Tucker and its original owner reunited

Angelo Van Bogart |

Just 51 people can claim to be a Tucker’s original owner, and since it’s been more than 60 years since Tuckers were built, finding one of those owners takes perseverance and luck.

Mike Schutta began the relentless pursuit of one of those original Tucker owners, and after 5 years of searching, found Rudolph Schroeder, who won Tucker #1008 in a 1949 Missouri VFW raffle. Instead of just recording that bit of information in a journal and perhaps even interviewing Schroeder for the sake of history, Schutta went one further and reunited Schroeder with the 1948 Tucker he had won 62 years earlier with a 35 cent ticket.

As Schutta tells it, Schroeder sold the Tucker shortly after winning it, because insurance was not available on the rare car. Schutta could tell Schroeder wouldn’t mind seeing the car again, so Schutta arranged a meeting with the Tucker’s current custodian, the Richard H. Driehaus Collection. Since the Tucker was at Chicago Classic Motor Cars, not far from the home of the original Cicero Avenue Tucker plant, the meeting took place at  that historic place on Nov. 18. Schutte even posed the Tucker and Schroeder at a ramp at the plant where Preston Tucker was once photographed with a new Tucker automobile.

Rudolph Schroeder and the Tucker he won in a 1949 VFW raffle. The picture was taken Nov. 18, 2011, at the Tucker plant where Preston Tucker was once photographed with one of his automobiles.

We’ll feature Schutte’s story in the Dec. 29 issue of Old Cars Weekly, but in the meantime, enjoy this sneak peak from the historic reuniting of man and machine.

Schutte continues to look for past Tucker owners. If you owned a Tucker, Schutte can be reached at historianmike@tuckermuseum.org or submit a post to Tuckermuseum.org.

An old newspaper image of the Tucker Schroeder won in the VFW raffle in 1949.

Schroeder receives the keys to the 1948 Tucker in September 1949.

The winning raffle ticket.

Learn more about Tuckers with an Old Cars Report

13 Responses to Tucker and its original owner reunited

  1. Gary Chamberlain says:

    This is a beautiful story!
    I just recently purchased a Franklin Mint
    ’48 Tucker in blue.
    Thanks guys for a great ego boost to a new
    owner…..

  2. earl shellhouse says:

    I have to say that those cars have alot of style and this story does too-it is very neat to realize they both survived this long in one piece

  3. BillB says:

    Is that the original exterior color?

    How much is the car worth today?

    What are the stats(engine size, HP, interior features etc)?

  4. Kirk Lee says:

    This was an excellent article.

  5. How lucky was he to have owned and driven a Tucker. It is my dream someday to own one. Will probably never happen but I keep hoping that some day, just maybe! This car was so unique and ahead of its’ day. Tucker himself took on the big boys and though he lost the battle to continue manufacturing these beautiful works of rolling art, he remains at the forefront of inspiration to people such as myself. As far as I am concerned, he was a winner. He did what he said he was going to do and created a masterpiece of engineering and beauty. I restore cars on a small scale compared to a lot of the big shops around the country and pray that someday, I have an opportunity to either restore a Tucker and or won one for myself and family. Thank you for this story about reuniting this gentleman with his original #1008. Bob Waller ….

  6. Rich Robbins says:

    Great story. I was lucky. Was able to see and touch a Tucker that was on display by a potential dealer. Not sure of the year,but think I was still in High School.Graduated in June of 49 and left for the Navy the next day. So it had to be before June of 49.

  7. Mark Kirk says:

    lI wanted to ask a few questions to anyone that knows the answer regarding Tucker # 1008. Was the marroon color that he painted the car with an original color for a Tucker of that year, or was it just a color that he liked? Next, by doing a color change, will it affect the value of the car. I am not trying to argue anything with anyone, I am just interested in his mind set and the change, if any, in the value of the car. The story was super and I like both colors!

  8. Ken J. says:

    Great. Amazing that the car and owner were able to reunite after 63 years. I have only seen 2 Tucker automobiles, and was quite impressed.

  9. Good day! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the great information you’ve here on this post. I can be coming back to your weblog for extra soon.

  10. lawrence murawa says:

    I just finished reading “Rudy and his Tucker” in the 12/29/2011 edition of “Old Cars Weekly”. Wow ! What a story. Thank you to Mike Schutta (or is it Schutte as named in the on-line story ?) for your investigative work in bringing us this story. I have always enjoyed the history of Preston Tucker and his lifelong desire to bring the “Tucker 48″ to market. From the film, “Tucker: A Man and His Dreams”, to the numerious books written about him and his innovative automobile, the story of the Tucker is fascinating.

    At the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners Michigan (about 50 miles from my home) is a reconstructed Tucker Auto Dealership complete with Mr. Tucker’s office and a Waltz Blue Tucker 48. It has an actual 35 miles on it’s odometer. If you like automotive history, you MUST visit this huge automobile museum.

    In the article Mike Schutta wrote for “Old Cars Weekly” there is one sentence that really stood out to me: “Somehow, I felt this story couldn’t end there.” Mike’s work to bring Rudy and the present owner together for a “Tucker Reunion” was wonderful———to prove how great it was, just look at that wide smile on Rudy’s face in the article’s photo !
    Mike, thank you.

    Lawrence Murawa (a long time fan of Old Cars Weekly)

  11. thomas w. moore says:

    ref. tucker 1004–this car was originally green in color. along with john moreland and tom mooney we got a two block ride in june,1949 in dormont,pa. the car was driven by red harris’ daughter,a very nice and pretty girl who silenced the objections of tom mooney’s older brother jack and made our day.

    in 1963 in a place west of elyria,ohio, i looked at a green tucker and wondered if it might be the same car.

    i do not go to japan anymore but if i did i would make it a point to visit #1004 in its maroon glory.

  12. - I sent a note to Old World, back when the Article was first written, how, with my wife Joyce & sons, Bob Jr & Scott we saw a Tucker in the “Gast” Museum” near Lancaster, Pa. “Gast” also sold New & Used Harley Davidsons. Some time later, when we visited that area again, my first planned stop was that same “Gast Museum”, and the building was empty. Everything was gone. I could find anyone to tell me about the “TUCKER”, … “Gast” or anything about happened there.
    Bob Ripley Sr Mar. 27, 2012

  13. Maria says:

    I hope that one day I can reunite my husband with his old Mustang. He had to sell it to pay for our daughter’s medical needs & I know he thinks about and misses it. He hasn’t seen it since the day it drove it away drove away. This you tube video tells our story. Perhaps someone out there can help.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scwf7RhPX5Q

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