Seventy years ago this month, Preston Tucker unveiled the now iconic automobile that bears his name. Check out this retrospective along with a video of John Tucker remembering his legendary grandfather.
On June 19, 1947, an automotive visionary named Preston Tucker unveiled what he hoped would be the future of the automobile to a crowd of more than 5,000 spectators. It was an auspicious start for the newly established Tucker Car Corporation.
Dubbed the “Tin Goose,” the Tucker ’48 prototype was unlike any other automobile at the time. Aerodynamic, loaded with advanced safety features and never-before-seen innovations like the “Cyclops-center headlight” that turned with the wheels, Tucker’s creation set a new and exciting bar for cutting-edge automotive technology and styling. Ultimately, however, the rest of the story is remembered as a tale of “what might have been.”
There’s still plenty of debate on what led to the downfall of this ambitious company and whether or not Detroit’s Big Three—in an effort to shutdown an upstart competitor—really was behind the scandal and accusations of tax fraud that landed Preston Tucker in federal court. Tucker was eventually exonerated of all charges, but years of litigation left his company bankrupt and his reputation in tatters.
Tucker died of cancer in 1956 at the age of 53. Only 51 Tucker sedans were built during his company’s brief lifespan, of which only 47 remain. Learn more about Preston Tucker, his creation and the history of the Tucker Car Corporation from his grandson, John Tucker.