Car News: Tucker Automobile Club of America

An Open Letter from Preston Tucker

In the world of automobiles, there are pioneers who leave an indelible mark on the industry. One such visionary was Preston Tucker, whose “Car of Tomorrow” captured the imagination of car enthusiasts in the 1940s. In an open letter to the automobile industry, Tucker voiced his concerns and aspirations for the American motorist. This letter, first published on June 15, 1948, served as a rallying cry for innovation and progress.

Click here to read Preston Tucker’s open letter

Fact Sheet

Let’s delve into the remarkable facts surrounding the Tucker ’48, a car that was ahead of its time:

  1. The Tucker ’48, a fastback sedan, was the brainchild of Preston Thomas Tucker from Ypsilanti, Michigan.
  2. Out of the 51 Tucker ’48 cars that were built, an impressive 47 of them survive today, with many on public display.
  3. The sleek and distinctive design of the Tucker ’48 was created by the talented Alex S. Tremulis.
  4. Chief mechanic John Eddie Offutt, who had previously worked with Tucker and Harry Miller at Indy, played a pivotal role in assembling the car. Offutt’s cars had already tasted success at the Indianapolis 500.
  5. Although initially referred to as the “Tucker Torpedo” during its design and promotion phase, the car was ultimately known as the Tucker ’48, as it reflected its model year accurately.
  6. The Tucker ’48 was conceived in Michigan but built in Chicago, in what is now the location of the “Ford City Mall” on Cicero Avenue.
  7. The Tucker ’48 introduced several groundbreaking features and ideas that would later become industry standards.
  8. The remarkable story of Preston Tucker and his car is immortalized in the 1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
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Tucker ’48 Specifications and Features

The Tucker ’48 was not just visually stunning but also boasted impressive specifications and innovative features:

  1. Engine: The H-6 (horizontally opposed) engine had an overhead valve, a displacement of 335 ci (4.50 x 3.50 inches bore x stroke), a compression ratio of 7.0:1, and delivered 166 bhp and 372 lbs/ft torque.
  2. Suspension: The Tucker ’48 featured a four-wheel independent Torsilastic suspension system.
  3. Transmission: It was equipped with a four-speed manual, electronic pre-select transmission.
  4. Safety: The car boasted a pop-out safety glass windshield and a padded dash and doors.
  5. Design: The upper doors were skillfully integrated into the roofline, adding to the car’s unique appearance.
  6. Electrical System: The Tucker ’48 utilized a 6-volt positive ground electrical system.
  7. Dimensions: With a wheelbase of 128 inches, an overall length of 219 inches, a height of 60 inches, a width of 79 inches, and weighing 4200 pounds, the Tucker ’48 made a bold statement wherever it went.
  8. Performance: It could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 10 seconds and achieved an estimated top speed of 120 mph.
  9. Price: The original projected price for the Tucker ’48 was $2450.
  10. Current Value: Today, a Tucker ’48 in good condition can command prices starting from around $1,000,000, with exceptionally rare models fetching even higher prices. For example, Tucker #1043 was sold at a Barrett Jackson auction for an astonishing $2,915,000.

Preston Tucker’s Other Work

Preston Tucker’s contributions extended beyond the Tucker ’48. Here are some notable projects that showcased his ingenuity:

  1. Collaboration with Harry Miller: During the 1930s, Tucker worked alongside the legendary Harry Miller on Indianapolis 500 race cars.
  2. Tucker Turret: Tucker’s innovative turret gun, known as the “Tucker Turret,” underwent evaluation by the U.S. Army.
  3. Armored Personnel Carrier: Tucker’s prototype combat car, an armored personnel carrier, was rejected due to its excessive speed.
  4. The Talisman: A sportier version of the Tucker ’48, the Talisman, was planned but never realized.
  5. The Carioca: Preston Tucker was working on the Carioca project, a sports car intended to be built in Brazil, at the time of his passing.
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FAQs

  • Q: How many Tucker ’48 cars were built?

    • A: A total of 51 Tucker ’48 cars were built, with 47 of them still in existence today.
  • Q: What was the price range for the Tucker ’48?

    • A: The original projected price for the Tucker ’48 was $2450, but today, these cars can command prices starting from around $1,000,000.
  • Q: What is the top speed of the Tucker ’48?

    • A: The Tucker ’48 could reach an estimated top speed of 120 mph.

Conclusion

The Tucker ’48 remains an extraordinary automobile that symbolized the innovative spirit of Preston Tucker. Its timeless design, advanced features, and lasting impact on the industry have solidified its place in automotive history. Today, as car enthusiasts and historians marvel at the surviving Tucker ’48 cars, they continue to be reminded of the audacity and brilliance of a man who dared to dream bigger and better for the American motorist.

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