Tucker was ultimately found innocent of all charges, but by then the damage to his dreams of owning an automobile company was done. This is why the production-ready car had a central steering headlamp; it was the only practical means of achieving Preston’s goal. © 2017 The Historic Vehicle Association. It was only called the “Tucker Torpedo” as it was being designed and promoted. Thanks to an earlier collaboration with famed race car fabricator Henry Miller, he also had the design knowhow. The proposed disc brakes also had to be temporarily abandoned in order to get the cars out the door. What he needed was money and a factory. Virtually all the top automotive testers and critics of the day were very enthusiastic and praised the car highly in magazines and newspapers. The story of Preston Tucker is a classic David and Goliath tale. The first Tucker sedan prototype (affectionately named “Tin Goose”) initially had a massive fuel-injected 589-cubic-inch liquid-cooled flat-6 rear engine with a torque converter on each end. “I opened the throttle on a straight stretch of highway,” he wrote, “and was soon doing 105 miles per hour. About the National Historic Vehicle Register, THIS CAR MATTERS: Period-Raced Split Window Corvette, 1920s Race Car & Champion’s Ducati, The HVA in Monterey: A Recap of the Monterey Auto Week, 1947 Tucker ’48 Prototype Makes Another Historic Debut, Making The Register: 1947 Tucker ’48 Prototype (“Tin Goose”), THIS CAR MATTERS: 1947 Tucker ’48 Prototype, “Tin Goose”, Quirks of the Tucker 48 “Tin Goose” Prototype, TEASER: 2020 National Historic Vehicle Register Inductees, Bob Bahre, world-renowned collector and founder of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, passes away at 93.
Alex Tremulis was hired to design a car body for production and reportedly given just six days to finish the job. Tucker turned to the remnants of the old Franklin auto company, which built aircraft and helicopter engines under the moniker “Air Cooled Motors” in Syracuse, New York. (HVA) is to promote the cultural and historical The Tucker 48 was designed in Michigan, and built in Chicago in a vast factory … All rights reserved. In the first installment of a new series looking at short-lived automotive marques and models, Glenn Arlt takes a look at the groundbreaking vision (and initial glitches) behind Tucker’s legendary car. It also had a reverse gear! Having designed a gun turret that became invaluable to the war effort for the United States and Allied militaries during World War II, Tucker had the engineering expertise. Tucker saw his opportunity to develop and bring his "car of tomorrow" to market. Tucker’s fanciful and entirely impractical demand for front fenders that turned with the wheels (with headlights attached) was abandoned. Preston Tucker’s entrepreneurial spirit, ingenuity and unrelenting positivity led him to develop an innovative automobile that stood on a foundation of questionable business decisions. These included: pop-out windshields to keep from cutting people (proved to have worked in a high-speed rollover wreck on the proving grounds with one of the pre-production jobs); safety door releases inside; no protruding knobs ready to impale passengers in a wreck; and a padded “escape cellar” area instead of a dashboard for the front passengers to duck down into if a wreck was impending. That provided great opportunities for new small, independent automakers who could develop new cars more rapidly than the huge legacy automakers. This feature drove each rear wheel directly with no transmission; thus, no reverse gear was possible, which was a major problem to say the least. Therefore no Tucker Torpedos were ever built. All production hiccups aside, the 1948 Tucker sedan proved faster than competitors, just as roomy and had many unique features, including an aluminum liquid-cooled flat-6 rear engine, four-wheel independent suspension and a padded dashboard. In order to take advantage of the post-war seller’s market (as well as to establish a name for himself in a hyper-competitive industry), Tucker believed his “car of the future” had to be developed, engineered, designed, and tooled up within two years — a nearly impossible task. The car is called the “Tucker ’48” (for its model year).
The mission of the Historic Vehicle Association This was the quickest 105 miles per hour I have ever reached.”. Another small automaker, Studebaker, was first with an all-new postwar model, but Tucker took … future of our automotive past. There was also a major problem with the 589 engine — it simply didn’t work. Would the powerful 166-horsepower car have flopped on the marketplace? All production hiccups aside, the 1948 Tucker sedan proved faster than competitors, just as roomy and had many unique features, including an aluminum liquid-cooled flat-6 rear engine, four-wheel independent suspension and a padded dashboard. Sadly, we’ll never know. What if Tucker could have developed the planned automatic transaxle and gotten it into production ahead of established companies such as Ford, Packard and Studebaker, which also developed automatics in this era? The 335-cubic-inch engine was also placed behind the rear wheels instead of between, and this necessitated a transaxle (more or less identical in layout to the Volkswagen and later Corvair and Porsche 911).
To rush things along, a few pre-war Cord 810/812 transaxles from that front-wheel-drive car were purchased from scrap yards, rebuilt and pressed into service.
After the government agreed to lease him a massive, decommissioned B-29 engine factory outside Chicago, Tucker and his associates began attracting investors and setting up a dealer network.
What Tucker Got Right. We love Tucker’s tale because of what could have been had he, Alex Tremulis and the other hardworking folks in the background been able to at least get the car to market to see whether it would have panned out or not. Tucker’s initial vision for an all-new, post-war car started in 1946 when he proposed a torpedo-shaped car powered by a hydraulic drive system, which turned out to be too far in advance of technology of the day. Tucker even had long-term plans for proposed gas-turbine engines for the 1950s cars.
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