Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This Month in Tucker History

1947 - The month of June 1947 saw work completed on the Tucker prototype-the "Tin Goose"-and its unveiling to the world at the Chicago plant. The dream of owning the "First Completely New Car in Fifty Years" was enthusiastically embraced throughout the nation.

1948 - June of 1948 is seen as a busy time in Tucker history. While the first production design transmissions based on the Cord model are delivered in June of 1948, things seem to be taking a turn for the worse. James D. Coolidge, council for the Tucker Corporation, receives a summons to appear at the Chicago offices of the Securities and Exchange Commission and is informed that the "company is under investigation." Three days later, well-known radio personality Drew Pearson leaks SEC details of the investigation on his radio program. Tucker becomes the buzz at office water-coolers throughout the nation as the details of this "secret and confidential" SEC report led to wild gossip, conjecture and hearsay.

By June 14th, the SEC subpoenas all Tucker corporate operating papers from as early as 1946 and effectively makes it impossible for work to continue. Preston Tucker lays off nearly 2,200 factory workers and keeps only a skeleton crew on. That crew begins work on the less expensive 335 engine, while Preston publishes an open letter to the auto industry that appears in several national papers.

1949 - June of 1949 doesn't fair much better for Tucker Corporation as Collier's magazine publishes an article attacking Tucker.

1974 - While it can certainly be argued that the SEC and others helped put Tucker Corporation out of business, it needs to be noted that dealerships closed as well. It wasn't until June of 1974, some 25 years later, that former Tucker dealers received settlement checks through the United States District Court for the investments they made in 1947.

(Post credit: Jay Follis)

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