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1948 Tucker 48 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 70052026013
Engine Num: 1036
 
Sold for $577,500 at 2006 RM Auctions.
Sold for $1,017,500 at 2008 RM Auctions.
Built by Preston Thomas Tucker, 51 examples were built, of which 47 survive now. The car is called the 'Tucker 48' (for its model year). It was called the 'Tucker Torpedo' as it was being designed and promoted.

Though only 51 examples were ever produced, the work of Preston Tucker has firmly cemented itself in history and a legacy that resounds with automotive enthusiasts from all corners of the world. After the close of the Second World War, Tucker began work on a new breed of automobiles that would become and engineering marvel and a masterpiece of design.

The work was done in a Dodge aircraft engine plant located in Chicago, which Tucker had purchased. Two clay mockups were created, both identical in mechanical dimensions but varying in style. A final version was crafted from the best of both clay models. The final version was then made into a metal prototype which was dubbed the 'Tin Goose'. It was first shown to the public on June 19th, 1947.

Though the design was moving along steadily, the engine was plagued with problems. Its shortcoming were its excess noise, lack of power, and requiring multiple batteries in order to start. A 6 ALV 335 Franklin helicopter engine was used as a replacement. The engine was modified to utilize liquid cooling and the adaptation of a Cord 810 transmission. When the process was complete, the engine produced 166 horsepower and 372 foot-pounds of torque.

The Tucker was a model of safety. The interior cockpit was given padded dashboard and carried instrumentation that was grouped around the steering wheel. This meant that the protruding buttons and gauges would not cause damage to its occupants during an accident. The center-mounted headlight moved with the steering wheel providing light in the direction the vehicle would be traveling.

The front and rear seats could be interchanged which aided in the reduction of wear.

Soon after the Tucker automobiles began rolling off the assembly line in spring of 1948, the Securities and exchange Commission began investigating the allegations of mail fraud and other violations. The negative publicity sent stock plummeting and the facility was forced to close. Tucker assemble a skeleton crew and were able to continue production for a few more months, lasting until March of 1949, at which time the company fell into receivership and its assets were seized.

The Moss green colored Tucker Torpedo was offered for sale at the 2006 RM Auction held in Monterey, CA where it was expected to sell between $700,000-$900,000. It carries chassis number 1038 and was completed on October 25th, 1948. It was constructed without a transmission. Later, a Cord transmission was installed.

Since its assembly the car was given a comprehensive professional restoration. The car had traveled only 3100 miles since new. It was equipped from the factory with an AM radio and factory luggage.

At auction the vehicle was sold, fetching $577,500.

In 2008, this 1948 Tucker Sedan was offered for sale at the 'Sports & Classics of Monterey' presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $500,000 - $600,000. An astonishing high bid of $1,017,500, including buyer's premium, was enough to secure new ownership. This bid was well above the estimated value, but with only 51 examples ever created, that was the price needed to own this car. Needless to say, the lot was sold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2009
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1034
 
Sold for $1,320,000 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
This Tucker, #34 of only 51 produced, sold for $2,450. It was originally titled to Samuel L. Winternitz & Co. of Chicago, IL, and was used as one of ten promotional cars that traveled the U.S. It was sold to Joy Brothers Motors of St. Paul, MN, for $1,800 on November 14, 1950, with only 339 miles on it. It was stored at the dealership for 18 years before being sold for $6,500 in 1968. The present owners purchased the car in 1985 when it only had 2,500 miles on it. It is presently driven on a regular basis and still only has 4,500 original miles on it.

The Tucker had many advanced ideas that were geared towards safety; it has a low profile roof (five feet above the pavement), and the floor is only nine inches above it. It has aircraft style doors for aerodynamics and ease of entry. It also has a non-shattering, pop-out windshield, padded dash and doors, a 'crash compartment' under the cowling at the front passenger seat area, into which the front passengers could duck for safety in the event of an accident. The car is powered by a 334.1-cubic inch, 6-cylinder, horizontally opposed, Franklin helicopter engine, developing 166 horsepower, located in the rear. The engine was fitted so it could be removed in a matter of minutes in order for it to be serviced by the dealer and a loaner engine would be installed so it could be driven while your engine was being worked on. This 4,235-pound car is capable of 109 mph and gets 24 miles to a gallon of gasoline.
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
 
The only American car that received more publicity than the Kaiser in the post World War II years was the Tucker Torpedo. Preston Tucker was determined to build a new car wîth more forward-lòòking features - 'the first completely new car in fifty years' as the Tucker brochures stated. At his side, the flamboyant Tucker had Alex Tremulis, the renowned auto stylist who had learned his craft from E.L. Cord. The original design for the new car featured a center placed §teering wheel and front fenders that would turn wîth the wheels. In the original design, the car used a horizontally opposed engine wîth hydraulically actuated valves, and an integrated crankshaft driving an automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com) This engine could not be made function in time for production, so a Franklin helicopter engine, modified from air to liquid cooling, was used to drive a redesigned Cord front wheel drive transmission replacing the Tuckermatic (which was not developed in time to be installed in the production Tuckers).

In place of the moving front fenders, Tucker installed a third headlight that turned wîth the §teering wheel. The 'Cyclops Eye' headlight was just one of the several safety features that were placed in the tucker. The dash area was padded, the windshields could be popped out, and all controls were grouped in front of the driver. The area ahead of the front seat, called the Safety Chamber, was a large carpeted box that driver and front seat occupants could drop into if a crash was imminent. Tucker had considered safety belts, but they were abandoned because designers felt that they might imply his car was unsafe. The disc brakes planned for the car were abandoned because of cost, but the car retained all-independent suspension and tubular shocks. Tough not built wîth uni-body construction like Hudson, the Tucker had a step down passenger compartment, which gave the car a very low center of gravity. This, in turn, allowed the 4200-pound car to handle surprisingly well.

Collection of Debbie Hull

Source - SDAM
Convertible
 
This is the only Tucker Convertible in existence. It has zero original miles, zero owners, never titled, correct Cord sourced transmission, and unique Tucker frame.

The work done to this car has been more of a completion project rather than a restoration project. The engine, transmission, frame, suspension, breaks, and many other components/parts are as new with zero original miles. Tuckers were originally outfitted with poorly designed Torsilastic (rubber bonded to metal) suspension. Due to this, many Tuckers are now outfitted with other suspension systems.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1047
 
The Tucker was powered by a rear-mounted helicopter engine and boasted many innovative safety features including the first pop-out safety windshield, first padded dash, and a center headlight that turned to light around corners.

This was one of the last Tuckers built - number 47 (chassis number 1047).

What makes it truly impressive, however, is its originality. When the Gilmore Museum acquired this Tucker in 1983 it showed only 12 miles on the odometer. Today, it shows only 52 miles and remains exactly as it left the Tucker factory - except for the patina of 64 years. In fact, it is riding on three of its original tires.

Interestingly, the car's color was inspired by a favorite dress owned by Ms. Preston Tucker.

The Tucker was easily distinguishable from any angle - unlike anything else in the marketplace. It was designed by Alex Tremulis and contained trademark features such as a padded dash and center headlamp that turns with the steering wheel, an electric-shift transmission, rear-mounted opposed six-cylinder engine and a rubber vulcanized 'Torsilatic' suspension.
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1017
 
Tucker 1017 was first restored in the early 1970s by Tucker expert Bill Hamlin in California. It then was on display for many years at the San Diego Museum. There were 51 Tuckers produced in 1948 and 47 still exist, many in museums. The rear engine is a Franklin helicopter with water jackets added by Preston Tucker. The transmission is a Y-1 which was manufactured by the Tucker Corporation. Safety features such as a padded dash, a pop-out windshield and a crash chamber were the features Mr. Tucker promoted in his advertisements. The most distinguishing feature was the Cyclops eye located in the front which operated when turning corners. This 1017 was used in the movie, 'tucker, the Man and His Dream,' starring Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges. A two-year restoration was completed in 2005-2006 by the Fred Hunter Collection in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1007
 
Michigan native Preston Tucker had radical and futuristic ideas for what a postwar car should entail. His plan defied convention and had an unusual design for a full-size sedan. The engine was to be placed in the back, be horizontally opposed. The flat-six power plant had plenty of torque and lots of acceleration. It could also be removed in minutes for easy servicing plus had the benefit of offering excellent fuel economy.

The rocket-ship inspired styling was drafted by Alex Tremulis and featured aircraft-style doors, pop-out windshield, swiveling center headlight, seat belts as standard equipment, and a padded 'safety chamber.' This 'Car of Tomorrow' was priced at $2,450 which was less than Cadillac's popular Model 62 sedan by about $500. The orders poured in, but the Torpedo never reached true production. Indicted for investment irregularities, Tucker was acquitted of all charges, but his company soon failed. The plant closed in mid-1948 after only thirty-seven pilot models had been completed. Loyal workers assembled another fourteen cars.

This example is Tucker No. 1007 that was initially purchased from the factory as a demonstrator. In 1985, it was acquired by a Japanese businessman and shipped to Japan where it remained until the 1990s. It was later sold to a Texas oilman, and then resold at a Barrett-Jackson auction to Robert E. and Margie Petersen, founders of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. In 2002, it passed to its present owners. The car was originally painted green but is now painted 'Waltz Blue.' It has been restored to its original condition except for its wheel covers.

The 335 cubic-inch, 12-vavle flat six engine produces 166 bhp and is matted to a four-speed manual with Bendix vacuum-electric pre-select. The horizontally opposed, water-cooled engine was adapted from an air-cooled Franklin helicopter power plant.

Of the 51 radical fastback body Tuckers produced, 49 survive. The car is best remembered for its radical designs, forward thinking, and safety features. Its center headlight turned with the front wheels, and there is a fully independent and four-wheel Torsion-lastic suspension.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2011
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
 
In 1988 the film Tucker: The Man and His Dream was released by Lucas Films. It told the story of Preston Tucker and his car more accurately than anyone might expect of Hollywood.

This 'Tucker' is the only running vehicle of three prop cars. It sits on a 1974 Ford LTD chassis. the engine and transmission were removed by Lucas Films prior to donating the car to the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The body and bumpers are fiberglass.

In the film, Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) is frustrated one day and drives a new Tucker (this car) off the assembly line onto the streets of Chicago where the Chicago police spot him speeding and give chase.

Tucker pulls over in front of a Chicago Police neighborhood station and is leaning on the front fender lighting a cigarette when the patrol car pulls up. Tucker says to the policemen : 'What took you so long?'
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
 
This Tucker wears an older restoration and is number 48 or 51 examples produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2012
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
 
Perhaps the greatest tribute an automobile can receive is that it would inspire someone to create a replica. That's exactly the case here - this is a replica Tucker built in recent years by a talented individual, Rob Ida of New Jersey.

Ida's inspiration was his father, Joe, and his uncle, who scraped together enough money in 1947 to buy a Tucker dealership in Yonkers, New York.

Fast forward, 50 years later - Rob Ida is running a custom auto body shop and decides to build a modern Tucker. He was lucky enough to find an original not far away and after taking measurements, began construction. An estimated 10,000 man hours later, the car was completed, just prior to Joe Ida's passing.

The car is powered by a modern, twin turbocharged, four camshaft Cadillac V-8 that puts out enough horsepower to move this modern car down the road very quickly.
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1008
 
This is the eighth Tucker to roll down the assembly line.

Like many Tuckers, this one has its own interesting history. It was won in VFW raffle by Rudy Schroeder in September of 1949 - but he sold it when he couldn't get the car insured! Recently, Mr. Schroeder was reunited with his former Tucker.

Power in the Tucker automobile was supplied by a horizontally opposed six-cylinder motor that produces 166 horsepower. This car's original engine was replaced by the car's second owner with a factory crate engine.

This car was owned by the Imperial Palace Collection from 1981 to 1999 when it was acquired by the current owners. The car was restored by the Imperial Palace Collection.
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1033
 
Preston Tucker's objective in designing his namesake automobile was to create something that stood out from the crowd. In that, he succeeded. The Tucker was unlike anything the public had seen in post-war America.

This Tucker was sold at the Tucker factory auction in 1950 as part of the bankruptcy auction. It went through several owners, spending much of its life in storage until acquired by the current owners, who returned it to its as-original condition.

One of the unique features of this car is its unaltered original suspension - the rubber vulcanized 'Torsilatic' suspension. Other unique Tucker features are the electric-shift transmission, rear-mounted opposed six-cylinder engine and the center headlamp that turns with the steering wheel.

This Tucker, chassis number 1033, was the 33rd Tucker built. It was built on September 30th of 1948.
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1013
 
At the conclusion of World War Two, the American public was understandably anxious to get back on the road again. The existing manufacturers were converting their factories from war time production to automobile production. The time was also ripe for some automotive newcomers. The most prominent were Henry Kaiser and Preston Tucker.

Almost from the beginning Tucker was in the news, thanks to the radically different design of his new car (by Alex Tremulis) as well as his method of financing the new company.

The Tucker certainly stood out from the crowd. Both its exterior and interior design, as well as its power plant, were unique to the automotive industry.

The Swigart Museum, which owns this Tucker, also owns the original prototype, nicknamed 'The Tin Goose.'
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1015
 
This is the 15th of the 51 Tuckers that were eventually built. Since it is one of the earliest Tuckers, it features a Cord pre-select transmission, which was installed in the early Tuckers.

Like all Tuckers, it features an air-cooled, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder motor that displaced 334.1 cubic-inches and developed 155 horsepower.

This car was formerly owned by a prominent automotive museum before being acquired by the current owner. A complete restoration was recently completed. The car is painted in its original color, Moss Green.

This is one of the Tuckers that appeared in the 1988 motion picture Tucker : The Man and His Dream.
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1008
 
The 'Tucker 48' was named for its model year. Of the 51 examples built, 47 have survived today and are mostly valued as Museum pieces worth a minimum Si million. Preston Tucker's short time in the automobile business is firmly cemented in automotive history his automobile is remembered as a new breed of automobile that was an engineering marvel and masterpiece of design. The center-mounted headlight moved with the steering wheel providing light in the direction the vehicle would be traveling. It has a very spacious interior, a result of the lack of a transmission tunnel and driveshaft hump due to the Franklin helicopter engine and a modified Cord transmission which is fitted in the rear of the car. The engine produced 166 horsepower and 372 foot-pounds of torque and is capable of 120 mph.

The 1988 movie, Tucker: The Man and His Dream is based on Tucker's spirit and the damaging official investigation into his Accessories Programme that raised money by selling accessories on un-built cars to eager would-be-buyers on a waiting list. The Securities and Exchange Commission investigation was instigated by Detroit's 'Big Three' car manufacturers who feared Tucker's formidable new challenger. The film's director, Francis Ford Coppola, is himself a Tucker owner as is his friend and protégé, filmmaker George Lucas.

36 sedans were finished before the factory was closed. Tucker retained a core of dedicated employees who assembled an additional 14 sedans for a total of 50. A 51st car was partially completed.
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1036
 
Sold for $1,567,500 at 2014 RM Auctions.
Eventually, just 51 examples of the Tucker 48 were assembled, which included the original 'Tin Goose' prototype and 50 pilot-production cars. This example has a factory report dated October 28, 1948, held in the Tucker archives at the Gilmore Car Museum, indicates that chassis number 1036 had been completed on October 20, with body number 33 and engine number 335-85, and it was one of a dozen cars painted Maroon (paint code 600). It was not listed with a transmission, as it is believed that this was one of the dozen Tuckers that remained unfinished and were waiting for transmissions when the factory closed.

Along with the other cars, chassis number 1036 was eventually completed by Tucker employees. On October 18, 1950, this car, along with the other Tuckers built and all the other contents of the factory, went to auction at a sale conducted by Samuel L. Winternitz and Company, which took place on site at 7401 South Cicero Avenue. It is believed that this car was sold to the St. Louis area, where it was finally outfitted with a transmission and made roadworthy.

Around 1951, this car and a second Tucker were given to Ova Elijah Stephens, of Denver, Colorado. The two Tuckers were a down payment on the sale of the Silver Star Saloon. Mr. Stephens had little use for the Tuckers, and chassis number 1036 was sold through Hugo Sills Motors, a Hudson dealer in the town of Littleton, to Rex McKelvy. At the time of purchase, it had only 20 miles on the odometer.

Denver businessman Arthur H. Christiansen purchased this Tucker in 1958 for his Colorado Car Museum. Unfortunately, Christiansen's museum lasted for only a year before its doors were shuttered and its cars were sold at auction. Wayne McKinley purchased the car at auction for $3,500. It would remain with Mr. McKinley for a quarter century, when it was sold in 1986 to Ken Behring's Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California. In December 1989, the car was restored to its presented appearance. A year later, ownership passed to Nobuyo Sawayama, of Osaka, Japan, for a figure widely reported as $500,000. In 1997, it was acquired by Bob Pond.

The car is currently finished in metallic bronze with a broadcloth interior. It has a proper Tucker Y-1 transmission, a proper late dashboard switchgear and Kaiser-sourced door handles. Just 1,914 miles are recorded on the odometer.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014
Sedan
Designer: Alex Tremulis
Chassis Num: 1003
 
High bid of $1,475,000 at 2013 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Sold for $2,035,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company.
Alex Tremulius is credited with creating the design for the sleek fastback. His resume includes work with Gordon Buehrig on the Cord 810/812; the 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt, and the Ford Gyron concept.

A 589 cubic-inch engine and dual torque-converter drivetrain were under development, but challenges forced replacement by a 334 cubic-inch Franklin O-335 flat-six derived from that of a Bell 47 helicopter. The engine was converted to liquid cooling and linked to a four-speed, vacuum-electric preselector transaxle updated from the prewar Cord 810/812 design. The suspension configurations progressed from rubber disc to rubber torsion tube, and ultimate, rubber sandwich from car 1003. This car, chassis number 1003, is the third example built. It is one of the 12 Model 48s originally finished in Maroon and the first Tucker equipped with a revised front bumper providing improved frontal protection and the redesigned rear fenders providing easier rear-wheel removal.

Chassis 1003 was sold by the factory to the Arkansas Tucker Sales Corporation. A short time later, it returned to the factory and exchanged for car 1002. 1003 was sent to Columbus, Ohio's Farber Motor Sales to Cincinnati, where it was displayed on the city's streets and music hall by local dealer Eddie Numerich. The car remained in Cincinnati, Ohio until June of 1950, when it was sold at the Watson Auto Auction and acquired by Art Watson. During 1951, Mr. Watson took the car to Florida, where he displayed it. In 1962, the Tucker was sold to William A.C. Pettit III of Louisa, Virginia, via Paul Stern. The Tucker was a featured attraction at the Pettit's Museum of Motoring Memories during the 1960s. In the late 1980s, movie producer George Lucas purchased the Tucker from Mr. Pettit. It remained at his Skywalker Ranch private collection until September 2005, when it was purchased by the current owner.

In January of 2008, the car was treated to a restoration. During the restoration, the car was refinished in Maroon, which was one of the six factory-available color choices.

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