The Smithsonian has announced its "Race to the Museum" poll, where you can vote on 2 cars from the Smithsonian's holdings to be placed on public display in the Smithsonian Museum on the Mall in Washington, DC from January 22 to February 21, 2011. Among the 8 candidates for consideration is Tucker No. 1039. Attendees at the 2007 TACA convention in Washington, DC will recall getting a rare, behind-the-scenes look at No. 1039 at the Smithsonian's warehouse in suburban Maryland (or was it Virginia?). Before that, it was most recently on long-term loan to the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, CA for several years.
You may not be aware that TACA was instrumental in getting No. 1039transferred to the Smithsonian after it was seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency in the early 1990s. The Tucker '48 is at the top of many movie car lists, and it would be wonderful to see it back on public display in the nation's capital (the Smithsonian gets 5 million annual visitors)!
Voting in the "Race to the Museum" began on December 21, 2010, and ends on January 11, 2011. Click here to vote now, and pass this information along to other Tucker fans!
UPDATE 12/23/10 1:15 PM: There is now a link to vote on the TACA website. The Tucker is now in second place and only the top 2 vote-getters will win. VOTE NOW!
Results as of December 23, 2010
(Post credit: Jay Follis, Kit Fox and Smithsonian website; photo credit: Smithsonian website)
Now we swoop diagonally across the country to the San Diego Automotive Museum in San Diego, CA on the next leg of the Tucker Road Trip. Our quarry is Tucker No. 1019, a beautiful, privately-owned example that has been on long-term loan to the museum for several years.
Tucker No. 1019
The San Diego Automotive Museum is located in San Diego's Balboa Park, a lush complex of art, cultural and historic museums and structures (including the world-famous San Diego Zoo) that were originally erected for the California Pacific International Exposition of 1935.
The original idea of creating an automotive museum in Balboa Park came from Briggs Cunningham, the renowned automobile collector and racer. The idea circulated for many years until an inspired group of local automotive enthusiasts propelled the idea forward. In 1979 the San Diego City Council first considered the issue and in 1980 they gave unanimous approval to the museum and granted a long term lease for one of the historic buildings in Balboa Park.
Check your mailbox for the latest issue of Tucker Topics, our award-winning print newsletter. This month you'll find.articles about Tuckers and Tucker fans "down under," including the new owner of Tucker No. 1045 and Australian TACA member Brendan Edgerton. You can also catch up on the latest regarding "barn find" Tucker No. 1010 and the new Model 'A' Ford Museum coming to the Gilmore Car Museum campus (home of the Tucker Historical Collection and Library).
TACA's eBay store (ShopTACA) has a special on end-of-run embroidered denim shirts at just-reduced "blow-out" prices of $18.50 each (including shipping). You can choose from a Tucker '48 in MAROON or (Vera Tucker's favorite) WALTZ BLUE. Once these are gone, they will not be re-ordered. Be sure to buy yours soon!
Click here to see all of ShopTACA's current offerings--they make great gifts!
(PS - This is our 50th post!)
(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox; photo credit: eBay)
TACA member Brendan Edgerton shares another episode of Blokes in Sheds, this one focusing on his cross-country road trip with TACA Historian Martyn Donaldson from Los Angeles, CA to Atlanta, GA (and back) earlier this year.
(Post credit: Kit Fox; video credit: Brendan Edgerton and YouTube)
From our last stop, it's a short jaunt to see Tucker No. 1016 on the next leg of the Tucker Road Trip. The world-famous Henry Ford Museum is located in Dearborn, MI. The museum is located at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124. Check the museum website for more information.
No. 1016 is only one of the many automotive gems among the museum's holdings (and, unfortunately, is not very well displayed, in our opinion). TACA members will recall seeing it at our 2008 convention in Ypsilanti, MI. However, the Henry Ford Museum encompasses a dizzying array of automotive and cultural artifacts of American history, including Greenfield Village. Also nearby is Ford's Rouge Assembly Plant, and Preston Tucker's hometown of Ypsilanti, MI is located only a few miles to the west along I-94 (be sure to visit the site of Tucker's home at 110 N. Park St., Ypsilanti, MI).
1946 - The January 1946 issue of PIC Magazine featured a story by Charles T. Pearson, a freelance automotive reporter, about the revolutionary “Tucker Torpedo” automobile on the drawing board. But it was the December 1946 “Tucker Torpedo” story in Science Illustrated that gave many their first look at Preston Tucker’s dream car and a real sense he was serious. A photo showed the George Lawson designed “Torpedo On Wheels” that looked “more like a Buck Rogers Special” than any auto of its day.
1946 - Just two days after Christmas 1946, and within days of seeing the story, automotive designer Alex Tremulis called Preston Tucker and asked for an interview. They met the very next day for a 15-minute meeting that turns into three hours, and ends with Alex landing a styling consultant contract for his employer, the design firm of Tammen and Denison of Chicago. On New Year’s Eve, just four days later, Alex had already finished several drawings and presents them to Preston Tucker. This meeting lost Tammen and Denison the Tucker contract as Preston hired Alex outright and appointed him Tucker Corporation Styling Chief.
1947 - By December 1947, all in-house work on the “Tucker 589” engine was canceled as the results proved to be “completely unsatisfactory” and the company began exploring other engine options with outside firms. Contracts were signed with Hoffman Motor Development Company of Detroit, MI, who would build six engines, as well as with Ex-Cello-O Fuel Injection Systems, who proposed adapting a Jacobs Aircraft Engine for use in the Tucker. The Ypsilanti Machine and Tool Company, owned by Preston’s mother, pursued yet another engine. The Ypsi group worked on converting four Aircooled Motors-built “Franklin 335” helicopter engines purchased from Bell Aircraft from air-cooled to water-cooled. In the end, these projects paid off well and they found the engine to power the new Tucker ’48 – the converted Franklin 335.
1956 - The month of December also marks great sadness in Tucker history and we mourn the loss of three true pioneers. On the day after Christmas 1956, Preston Tucker passed away of lung cancer. Stylist Alex Tremulis passed away in December 1991, followed by the death of Tucker interior stylist Audrey Moore-Hodges five years later in December 1996, and Tucker design team member Philip Egan in December 2008.