Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Deadline for Reduced Convention Registration Fee is June 6th

Remember, the $190 registration fee for TACA Convention 2011, California Dreamin', increases to $215 after June 6th.  Be sure to get your registration form and check in the mail today, and save $25.  You can download and print a registration form by clicking here.

You're also encouraged to make your reservations at the Hilton Garden Inn Valencia Six Flags (661-254-8800) by June 6th as well to get the special convention rate of $114/night (mention group/convention code "TUCK").

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Monday, May 30, 2011

TACA Honors Memorial Day

TACA honors the memory of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of American freedom and liberty.

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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tucker Topics, Volume 39, No. 5

The May 2011 issue of Tucker Topics includes an article on an upcoming public showing of Tucker No. 1033 in Paris Hill, ME on July 16th.  Also enclosed is a ballot  for 2 seats on the TACA Board of Directors.

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Swigart Museum Re-Opens This Weekend

It's Memorial Day weekend, which means it's time for the Swigart Museum of Huntingdon, PA to re-open for its annual season.  The museum is home to both the "Tin Goose" Tucker '48 prototype and Tucker No. 1013, and is open daily though October 31st.

(Post credit: Kit Fox, photo credit: Swigart Museum website)

Monday, May 23, 2011

One Month Until TACA Convention 2011!

Here's a quick preview of 4 Tuckers we're expecting to see at next month's TACA convention in Valencia, CA.  Click here for more information.  You can also download and print a registration form from our website and Facebook page.

(Post and photo credits: Kit Fox)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

TACA Salutes Armed Forces Day

Tucker Combat Car

Imagine how different things might have been if Preston Tucker's revolutionary Combat Car had been put into production!  Luckily, the Tucker Turret did make it into service in PT boats, landing craft, B-17s and B-29s.

(Post credit: Kit Fox and Wikipedia; photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tucker Road Trip, Day 19

Tucker No. 1048
The penultimate leg of the Tucker Road Trip takes us across (or around) Lake Michigan to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford, WI.  For the past few years, privately-owned Tucker No. 1048 has been on (periodic) display here.  TACA members may recall seeing No. 1048 on display at the Volo Auto Museum during the 2005 convention in Chicago, IL.

Francis "Fuzzy" Fruzyna purchased No. 1048 in the mid-1990s after having won the Wisconsin state lottery. Fuzzy was a great guy and a huge supporter of TACA, but to say that he had eclectic taste was an understatement. There was much talk about the "accessorization" Fuzzy did to the car, but the bottom line was that it was his car and he had fun with it.  Fuzzy passed away a few years ago and a friend of his took possession of the car. He has decided to keep the car "as-is" so as to pay respect to the car that Fuzzy loved so much.

The Wisconsin Automotive Museum is located at 147 N. Rural St., Hartford, WI 53027, just northwest of Milwaukee off US-41.  It is open daily May through September, and Wednesdays through Sundays from October through April.  Call the museum at (262) 673-7999 to see if No. 1048 is on display, and visit the museum's website for more information.

(Sources: http://www.tuckerclub.org/, http://www.wisconsinautomuseum.com/, TACA message board)

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Question About Tucker Ashtrays

We've had a question from a blog reader about the manufacturer of the promotional Tucker ashtrays (see a photo of a maroon example to the left).  Does anyone know the name of the company that made them?  If so, please contact us and we'll pass along the information.

UPDATE 5/19/11 10:31 AM: TACA Historian Martyn Donaldson offers the following results of his research into the issue of the Tucker ashtrays:

I have no solid evidence, but I believe they were produced by National Products, a division of Banthrico Industries, Chicago, Illinois. Banthrico spent much of the 1930s producing cast metal piggy-banks in the shapes of buildings or animals.

After World War II, Banthrico focused on the production of promotional model cars or "dealer promos" for the major auto companies. Most of the early models were made using the slush-mold method of casting (as is the case with the Tucker ashtrays), but some of their later offerings also doubled as coin-banks.

The earliest Tucker models, whether finished in gold plating or painted maroon, are easily distinguished by having no fender skirt outline cast into the rear fenders. This was a very short run before the mold was modified to have the outline cast in place, hence ashtrays with these early models mounted on them are very rare. Even with a higher selling price of $12.00 when new, the gold-plated ones easily outsold the maroon items, which sold for $10.00. This fact alone makes the maroon ones a little harder to come by today.

(Post credit: Kit Fox and Martyn Donaldson; photo credit: http://www.worthpoint.com)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Another Wine Country Tucker

Tucker No. 1037 at the
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Regular readers of this blog may recall that when I visited Francis Ford Coppola's Rubicon Estate Winery in Northern California's Napa Valley in February 2011, I expected to see (but didn't) Tucker No. 1037 (although I was very pleased to see Coppola's Tucker No. 1014 instead).  Shortly after my visit, I discovered that No. 1037 had been moved to Coppola's other winery in nearby Sonoma County.  Since I was in that neck of the woods this past weekend, I stopped by to see No. 1037, which was feautured prominently in Coppola's Tucker: The Man and His Dream as a "stand-in" for the "Tin Goose" Tucker '48 prototype.  Tucker No. 1037 is the centerpiece of the Movie Gallery, a collection of movie memorabilia at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery near Geyserville, CA, about 90 minutes north of San Francisco, CA off US-101.

The pool at the
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
The Francis Ford Coppola Winery offers much more than just a tasting room and a home for Tucker No. 1037.  To quote Francis, it's “a wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy all the best things in life – food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life.”  For me, it was also a beautiful and memorable setting to see my 21st Tucker!

(Post and photo credits: Kit Fox)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

R.I.P. Bill Whipple

Wilmer W. "Bill" Whipple
1920 - 2011
We are saddened to report that TACA Director, long-time TACA member and former Tucker Corporation employee Bill Whipple passed away this past Saturday morning, May 7, 2011, in Kent, WA with his wife Sue and their daughters by his side.  This is a tremendous loss for TACA and the Tucker legacy.

A memorial service will be held this Thursday, May 12, 2011.  The Whipple family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Bill's name to the VFW or to TACA.  Please contact us about information about contacting the Whipple family or making a memorial donation to TACA.  Also, we'd appreciate any memories, anecdotes or photos of Bill that you'd like to share for an article in an upcoming issue of Tucker Topics.  These can be forwarded to TACA Secretary and Tucker Topics editor Bill Pommering at topics@tuckerclub.org.  Thank you.

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox; photo credit: KentReporter.com)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tucker Road Trip, Day 18

We head back to the Great Lakes region on this leg of the Tucker Road Trip to visit the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI.  The Gilmore Car Museum is home to both Tucker No. 1047 and the Tucker Historical Collection and Library (HCL).  TACA members may recall seeing No. 1047 on display at the Volo Auto Museum during the 2005 convention in Chicago, IL.

The Gilmore Car Museum began in 1963 as the hobby of Donald S. Gilmore when his wife, Genevieve, gave him an antique car for his birthday —a 1920 Pierce-Arrow “project car.” With the help of some friends, the auto was placed under a tent and a full restoration followed. The hobby soon grew into a collection of over 30 automobiles. Mr. Gilmore purchased 90 acres of farm property and had several historic barns dismantled piece by piece and moved to the site. It was Mr. Gilmore’s wife who suggested the idea of turning the collection into a museum where future generations could enjoy the restored cars for years to come. The Gilmores established a non-profit foundation, and opened the museum to the public for the first time in 1966. Donald Gilmore passed away in 1979, and Mrs. Gilmore in 1990, but the legacy they began continues to grow.  Today, the site includes eight historic barns, a re-created 1930s service station, a small town train station, and nearly three miles of paved roads. Besides experiencing the wonderful collection of automobiles, you might find yourself reliving (or even making a few) childhood memories viewing the nearly 75 vintage pedal cars on exhibit.

Tucker No. 1047
The Tucker Historical Collection and Library (HCL) was established by TACA on the grounds of the Gilmore Car Museum in 2000. The TACA collection is displayed in such a way that the Tucker legend can be shared and enjoyed by all. A re-created 1940's office reminiscent of what one may have found at Tucker Corporation, or at one of its dealers nationwide, shows the TUCKER logo boldly on the door. Visitors looking in may just imagine that Preston Tucker has just left, possibly to go down to the Engineering or Sales Departments to check on his project. This "office" is the permanent home of all the TACA archived materials acquired under the leadership of Jay Follis, HCL Director and current TACA President, and Frank Tucker, Curator Emeritus. Frank, a cousin to Preston Tucker, served as Curator of the TACA Archives from 1990 - 2000. Under his direction the collection grew from a single photo of Preston Tucker to literally thousands of items.  Today much of the growing collection is displayed at the Tucker Historical Collection and Library and is currently being placed into a computerized inventory. This, as well as a digital photo database, allows greater accessibility to the Tucker legend and enables TACA to assist other museums, students and enthusiast in strengthening their Tucker awareness.

The Gilmore Car Museum is located at 6865 W. Hickory Rd., Hickory Corners, MI 49060, within easy driving distance of Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Lansing and Grand Rapids, MI. The museum is open from May 1st through October 31st.  Visit the museum's website for more information.

(Sources: http://www.tuckerclub.org/, http://www.gilmorecarmuseum.org/)

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tucker No. 1019 Sold

Tucker No. 1019
We understand that Tucker No. 1019, formerly on long-term loan to the San Diego Automotive Museum, has been sold.  We'll let you know when and if we hear where No. 1019 "resurfaces" again!

UPDATE 5/4/11 6:33 PM: RM Auctions was reportedly the buyer of Tucker No. 1019.  In the past few years, they have been involved in the restoration and/or sale of Tucker Nos. 1038, 1045 and 1046.  We'll be keeping our eyes peeled to see No. 1019 (possibly) crossing an auction block some time in the near future.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This Month in Tucker History

1947 - It was May of '47 that the J. Gordon Lippincott & Company design team completed its work on a full-sized clay model. The Lippincott group had been brought in not as automotive engineers, but as product designers and setup next to Alex Tremulis' model. The friendly competition wasn't to change any of the Tremulis fundamentals - wheelbase, basic body, center headlight, but was purely for styling.

May of 1947 also found work beginning on the first Tucker prototype - the "Tin Goose."

1948 - It was in 1948 that Herbert D. Wilson published a glowing review of the Tucker in the May 2nd edition of the Chicago Herald-American.

Tucker Corporation ordered 500 engines from Aircooled Motors of Syracuse, New York, the new Tucker-owned subsidiary. While the location of the Aircooled Motors is referred to as Syracuse even on Company letterhead, the plant was actually located a few miles to the west in Liverpool, NY. It was also in 1948, during the month of May, that the Securities and Exchange Commission initiated a second investigation of Tucker Corporation.

Those highly sought-after Tucker promotional ashtrays featuring a model of the car were first offered to dealers from the pages of the TUCKER TOPICS, the Company's dealer newsletter in May 1948. The price then - painted for $10 and gold-tone plated for $12.50. The price today - in the $800.00 to $1,200.00 range!

On May 18, 1948 veteran racecar driver and Tucker Corporation's West Coast regional manager, Ralph Hepburn, was killed when his NOVI Special struck the wall during a practice lap for the Indy 500. Preston Tucker, a close friend of many years, was at the speedway when the accident occurred.

(Post credit: Jay Follis)