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)