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)

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