(Photos by Joe Grippo) –The Tucker 48 will remain one of the most rare, intriguing, valuable, and interesting cars in American automotive history until the end of time. Was Preston Tucker a visionary? Was he a huckster? Was he a guy that actually scared the Big 3 to their core deep enough that they actively squashed his business or was he a guy that just got in deeper than he could handle and came just shy of pulling off an amazing American success story. Those are also points that will be debated long into the years of American automotive history but there’s one thing we do know. We know that Preston Tucker and his pluggy little company produced 51 supremely cool Tucker automobiles before slipping under the financial waves via their own hands or because of outside forces. The cars they did produce were far and away different (superior?) to what was on the market and they really took a clean sheet look at the automotive world of the late 1940s.
The AACA was the beneficiary of David Cammack’s posthumous generosity because upon his passing in 2013 his extensive collection was donated to the museum and it is housed there today. This is an amazing look at Tucker because you not only see some pretty cars sitting there, you see prototype engines, components, and some of the “accessories” that were actually used against Tucker in hastening the fall of the company. Tucker was dragged into court when the government took umbrage with him selling accessories for cars that were not exactly being built yet. Stuff like the radio you’ll look at below. Once embroiled in court, the whole thing unraveled and that was the end of the story of Tucker as a manufacturer but the innovations were many and important.
Windshields made of shatterproof glass, the headlight in the center of the car that turned with the wheel, and a ton more were all built into these cars. They also rank among the most valuable American cars now with auction prices soaring up over a million bucks for nice examples. Rather than ramble on, we’ll let Joe’s photos do the talking.
In the back of your mind as you look at this stuff, contemplate the fate of the Tucker company and how it came about. Was it just a business that overreached? Was it taken down by the colossus of the Big 3? Was it something in the middle?