IT'S A 1948 TUCKER! I was more than pleased to see THREE of 'em recently at a Concours car show at Ironstone Winery, east of Sonora, California. That center headlight DOES turn with the front wheels...And the trunk is "up front."
This is the view drivers of other cars saw in 1948. This car, number 21 [of 51 built] is owned by a friend of mine who lives in Chico, California. He was good enough to spend several hours with me and my son Chris, filling our memory banks with things Tucker. He also gave us quite a long ride in the car. I'll tell you this: as good as this car is NOW, with over 200,000 road miles on it, it must have been over the moon sensational in 1948! The car still has NO squeaks or rattles and is very quiet, even at
speeds up to 90 mph. And it is FAST!
Alex Tremlis had just ten days to design this car...Preston Tucker was always in a big hurry, it seems. That air intake grille on the back fender hinges open to expose the fuel filler nozzle. Cars after about number 30 had the fuel tank "up front."
That's my son Chris, saying, "Well, what are we waiting for--let's GO!" This car has the original hub caps, that had six radial cooling slots cut into them, and the Tucker coat of arms attached to their centers. Note that the doors open well into the roof.
The safety interior--no instrument panel to bash your head on. The heater is under the front seat. You can see the radio on the right side of the instrument module. The extension coming out of the right side of the steering column mounts the control for the Bendix pre-selection of gears in the Cord 4 speed transmission. You move the little lever, then when you are ready, you just push in the clutch and the pre-selected gear is engaged. Release the clutch and away you go....
Driver's view of the instruments. The 4 ivory knobs control heating and ventilation. Below that are the light switches, ignition switch and starter button. On the right you can just see the control knob for the Bendix pre-select system.
The business district. The all-aluminum, flat six is NOT a helicopter engine. Preston Tucker bought the Franklin Engine Co., and Franklin engineers built a WATER cooled version of the helicopter engine. It displaced 335 cubic inches, produced 166 bhp and just under 400 ft/lb of torque.
A STOCK Tucker was clocked at the Bonneville Salt Flats at over 130 mph. The car's low coefficent of drag, estimated at 0.30, and the engine's prodigious torque, were the reason for that incredible performance for a 1948 car.
So there's the rocket ship. An incredible design in 1948 and still gorgeous today.
Fifty-one of them built....and I got to ride in one--WOW!
City Car Design
8 years ago