Wednesday, August 1, 2012

This Month in Tucker History

1947 - After working on the 589 engine for several months, an August 1947 engineering report deemed the cost for the starter would be prohibitive. The report also pointed out that the piston load was three times greater than that of any competitor’s engine.

1948 - After a rather difficult July, August 1948 seemed to hold some promise for Tucker Corporation and the fulfillment of Preston Tucker’s dream. Renowned automotive journalist and regular contributor to Mechanix Illustrated, Tom McCahill test-drives a Tucker ‘48 and writes a glowing review on the auto for the magazine. Work continues swiftly on the less expensive helicopter engine, the 335, with 91 units being delivered by Tucker Corporation’s newly acquired Aircooled Motors of Syracuse, NY.

The War Assets Administration awards a Cleveland blast furnace/steel plant to automaker Kaiser-Frazer even though Tucker Corporation’s sealed bid proves to be the highest. The second Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Tucker Corporation officially ends.

1988 - The Tucker auto again captivates America’s interest in August of 1988 when the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream is released nationwide. The Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather”) and George Lucas (“Star Wars”) production stars Jeff Bridges and his father, Lloyd.

The 1960 Charles Pearson book The Indomitable Tin Goose: The True Story of The Tucker Auto is re-released in paperback following the release of the movie.

1995 - August of 1995 finds the Tucker Automobile Club of America on the internet with a website created by member Chris Miller.

1996 - Larry Clark, automotive historian and TACA member, nominates Preston Tucker for induction in the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, MI.

2010 - The Tucker Automobile Club of America expands its internet presence even further with the introduction of a blog (Tucker Tribune) and a Facebook page.

Tucker No. 1045 sells for a (then) record $1,127,500 at auction in Monterey, CA on August 14, 2010, and is relocated to Melbourne, Australia, making it the fifth Tucker to be located overseas.

(Post credits: Jay Follis and Kit Fox)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

This Month in Tucker History

1946 - It was July of 1946 that Preston Tucker signed a lease agreement with the War Assets Administration (WAA) for the wartime Dodge B-29 engine plant on South Cicero Avenue in Chicago. Known as the largest and best equipped manufacturing plant in the world, it covered 484 acres with 22 buildings, the largest of those covering 84 acres by itself. The WAA agreement stated that Tucker Corporation would take possession if Tucker could raise $15 million by April 1947. An article in the July 25, 1946 issue of Business Week announced that Tucker moved in and took possession of Dodge Chicago plant.

1947 - July 1947 was a busy time for Tucker and those around him. Philip S. Egan, a member of the design team at J. Gordon Lippincott & Company, was hired as a full-time staff member of the Tucker Corporation working under Chief Stylist Alex Tremulis (Phil’s book, Tucker: Design & Destiny, on his Tucker experience, is a MUST read).

The deadline for the $500,000 payment by Tucker Corporation for its first year lease on the Chicago plant also came due during this month.

Max Garavito, president of the Tucker Export Corporation, met with officials of Aircooled Motors on the prospect of using the Franklin 335 helicopter engine in the Tucker if it could be converted to water-cooled.

Preston Tucker was still confident that company Vice-President and Chief Engineer (fuel injection specialist) Ben Parsons’ engine design would power his “Car of The Future.” Parsons, however, released a statement on the 28th of July saying that there would be “no fuel injection until the 589 engine is satisfactory.”

1948 - In mid-June 1948, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued subpoenas for all Tucker Corporation operating papers from as early as 1946, and effectively made it impossible for work to continue. Nearly 2,200 factory workers were laid off and the plant was closed. However, in July 1948, Preston Tucker rehired 300 workers and reopened the plant with a simple goal--complete assembly on as many Tucker automobiles as possible.

(Post credit: Jay Follis)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Location for LeMay Museum in Tacoma, WA

The Lemay Museum - "America's Car Museum"
On June 2, 2012, the LeMay Museum - home of Tucker No. 1007 - opened in its spectacular new location near the Tacoma Dome and the Museum of Glass in downtown Tacoma, WA.  See the LeMay website for more information.

UPDATE 6/23/12 4:46 PM: We're told that Tucker No. 1007 actually remains at the LeMay Family Foundation's collection at the former Marymount Military Academy in Tacoma, WA.  We apologize for the confusion.

(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: LeMay Museum website) 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MISSING: Tucker No. 1042

No Photos of
Tucker No. 1042 are
Known to Exist
The story of Tucker No. 1042 is perhaps the most bizarre of any of the missing Tucker 48s.  Rumors abound and the documented truth as eluded researchers for years.

Records from the 1950 auction of the Tucker Corporation assets indicate that No. 1042 had no engine at the time. Some believe that the car was vandalized in the 1960s and no longer exists.  Another story is that a veterans' organization used the car in a "Bash a Tucker" fundraiser.  Yet another story is that the remains of Tucker No. 1042 were found along the banks of the Mississippi River near Memphis, TN in the 1960s, only to later disappear under mysterious circumstances (possibly involving a disgruntled tenant at a rental property where it was being stored).  To this day, all of these stories have led to dead ends and the few remaining parts attributed to this car cannot be positively matched to it.

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox; image credit: TACA website)

Friday, June 1, 2012

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)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MISSING: Tucker No. 1027

Tucker No. 1027
Tucker No. 1027 is perhaps one of the better known of the missing Tucker 48s, thanks to a dramatic scene in Tucker: The Man and His Dream.

In the early fall of 1948, seven cars were driven from the Chicago Tucker Corporation factory to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 24-hour endurance testing.  At 3:00 AM on or about October 18, 1948, chief engineer Eddie Offutt was behind the wheel of Tucker No. 1027 when it spun out and rolled twice into the infield. The car's safety features (including the pop-out windshield) functioned exactly as designed and Offutt suffered only a bruised elbow.  In the movie, these events were re-created with the famous "Stucker" stunt double car, which was actually a modified Studebaker.

Tucker No. 1027 was not scrapped, but was returned to the Engineering Department and eventually sold at auction in 1950, listed as "no engine, wrecked."  Today, although it is not clear what happened to the body and chassis of No. 1027, some parts have been used in the restoration of other cars, while other parts are in the hands of private collectors.

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox; photo credit: TACA website)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MISSING: Tucker No. 1023

Tucker No. 1023
Tucker No. 1023 was completed in September 1948 and ended up in Massachusetts and New York as a company demonstrator car. Nearly 30 years later, No. 1023 ended up in Florida, primered, showing its age and sitting in storage awaiting restoration.

In September 1978, a fire broke out in the Allied Van Lines warehouse in Deland, FL where No. 1023 was stored. The 20,000-square-foot building burned and collapsed, destroying its contents. Only a few parts of Tucker No. 1023 were salvageable; Tucker historian Richard Jones eventually brought home what was left of No. 1023 after it had been crushed, and buried the remains under the garage in his backyard.

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox; photo credit: TACA website)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

This Month in Tucker History

1948 - The month of April has proven to be a very busy time in Tucker history, particularly April of 1948.  By then, Tucker Corporation had selected an engine for the Tucker ’48 and even purchased its manufacturer, Aircooled Motors of New York. That meant the cancellation of Tucker Chief Engineer and fuel injection specialist Ben Parson’s 339-engine after only 30 days of development.

The War Assets Administration gave assurances to Tucker Corporation that its bid for the Cleveland Blast Furnace would be given “serious consideration.” By August, the facility had suspiciously been awarded to rival automaker Kaiser-Frazer, even though Tucker Corporation’s sealed bid proves to be the highest.

A Company press release in April 1948 announcing that “five Tucker ‘48s per day by July 15 could be expected” was sent to all major new outlets.

April of 1948 was also when the Tucker Corporation’s weekly radio show and contest began on 85 American Broadcasting Company stations with an overwhelming response.

Secundo Campini of Italy, inventor of the first jet-engine airplane, joined Tucker Corporation as Vice-President of Turbo-Jet Motor Research and Development in April of 1948. Tucker Corporation also acquires all post-war Campini engine patents, which included one for an automotive gas turbine.

Four Star General Jonathan Wainwright, who had been a POW during World War II, was given a VIP visit of the Tucker plant in Chicago and ends up signing a purchase agreement for the very first car to be delivered in Texas.

1949 - A headline in the April 17, 1949 issue of the Chicago Herald-American announced “Tucker Shows Speed – Fined.” The small article states that Officer Fred Reno of the Gary, Indiana Police department had pulled over a Tucker ’48 and issued its driver, Preston Tucker, a speeding ticket.

1989 - Fast forward to April 1989 and the book “Design and Destiny: The Making of the Tucker Automobile” is published by Philip S. Egan, original member of both the Lippincott and Tucker design teams.  Also in April of 1989, Paramount Studios releases the Francis Ford Coppola movie “Tucker - The Man and His Dream” to video.

(Post credit: Jay Follis)

Friday, March 23, 2012

What if....

A post on Jalopnik by Jason Torchinsky speculates on what could have been if Preston Tucker had been successful in manufacturing and distributing the Tucker '48.

(Post credit: Kit Fox, image credit: Jason Torchinsky)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tucker No. 1034 Sells for $1,320,000!

Tucker No. 1034
Just moments ago, Tucker No. 1034 sold for $1,320,000 (including fees) at Gooding & Company's Amelia Island (FL) auction.  This appears to be the second-highest recent auction price paid for a Tucker '48, falling between the record high of $2,915,000 paid for Tucker No. 1043 in January 2012, and the previous second-highest price of $1,127,000 paid for Tucker No. 1045 in August 2010.

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MISSING: Tucker No. 1018

Tucker No. 1018
Tucker No. 1018 was sold to Buffalo (NY) Motor Sales in July 1948. During the fall of 1948, the car was driven around and displayed widely in New York and Pennsylvania by George McKinney, who owned the Buffalo distributorship and a dealership in Titusville, PA.

Unfortunately, some time in late 1948 or early 1949, Tucker No. 1018 struck a tree near South Wales, NY and was a total loss (luckily, there were no injuries). However, many parts of the car were salvaged and later sold to other collectors, including the front clip that TACA Director John Schuler is using to assemble his Tucker No. 1052.

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox; photo credit: TACA website)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This Month in Tucker History

1947 - Excitement was in the air! The March 1947 issues of the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune introduced many readers to the Tucker with full-page advertisements. Those who picked up LIFE or Saturday Evening Post magazines nationwide found two-page ads announcing the "Most Completely New Car in Fifty Years." In all of these ads the car was described as the Tucker '48 and not the Tucker Torpedo as early promotional items had called it. If you have ever doubted the success of the initial promotion of the Tucker Motorcar, you only need to remember that even today many people will refer to the car as the Tucker Torpedo!

The future looked bright and, with all the activity, most were confident that Tucker Corporation would be in production shortly. By March 1947, the company had already raised $20 million with its sale of stocks and was able to secure a purchase / lease agreement with the War Assets Administration for the Dodge-Chicago plant.

Preston Tucker brought in the J. Gordon Lippincott design team, made up of Read Viemeister, Hal Bergstrom, Tucker P. Madawick, Budd Steinhilber, and Philip S. Egan, to complete design details for a Tucker prototype. Two full-scale clay models -- those of Chief Designer Alex Tremulis and the Lippincott team -- would eventually be built side by side as each team highlighted different features.

1948 - By the following year, March 1948, the highlight of the first annual stockholder's meeting was the demonstration of a complete car featuring the modified helicopter engine. The pilot production of Tucker automobiles had begun and 125 engines were ordered from the Franklin - Aircooled Motors plant in New York. Within just days of that order, Preston Tucker announced the purchase of Aircooled Motors by Tucker Corporation for a reported $1.8 million. It was also at this time that Audrey Moore, a leading female in the automobile industry, joined the Tucker Corporation design staff to handle interior styling.

1949 - By March of 1949 what had started as the vision of one man and became the dreams of so many seemed to be lost as Tucker Corporation entered into receivership with Preston losing control of his company to trustees A.J. Colnon & J.H. Chatz.

A factory inventory compiled by Dan Leabu on the third of March appeared to list Tucker # 1040 as being the last completed car. Sixteen other cars were shown as being "nearly complete," but without installed transmissions, engines or both, and Tucker Corporation's "cash on hand" was reported as only $219,193.00. Today, you would be hard pressed to find any owner of a restored Tucker willing to sell it for that amount! Also in March of 1949, the Detroit News brought further negative attention to the Tucker saga when it published, based on leaked SEC reports and misinformation, the very damaging article entitled "Gigantic Tucker Fraud."

1953 - Preston Tucker's own response to the demise of his car of the future -- "My Car Was Too Good" -- appearing in the premier issue of Cars Magazine, didn't hit newsstands until March of 1953.

(Post credit: Jay Follis)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tucker No. 1034 to be Auctioned at Amelia Island on March 9th

Tucker No. 1034
Gooding & Company has announced that Tucker No. 1034 will be offered at their Amelia Island (FL) auction on March 9th.  TACA members who attended our 2010 annual convention in Atlanta, GA will recall seeing No. 1034 in the exhibit The Allure of the Automobile at the High Museum of Art.  At that time, it was on loan from the Cofer Collection of Tucker, GA.

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Mystery of the Missing Tuckers

Fans of the Tucker '48 know that the Tucker Corporation produced a total of 51 vehicles during it's brief lifetime: the "Tin Goose" prototype and 50 "pre-production" models, serial numbered 1001 through 1050.  Of these original 51 vehicles, 47 still exist today.

Beginning next month, we'll be presenting a brief survey of the stories of the 4 Tucker '48s that did not survive into the 21st century, based upon an excellent article by TACA President Jay Follis from the October 2010 issue of Tucker Topics.  See you next month!

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This Month in Tucker History

1948 - In early 1948, Tucker Corporation was still looking for a suitable engine to power the "Car of Tomorrow." The Jacobs Aircraft Engine Company of Pottstown, PA and Aircooled Motors of Syracuse, NY both became involved in development projects for the Tucker. By February, Jacobs reported that the Ex-Cell-O fuel injection had been received and was favorably tested on one of their engines. Tucker engineers, out of fear that Jacobs would not be able to deliver its engines in a timely manner, told them to drop the fuel injection project. Within a week, the Jacobs engine was ready for testing by Tucker but the project was eventually dropped entirely as being unsatisfactory. Without letting a week pass, Preston Tucker ordered that, "two cars be produced as soon as possible," using the "Franklin" aircraft engine built by Aircooled Motors. The Ypsilanti Machine and Tool Company, managed by Preston's mother, had successfully converted the air-cooled helicopter engine to water-cooling. At the same time, Tucker engineer Ben Parsons proposed that he be allowed to build three of his "339" engines, but the project doesn't get off the ground.

1949 - Fast-forward a year to February 1949: Federal District Attorney Otto Kerner made the announcement that a Grand Jury investigation of Tucker Corporation would take place. Kerner, who later became a Federal Judge, the Governor of Illinois, and authored the famous Kerner Report while serving on President Johnson's Race Relations Committee, served as Prosecutor of the Tucker case. Ironically, in 1973 Tucker's former mimesis Otto Kerner, now Governor of Illinois, was sent to Federal prison for a conviction on charges of mail fraud, bribery, perjury, and income tax evasion tied to his dealings in stock of a racetrack operation.

(Post credit: Jay Follis)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Alex Tremulis!

Alex Tremulis' rendering of the Tucker Torpedo
Alexander Sarantos Tremulis was born 98 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 21, 2012

Tucker No. 1043 Sells for $2,915,000!

Tucker No. 1043
Just moments ago, Tucker No. 1043 sold at Barrett-Jackson's 2012 Scottsdale, AZ auction for $2,915,000 (including fees).  We believe this to be a record auction price for a Tucker '48.  Recent auction prices for cars in comparable condition include $1,127,500 for Tucker No. 1045 in 2010 and $1,017,500 for Tucker No. 1038 in 2008.

(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: Barrett-Jackson website)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tucker No. 1008 Featured in One of "Hemmings Blog's" Top 10 Posts for 2011

Rudy Schroeder accepts his
raffle prize in September 1949

The stranger-than-fiction story of Tucker No. 1008 is number five of the top 10 posts in Hemmings Blog that was selected as the best of 2011.  Click here to read Mike Schutta's fascinating report.

(Post credit: Kit Fox and Mike Schutta; photo credit: Hemmings Blog)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tucker No. 1043 to be Auctioned Next Weekend

Tucker No. 1043 from the Ron Pratte Collection
Barrett-Jackson will be auctioning Tucker No. 1043, the jewel of the Ron Pratte Collection, at its annual Scottsdale, AZ auction next weekend.  Although the Barrett-Jackson festivities began today in Scottsdale, Lot No. 5008 is not expected to cross the auction block until sometime after 5:00 PM (MST) on Saturday, January 21st.  Several other holdings from the Ron Pratte Collection will be offered in the 5000-series premium lots, including a 1947 Bentley Mark VI, a 1957 DeSoto Adventurer convertible, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS Baldwin-Motion coupe and two 2007 Ford Shelby GT500s (coupe and convertible).

Live coverage of this Saturday's auction will be presented on Speed TV (consult your local listings for time and channel).

(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: Barrett-Jackson website)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Final Tucker Poll Results

We want to thank the 218 Tucker fans who voted in our poll about the number of Tucker '48s you've seen in person.  The poll closed (after more than 18 months) on New Year's Eve 2011, and here are the final results:

26% - No Tuckers seen
43% - 1 to 3 Tuckers seen
14% - 4 to 10 Tuckers seen
17% - 11 or more Tuckers seen

(P.S. - I'm hoping to see my 22nd Tucker sometime in the coming year)

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Passing of Two TACA Members

We are saddened to report the recent passing of two TACA members.  Today, we learned that founding TACA member Joe Walker (TACA #25) passed away after a brief illness on November 15, 2011, in Wichita, KS.  Joe would have been 80 years old today.  Click here for Joe's obituary.

Tucker No. 1051
We also learned yesterday of the sudden passing of Chick DeLorenzo on January 3, 2012.  Chick was the proud owner of Tucker No. 1051.

TACA would be honored to have you share your memories of Joe and Chick for publication in an upcoming edition of Tucker Topics.  Please e-mail them to

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox; photo credit: TACA website)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tuckers Abroad: A Postscript

We thank you for joining us on our journey to visit Tucker '48s around the globe over the past few months.  Check back with us next month as we begin a new series of feature articles on the fascinating stories of the four "missing" Tuckers!

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

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.

2011 - "Barn-find" Tucker No. 1010 sold for $797,500 in "as is" condition at Gooding & Company's annual Scottsdale, AZ auction on January 22, 2011.  Tucker No. 1010 had sat unrestored in a storage shed in Washington state for more than 40 years.

(PS - This is our 200th post!

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox)