 prototype) 47 still exist. The majority are in excellent condition.

31 1948 Tucker Car Show.

32 1948 Tucker Car Show.

33 1948 Tucker Car Show.

34 1948 Tucker Car Show.

35 1948 Tucker Car Show.

36 1948 Tucker Car Show.

37 Tucker 335 engine and Tucker Matic R-1-2 transmission.

38 Engine in rear.

39 Trunk in front.

40 Trunk in front.

41 Concealed gas fill cap in left rear fender.

42 Tucker Torpedo Brochure 1948.

43 Sheetmetal being reworked.

44 Engine installation in rear.

45 Hand rework on assembly line.

46 Final Assembly Line.

47 1948 Tucker being shown to the public. Preston Tucker is top left.

48 Crowd gathers to see the all-new 1948 Tucker on the street.

49 The first Tucker produced was a prototype sedan, known as the Tin Goose.

50 Model showing the new 1948 Tucker.

51 The cars were an instant success, with crowds gathering wherever they stopped.

52 One report says Tucker was pulled over by a police officer intent on getting a better look at the car.

53 Preston Tucker was the last centuries Elon Musk. He was born on Sept 21, 1903, on a peppermint farm near Capac, Michigan. He died Dec 26, 1956, of pneumonia from a complication of lung cancer at age 53.

54 Tucker Unveiling Showing Marilyn Lee, her parents Vera and Preston Tucker at the public unveiling of the very first Tucker on June 19, 1947.

55 Preston Tucker overseeing Champagne bottle breaking by his daughter to inaugurate the new 1948 Tucker.

56 June 19, 1947, a cover of TUCKER TOPICS, the Tucker Corporation newsletter showcasing Marilyn Lee christening the Tucker Tin Goose before a crowd of 5,000 at Tucker’s Chicago factory.

57 The car he created was indeed a transformative break with the past, but he was unable to scale production to meet expectations.

58 Preston Tucker was a gifted performer and an egomaniac who insulated himself from criticism by surrounding himself with acolytes. He knew how to manipulate the press.

59 1948 Tucker Ad.

60 1948 Tucker Ad.

61 1948 Tucker Ad.

62 1948 Tucker Ad.

63 1948 Tucker Ad.

64 1948 Tucker Ad.

65 1948 Tucker Ad.

66 1988 Movie Tucker the Man and His Dream starring Jeff Bridges. See the Movie Trailer I posted.

67 1948 Tucker Brochure.

68 1948 Tucker Brochure.

69 Tucker the Man the Car the Defeat. See the short video I posted.

70 1948 Tucker Ad.

71 1948 Tucker Torpedo at the Gold Coast Waterfront Car Show in Glen Cove, LI, NY which I attended June 23, 2024. This Tucker S/N 1044 was sold at RM Sotheby's Auction in Arizona on January 19, 2017 for $1,347,500 to Howard Kroplick of Roslyn, LI, NY. He has owned it since then and he trailered his Tucker to the car show where I met him.

72 Tucker s/n 1044 The highest quality, most accurate and most awarded 1948 Tucker ever! See the video I posted.

73 Coat of Arms Emblem

74 Tucker Coat of Arms emblem


Video and audio clips

Preston Tucker Story


Revealed: 1948 Tucker 48


1948 Tucker - Jay Leno's Garage


$2.9 Mil 1948 Tucker BARRETT-JACKSON


1948 Tucker 48 Cyclops head light demonstration


Preston Tucker's Great Grandsons and Tucker s/n 1044


Tucker s/n 1044 Most awarded Tucker ever


Movie Trailer: Tucker The Man and His Dream


Tucker the Man and the Car Promo Film


Tucker the Man the Car the Defeat


Tucker #1044: Start up and lap


Howard Kroplick’s 1948 Tucker #1044 driving into the Gold Coast Cruisers Car Show in Glen Cove NY Jul 10, 2023



Related

More Cars of the 1940s
More _Other_ Coverage

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Comments

Mario on Jul 5, 2024 said:

I was fortunate to see Tucker S/N 1044 at the Gold Coast Car Show in Glen Cove LI NY in June 2024. What an amazing treat this was for me.

The current owner since 2017 Howard Kroplick of Roslyn, LI NY was there and I got to meet him.

The 1948 Tucker Torpedo was years ahead of its time with so many futuristic advancements.

Get some popcorn and whatever you like to drink and watch the 10 videos I posted. You'll learn a lot as I did. Enjoy the show, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

azmusclecar on Jul 5, 2024 said:

I have no idea Mario, why my interest peaked in the Tucker Automobile recently. I have never seen one in person. I saw them in photos and equated it with the Edsel.

Maybe my knowledge and respect for the achievements and also the failings of entrepreneurs has found interest in my senior years.

As I age and I read information contained in this thread, the appreciation of the bygone years is now stronger than ever. To read, and see in videos the absolute commitment of one person leading others to create what was a car way ahead of it's time. I read the comparison of Tucker to Elon Musk.

When I see JUST the safety design, the overall build of the car and it's initial conception, imagine had the wheels of invention picked up speed and laid tracks to compete with the other autos.

So many other now defunct or failed designs I can garner a better understanding of why. But this, the Tucker? And to see that some of the safety designs on the Tucker are now STANDARD on our cars now 75 years later. Mandated safety improvements.

I could go on and on and maybe someday before the good Lord calls me home, I hope to see a Tucker in person and really take in the car's personality NOW with a better appreciation of what Tucker was trying to achieve.

I haven't seen all 10 videos yet as I'm out of popcorn but I can remedy that with a trip in my Nova and enjoy my car of over 50 years gone by.

Excellent thread Mario, one of your finest. Thank you. Rob

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jul 6, 2024 said:

Excellent synopsis Rob on the 1948 Tucker. Yes 1948! We have to keep that in mind when we see the car.

Too many people compare the 1948 Tucker to modern 2024 thinking. The car industry wouldn't be here today without the Preston Tuckers of its day. One can criticize Preston Tucker about his personality, etc, but look at his accomplishments and inventive genius instead.

I believe the Big 3 did with the Governments help put him out of business and bankruptcy because we now know that's been going on for a long time. Not just in the US but in the World.

To see Tucker S/N 1044 in person at the car show knowing it's history and outcome I was mesmerized and convinced that Preston Tucker was decades ahead of his time. And some people are afraid of that. Thank you Rob for your insights as always.

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Jul 5, 2024 said:

There is no denying the Tucker was a very interesting and even a very good looking car but as far as I am concerned the car is still mostly about hype and hype in the first degree. The one single thing that makes me laugh the most about the Tucker mystique, is the belief that the BIG THREE killed the Tucker. I take that for the nonsense that it is. Preston Tucker killed the Tucker because he could not deliver the goods as promised. The movie "Tucker the man and his dream" is good entertainment but mostly Hollywood fantasy. I saw a Tucker within four feet at the Henry Ford musseum in Dearborn Michigan a number of years ago but I am not sure if it is still. By the way I really dought that any American car company felt threatened by the Tucker. A good looking interesting car and that is where I leave it. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jul 6, 2024 said:

Thank you for your thoughts and comments George. Yes the Tucker is very interesting and it was decades ahead of all other cars back in 1948. Preston's ideas are being realized to this day over 75 years later!

My 2012 BMW 525 had moveable headlights to see around the corner, just for one. I wonder where they got the idea? Cheers, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

azmuscle on Jul 8, 2024 said:

George, having NEVER watched the movie, I will pre-agree with you as far as CREATIVE LICENSE used by Hollywood, they will hype almost anything they put on the screen. Afterall it's about the money, not the truth.

I watched the movie "Oppenheimer" and of course it's the same thing. They even tried making parts of the movie black and white to resemble history. Nice try Jollywood.

I watched the movie "The Imitation Game" about the Enigma code breaking and it too even had to throw in some LGBTQ segment to infringe on my pleasure.

I never go to a Hollywood Movie expecting to see history, or the truth, or true history. History can't honestly be learned when you have theatrics overriding the truth. After all, Hollywood doesn't give out TRUTH AWARDS, only ACTING.

Just my .02 and please keep the change. :-)

Send an Arctic Blast our way George...we will return the Heat Sunami in winter. Rob

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Jul 6, 2024 said:

Many of the ideas were already realized by other car manufacturers before Tucker. The best example is the turning front lights, this was already common amongst luxury cars in the late twenties. Rear engines were common for many years before Tucker. Kaiser/Frazer had the push button interior door release one year before Tucker. The preselector for the transmission was actually a Cord part from the 1935-1937 era. These are some I can rememeber off hand, there are more examples. Tucker gets credit for a lot of stuff they should not. I give credit for the efforts but real credit for many features should be credited where it is actually due. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jul 6, 2024 said:

Preston Tucker was famous for designing and developing a car that was Safety and Speed oriented all in one. He had all that you mentioned in his car plus a lot more: roll bar, seat belts, disc brakes, powerful rear engine, independent suspension, push out windshield and these are all mentioned in the various videos I posted.

No other manufacturer had all that in any one car back in 1948. That's what makes the Tucker 48 unique and decades ahead of the Big Three who in 1948 were still selling cars from a 1941 design.

The Big Three were years behind in designing due to the war effort which was commendable for them although they made a lot of money from Govt contracts. The Michigan Senator who was up for reelection sided with the Detroit car makers and went after Preston. So much for the little guy with a good idea up against large corporations and the govt.

Anyway Preston gets the last laugh because the remaining 47 Tuckers are getting $3 million each today at auctions! That's in the videos also.

So you see I do give credit where it belongs. The man who put all great ideas, some his some not, into one car for the public, both Safety and Speed.

The Tucker 48 is an incredible car to see in person and I hope to see Tucker 1044 again at the Gold Coast Car Show next year.

[Reply to this comment]

azmuscle on Jul 6, 2024 said:

Let me say this,

I pumped gas in my teens and prided myself knowing where the gas caps were hidden. I can't recall one car that ever stumped me. Now it was a small station mind you so keep that perspective in mind.

BUT I must say, had a TUCKER PULLED IN.....

well let's just say there wasn't a Google to consult. It surely wouldn't have been in the Encyclopedia Britannica. I could see myself at the driver's window with that look of:

LOST and ALONE.

Someone help me please.

You're never as smart as you think you are!!

Lesson learned.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jul 7, 2024 said:

Another good point Rob! I pumped gas too and I would have been stumped also. Very ingenious place for the gas filler cap. Maybe some other car maker invented that same spot earlier, but the Tucker 48 had the best parts all rolled into one.

I also want to point out the Govt case against Preston took 7 years in the courts to resolve and at the end the jury found him Not Guilty to all 31 felony counts. There was no case, he was exonerated! But unfortunately Preston Tucker died of lung cancer a year later in 1956 at the age of 52 and couldn't counter sue. Very strange indeed!

[Reply to this comment]

azmuscle on Jul 7, 2024 said:

I like seeing how form follows functionality Mario. Look at the dash. All in front of the driver. Why waste room and unnecessary add-ons in front of the passenger. And the pedals go INTO the floor not hung from the bottom of the dash. It cleans up the floor very nicely. THUMBS UP!

Simplicity is something I see in the Tucker.

The concept cars you've posted had all the bells and whistles and horns they could find room for.

The Tucker looks I feel elegant in a way due to it's simplistic design. It goes to show you don't need a bunch of add-ons to really make a very nice attractive auto.

I do not like the 3rd brake light added to the car in picture number 8. You can see there how one little add on just disrupts the flow of the car.

Last but not least is the red steel wheels on the copper colored Tucker in pics 21, 22, 24 Just doesn't look right...

Okay I'm done, well for now. I'll be back reviewing my review and maybe do another review. WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!! Rob

[Reply to this comment]

azmuscle on Jul 7, 2024 said:

Hey I'm back and I just reviewed my review and I see I missed in pic 24, there's a badge on the front fender I do not like and if anyone can tell me just about the rear cooling vent what that is on top of the fender. It almost looks like a gas cap but we all know it's not.

I need to speak with the owner of that Tucker and share my opinions to get the car looking like it should. Not like the owner wants it...J/K!!!

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jul 7, 2024 said:

Check out the new video I just posted on startup and drive of Tucker 1044 the one I saw. No 3rd light, it was an option. No fender badge either. There were many options offered on the Tucker.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jul 7, 2024 said:

74 That's an emblem coat of arms

[Reply to this comment]

azmuscle on Jul 7, 2024 said:

Thanks for the clarification on those 2 items. I guess you can own a Tucker and still have poor tastes. J/K.........

[Reply to this comment]


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