The story of Preston Tucker and his incredible automobile exemplifies the American entrepreneurial spirit. A man with vision and innovation brings a new car to market that is unlike its competition and shakes up the entire nation. In spite of all the obstacles, he produced 51 automobiles so exceptional that 70 years later they have become the most valuable, post war, American sedan. Quite Extraordinary!
These cars are powered by an aluminum 335 cubic inch, opposed, 6 cylinder engine with 167 horse power and an astonishing 390 pound feet of torque. The power is delivered to the wheels through a 4 speed, electric pre-select transmission. This combination delivered extraordinary performance for the time. 0 to 60mph was recorded at 10 seconds and a top speed of 130 miles per hour. This was considered a rocket ship in 1948! The suspension was also unique. It had no springs. Instead, it utilized rubber torsion units called Torsilastic suspension. This was executed with 4 wheel independent suspension and the result was a smooth and great handling ride.
Safety was a primary feature of these cars. Pop-out windshields, the first padded dash board, safety crash compartment and aviation style doors were all part of the innovative features. There were also other unique attributes, such as reversible seat cushions, door exit buttons instead of handles, rear engine for improved traction, and probably the best known feature…the Third Headlight, that would light your way into turns.
The car and its story was so exceptional that it was the subject of a major motion film, released in 1988 starring Jeff Bridges “Tucker, the man and his dream”.
Preston Tucker and his revolutionary car took the American car market by storm. The Tucker ’48 was an overnight sensation attracting huge crowds everywhere it showed up. People rushed to buy accessories that would get them a place in line for a car. Dealers flooded Tucker with requests to buy a dealer franchise. This was no surprise when you consider the array of features that this car had. These features included:
Aluminum, opposed, 6 cylinder engine with 167hp and 390b.ft. of torque.
4 wheel independent suspension.
Torsilastic, rubber torsion bar suspension. (no springs)
4 speed manual, electric pre-select transmission.
Safety crash compartment.
Padded dash board.
Pop out safety glass windshield.
Reversible seat cushions.
Aircraft style doors cut into the roof line.
Top speed of 130 mph.
Rear engine for improve traction.
Lowered, step down floor for lower center of gravity.
And the most recognized feature… the center headlight that lights your way into a turn!
The example seen here is car #46 and it is most exceptional. Having completed a no expense spared, rotisserie restoration in November 2014 by marque specialists. The result is truly breathtaking. Every aspect both cosmetically and mechanically has been attended to. The unique torsilastic suspension has been restored to better than new operation. The engine and transmission have been completely rebuilt back to the original, factory specifications. The original paint color has been perfectly reproduced from original samples found on this car. The correct textiles and materials have been faithfully reproduced on the interior, creating a cabin with its original feel and appearance. This was an exceptionally expensive and time consuming process but the result was well worth the effort.
Each of these cars tell their own story and are somewhat unique in both execution (they were all hand built) and history. This car indeed has a very interesting and colorful history that is well documented.
Few of these exceptional cars remain in private hands and only a couple of them in this extraordinary condition and correctness. This is for the discerning collector that is passionate about innovative designs, mechanical ingenuity and the entrepreneurial spirit.