Monday, January 31, 2011

Tucker Train Trip to Texas

Tucker No. 1050
at Dick's Classic Garage
Your faithful blogger traveled from Los Angeles, CA to Austin, TX on Amtrak's Texas Eagle this past weekend.  I spent a day-and-a-half in a cozy "roommette" watching the spectacular Southwestern U.S. drift by my window.  Arriving on Sunday morning, I promptly rented a car and drove to Dick's Classic Garage in nearby San Marcos, TX, home of Tucker No. 1050No. 1050 is a beautiful maroon example of the Tucker '48, with less than 1 mile on the odometer.  Also featured in the collection are a thoughtfully curated selection of classic American cars and trucks manufactured  between 1929 and 1959.  The founder of Dick's Classic Garage, Dick Burdick, also operates the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History in Rosanky, TX, about an hour's drive northeast of San Marcos, TX.  CTMAH houses a much larger and more diverse collection of American and European vehicles, as well as a vast collection of automotive memorabilia.

Hays County Courthouse
in San Marcos, TX
San Marcos, TX--located about 40 minutes south of the state capital in Austin, TX--is the home of Texas State University.  The town features a charming county courthouse square surrounded by local shops, restaurants and businesses.  This includes the LBJ Museum of San Marcos, which focuses on the early political education and career of our 36th President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, while he was attending what is now Texas State University.

(Post and photo credits: Kit Fox)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Feature Article on Tucker No. 1019 in "Old Cars Weekly"

Tucker No. 1019

The February 10, 2011, issue of Old Cars Weekly includes a 4-page article on Tucker No. 1019, which is owned by TACA member Deb Hull's family and displayed at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

(Post credit: Jay Follis; photo credit: TACA website)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Alex Tremulis!

Alex Tremulis' rendering of the Tucker Torpedo
Alexander Sarantos Tremulis was born 97 years ago today.  As chief stylist for the Tucker Corporation, he played a crucial role in making Preston Tucker's dream into an automotive reality.  Read more about Alex on the TACA website and on Wikipedia.

(Post credit: Kit Fox; image credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Gavel Drops at $797,500 on Tucker No. 1010!

Tucker No. 1010
Tucker No. 1010--the recent "barn find" Tucker '48 from rural Washington state--was sold by Gooding & Company today at its auction in Scottsdale, AZ for $797,500 (including buyer fees).  This was well below the record prices garnered at auction for Tucker No. 1038 in 2008 ($1,017,500) and Tucker No. 1045 in 2010 ($1,127,500), but comparable to the auction price paid for Tucker No. 1041 in 2009 ($853,100).  It seems (to this blogger, at least) to be a fair price given the condition of No. 1010 and the amount of work that would be needed to restore it.  Click here to see more information about and photos of No. 1010 from the Gooding & Company auction catalogue.

UPDATE 1/22/11 8:49 PM: Here's the video clip of the auction.  Click on the box below to start the video...and beware of adult language at about 3:10.

(Post credit: Kit Fox and Gooding & Company website; photo credit: Gooding & Company website)

Tucker No. 1035 on the Move!

As reported to us by Tiago Songa on January 20, 2011, via the Portuguese-language Taiadablog, Tucker No. 1035 has been removed from the Museo do Automovel de Caçapava in Brazil. Apparently, the entire collection has been removed by local authorities since it is now the property of the city of Caçapava. It seems that the collection--including its "star," No. 1035--are to be "cleaned and sanitized."  This is the first time in nearly 40 years that these cars have seen the light of day!  See the blog post for the latest photos of No. 1035.

UPDATE 1/23/11 9:25 AM: Photos of No. 1035 have also been posted on the TACA Facebook page, courtesy of Jason Vogel.

(Post credit: Joe Kahn, Kit Fox, Tiago Songa and

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tuckers in the News This Weekend

Tucker No. 1010
Two Tucker '48s will be making news this Saturday, January 22nd.  First, Tucker No. 1010 will be crossing the Gooding & Company auction block in Scottsdale, AZ.  We'll watch with interest to see how much this "barn find" Tucker brings in light of recent auction records.

Tucker No. 1039
Also on Saturday, Tucker No. 1039 will go on public display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History on the Mall in Washington, DC.  As one of two winners in the recent "Race to the Museum," No. 1039 will be on view for 30 days from January 22, 2011, to February 21, 2011.

(Post credit: Kit Fox, photo credits: TACA website)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Associated Press Video of Tucker No. 1039

This brief video features the 2 winners of the Smithsonian's recent "Race to the Museum" poll, including Tucker No. 1039.  Thanks go out to TACA Facebook fan Dave Mann for sharing this video clip!

(Post credit: Kit Fox; video credit: Associated Press and YouTube)

Tucker Road Trip, Day 11

Tucker No. 1025
We make a quick detour back to Indiana on the Tucker Road Trip to visit Tucker No. 1025The Goodwin Collection in Frankfort, IN is its home.

There is no website for the museum, but (by careful Internet detective work) it appears to house the collection amassed by the family that operates the local Goodwin Funeral Home, which has roots in the community going back to 1856.  The Goodwin Collection is located at 200 S. Main St., Frankfort, IN 46041, and is open by appointment only by calling (765) 654-5533.  Frankfort is located a few miles off I-65 to the northwest of Indianapolis.


(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: TACA website)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tucker No. 1039 Takes Second Place in the "Race to the Museum"

Tucker No. 1039
The polls have closed and Tucker No. 1039 took second place (with 28.5% of the vote) in the Smithsonian's "Race to the Museum," following up the 1929 Miller race car (which garnered 42.8%).  Nearly 24,000 votes were cast during the 3 weeks that the polls were open.  Click here for more details about the final outcome of this poll.

The Tucker and the Miller will both be placed on public display at the National Museum of American History on the Mall in Washington, DC from January 22, 2011, to February 21, 2011.  If you have a chance, go see Tucker No. 1039 during this rare public display.

(Post credit: Kit Fox and Smithsonian website; photo credit: Smithsonian website)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tucker No. 1035 Changes Ownership

Tucker No. 1035
After 35 years of uncertainty, rotting away in the abandoned automobile collection of Roberto Lee, we are pleased to hear that ownership of Tucker No. 1035 has finally been officially transferred to the city of Caçapava, Brazil.  Stay tuned to this blog and future issues of Tucker Topics for more details!

(Post credit: Joe Kahn; photo credit: TACA website)

Monday, January 10, 2011

One Day Left in the "Race to the Museum"

Results as of January 10, 2011
The Smithsonian's "Race to the Museum" ends tomorrow, January 11, 2011.  Tucker No. 1039 remains in second place behind the Miller race car, but comfortably ahead of the EV1 in third place.  Be sure to vote (if you haven't already)!

(Post credit: Kit Fox, image credit: Smithsonian website)

A Visit to Martyn Donaldson's Shop

Before going to see Tucker No. 1031 the other day, I stopped by TACA historian Martyn Donaldson's shop in Sun Valley, CA.  Martyn is definitely keeping himself busy with Tuckers these days.

Tucker No. 1003
First off, I saw Tucker No. 1003, which Martyn is restoring for its owners, John Boccardo and J.R. RobertsNo. 1003 has been painted a rather unusual shade of maroon--not the usual ox-blood color I've come to expect, but I quite liked it.  No. 1003 is awaiting the re-installation of its interior and a few other finishing touches.

Front clip from Tucker No. 1018
Next was TACA member John Shuler's Tucker No. 1052.  Attendees at last year's TACA convention in Atlanta, GA will recall seeing John fire up his engine for No. 1052 during our visit to The Cofer Collection.  Over the recent New Year's holiday, John and TACA president Jay Follis drove out to Los Angeles with a whole load of parts for No. 1052.  They include the front clip from wrecked Tucker No. 1018.

Tucker movie repli-car
Finally, I got to see TACA's own Tucker--the maroon fiberglass movie repli-car donated to TACA by Sharon Tucker.  It'll be a great promotional opportunity for TACA to have this car restored!

For more photos of my visit to Martyn's shop, see my Facebook page.

(Post and photo credits: Kit Fox)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tucker No. 1031 at The Breslow Collection

Last month, your faithful blogger was invited to attend the January 8, 2011, preview unveiling of the Tucker Gallery at The Breslow Collection in Northridge, CA, the new home of Tucker No. 1031No. 1031 was previously owned by the Jay and Eva Busker of Elk Point, SD, who were among the founding members of TACA back in 1973.  Before that, it was one of the few Tucker '48s known (and documented) to have been registered to Preston and Vera Tucker (it's in her favorite color--Waltz Blue).  For a really great article about TACA member Eric Breslow and his quest to purchase No. 1031, see Natalie Kochmar's article in Vol. 38, No. 12 of Tucker Topics.

In addition to No. 1031 (nicknamed "Vera"), the Breslow Collection's Tucker Gallery includes a variety of Tucker memorabilia.  There is a "new old stock" unused Tucker engine, a showroom display for the Motorola Tucker radio and showroom advertising banners.  The most unique piece (in this blogger's opinion) is Vera Tucker's scrapbook of news clippings.  Last night's gala preview was a great success, attended by dozens of local auto enthusiasts.

For more photos of Tucker No. 1031 and last night's event, see the TACA Facebook page.

(Post credits: Kit Fox and TACA message board; photo credits: Kit Fox)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tucker Road Trip, Day 10

The next leg of the Tucker Road Trip takes us to the Great Plains and The Smith Collection at the Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, NE, home of Tucker No. 1024.  TACA members will remember visiting No. 1024 during our 2006 convention in Kearney, NE.

Tucker No. 1024
The Museum of American Speed is a non-profit corporation founded in 1992 by "Speedy" Bill and Joyce Smith. This 125,000-square-foot museum was formed to present a continuous chronology of automotive Racing Engine and Speed Equipment development, and  also to preserve, interpret, and display items significant in racing and automotive history. The collection results from the Smith's personal involvement in racing and hot-rodding, and their lifelong passion for collecting and preserving racing and automotive history.  In addition to the world's largest collection of vintage to exotic engines and speed equipment, the museum also houses an amazing collection of pedal cars, toys and automobilia.

The museum is located across the parking lot from Speedway Motors at 340 Victory Ln., Lincoln, NE 68528, just off I-80 near the Lincoln Municipal Airport.  Guided tours are offered on weekdays only year-round.  See the museum's website for more information.


(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: TACA website)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One Week Left in the "Race to the Museum"

Results as of January 4, 2011
Voting in the Smithsonian's "Race to the Museum" ends one week from today on January 11, 2011.  Tucker No. 1039 is currently in second place behind the 1929 Miller race car.  Only the top two vote-getters will be selected for public display beginning later this month.  Click here to vote!

(Post credit: Kit Fox; image credit: Smithsonian website)

Tucker Topics, Volume 38, No. 12

In your mailbox you'll soon find the latest issue of TACA's printed newsletter, Tucker Topics.  The month's issue features an article from The eXperimental Garage by Natalie Kochmar about the recent acquisition of Tucker No. 1031 by TACA member Eric Breslow.  There are also photos of Keith & Eileen Carpenter's Tucker No. 1017, which they shared with fellow auto enthusiasts this past October in Colorado.

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

This Month in Tucker History

1946 - The January 1946 issue of PIC Magazine featured a story by Charles T. Pearson, a freelance automotive reporter, about the revolutionary “Tucker Torpedo.” The excitement produced by that one article is said to have been responsible for nearly 150,000 letters and telegrams being sent to Tucker Corporation. Many examples of those letters are now part of the Tucker Historical Collection and Library at the Gilmore Car Museum, TACA’s national repository of Tucker archives.

1947 - By 1947, US automobile production, which had ceased in February 1942 due to the war, was slowly beginning to return. Demand for new cars–any new car–was so great dealers could sell the few autos they received to the car-hungry public at nearly any price. The pressure was on Preston Tucker and he knew he needed to get his dream car on the market soon or risk not seeing it happen at all.

Alex Tremulis had landed the styling consultant contract with Tucker Corporation for his employer, the design firm of Tammen and Denison of Chicago, IL, in late December. Tremulis, basing his work upon the “Tucker Torpedo” design earlier produced for Tucker by George Lawson, presented Tucker with several new renderings. Tremulis would eventually be hired outright to become the Tucker Corporation Styling Chief.

1948 - The pace of events remains hurried for the Tucker Corporation well into January 1948. It was then the company entered an unsuccessful bid with the War Assets Administration to obtain the blast furnace property from Cleveland-Republic Steel. Although having submitted the higher bid, the government awarded the foundry to competitor Kaiser-Frazer.

The report on development and testing of the original Tucker 589 engine stated, “it failed in nearly all respects,” thus confirming the earlier decision to stop further work on it and seek alternatives to power the Tucker ‘48. The company had ordered six Franklin/Aircooled Motors 6 ALV-335 engines and parts from Bell Helicopter in December, and now directed the Ypsilanti Machine and Tool Company, owned by Preston Tucker’s mother, to undertake conversion of the engines to water-cooling.

At the same time, the Tucker Corporation placed an order with Jacobs Engine Company for 50 helicopter engines very similar to the competing Franklin/Aircooled Motors being worked on in Ypsilanti, MI. Within three days the order was increased to 100 Jacobs engines.

Preston Tucker took time away from the plant to attend a demonstration of the Kinmont Safe-Stop Disc Brakes conducted by Dick Hulse at the Chicago Police Department. He selects the Kinmont disc brakes for use in all production Tuckers, but none make it into the pilot production cars (decades later, Dick Hulse becomes one of the champion supporters and promoters of the Tucker Automobile Club of America, Inc.—TACA’s true Goodwill Ambassador).

1949 - By January of 1949 the pace at the Tucker Corporation had nearly become non-existent. True Magazine reported that “a small group of workers returning on their own time have been able to complete six more Tucker cars,” since the May 1948 plant layoff had left only a skeleton crew. These returning workers would eventually complete 13 more cars for a total of 50 pilot cars before the venture completely ended.

It was also in 1949 that Preston Tucker made a formal protest to Thomas Hart of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Chicago office for their “leaks” to the press.

1950 - By the end of January 1950, the trial against Preston Tucker and his co-defendants had ended with an acquittal on all charges. Yet the damage had been done: now poor public opinion and the lack of funds to continue sealed Tucker Corporation’s fate.

1960 - Charles T. Pearson, author of the 1946 PIC Magazine article and later Tucker Corporation PR man, publishes his book “The Indomitable Tin Goose - The True Story of Preston Tucker and His Car” in January 1960. This in-depth look into the Tucker legend was reprinted in 1974 and again in 1988 in paperback, following the movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” Today, it is considered a prized collectable.

1995 - January 1, 1995 marked the debut of the new cable network “The History Channel” with a series called “Automobiles,” and the Tucker ’48 was featured on the series’ third episode. Days later, on January 5th, Vera Tucker, Preston Tucker’s wife, passed away. She had been known as a tower of strength in her support of Preston and her children. We owe Vera a great deal for “Keeping the Legend Alive,” as without her assistance, the 1988 movie would have likely never been made.

(Post credit: Jay Follis)

Happy New Year!

TACA wishes you a healthy and properous 2011!

(Post credit: Kit Fox; image credit: Microsoft clip art)