OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: A Tucker Sedan 48 is up for sale. It will be offered at auction on June 7 by Clars Auction Gallery.
The car, serial number 1041, is one of only 51 Tucker automobiles ever made, and a prime example of what made Tuckers, according to their advertisements, “unlike anything else on the highway."
The Tucker 48, unveiled on June 19, 1947, was the invention of car enthusiast and businessman Preston Thomas Tucker and renowned designer Alex Tremulis. Its creation symbolizes one of the last attempts by an independent car manufacturer to break into the world of high-volume automotive production.
The Tucker took the automotive world by surprise with its many modern innovations, including safety features such as a padded dashboard and a center-mounted steerable headlight referred to as “Cyclops”. Most remarkable was the Tucker’s converted Franklin helicopter engine, a 335 cubic inch, six-cylinder, horizontally opposed engine with 166 horsepower and 372 foot-pounds of torque. Thus equipped, the Tucker could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 10 seconds and travel an estimated top speed of 120 mph.
Despite the public enthusiasm for Tucker’s car, the Tucker Corporation was short lived. Preston Tucker and his company were accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a variety of violations, including mail fraud. Although eventually cleared of all charges, the negative publicity and financial strains brought on by the SEC trials were insurmountable, and the Tucker Corporation closed its plant and fell into receivership in early 1949.
Although the early history of Tucker no. 1041 is unknown, it was acquired in 1954 by the now-defunct Sutro Museum at the Cliff House in San Francisco, where it was displayed alongside other rarities, including authentic Egyptian mummies. In 1970, the current owners purchased the Tucker at an auction of the Sutro collection. At that time, the car had traveled 90,000 miles. The current owners have put on an additional 30,000 miles. In 1988, the car was featured in the movie "Tucker: The Man and His Dream".
Serial number 1041 was professionally restored in the early 1970’s to enhance both its appearance and drivability. The interior is in extraordinary original condition – only the carpet has been replaced. The body of the car has been fitted with new wide white walls and more authentic hubcaps, and has been straightened and re-sprayed yellow. The car has also been fitted with a new condenser and new re-vulcanized underpinnings for its rubber suspension. A non-standard electric fuel pump has been added for quicker starting, and the flat six engine has been professionally rebuilt with automotive pistons to prevent the copious oil consumption associated with aircraft-based engines. Although the car runs well, an original, ‘in-the-crate’ Tucker engine is included with the lot, as well as Tucker promotional materials.
Tuckers have long been sought-after investments, desired for their rarity, historical significance and innovative design and engineering and serial number 1041 is ready for immediate use or concours competition. Clars Auction Gallery says it is proud to put on display a car that, according to Preston Tucker, “makes thousands say at a glance, ‘I won’t be satisfied until a Tucker is mine.’”
The Tucker will be offered as part of a larger two-day sale, including many other noteworthy cars. For additional information about lots or bidding options, contact Clars at (510) 428-0100 or email@example.com. You can also check their Web site at www.clars.com
CLICK HERE to share your thoughts on the Old Cars Weekly forums