The Tucker 48 is without question one of the most talked about and mythical vintage American cars to ever come to market. With a wild, new design that would shake up the automotive industry and innovative new safety features, the Tucker 48 was claimed to be the “Car of Tomorrow” which built up vast amounts of hype leading to its public debut.
The Tucker 48 was the brainchild of Preston Tucker, a former police officer, car salesman, and engineer, who wished to become the next big player in the post-WWII American automotive marketplace. With a hotshot team of executives to run his company, help of automotive designers George Lawson and Alex Tremulis, and the largest factory in the world to produce his cars, it seemed as though Tucker was set up for success and was going to take the automotive world by storm.
Unfortunately, due to claims of fraud, improper investing, among other things, the Tucker Corporation was unable to get its feet off of the ground and could only produce 50 production cars, plus a prototype, before being dissolved. The fabled car of the future would only be experienced by the select few that bought the cars new and who they were sold off to in the secondary market. Several of the cars had less than fortunately upbringings or simply abandoned for some time, while others were traded through collections or hidden away.
Today, the Tucker 48 has become one of the most sought after collectible American cars out there with examples recently selling for over $2 million. The cars are now spread across private collections and museums (three cars live in the AACA Museum and another in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History), with the original prototype (owned by the Swigart Museum) being the fifth car added to the National Historic Vehicle Register. Although several cars are on public display, it’s still a very rare occurrence to see a Tucker, let alone get to experience one on the road.
If you’ve ever wanted to experience the wonder of the Tucker 48 in person, now’s your chance! We at the HVA have partnered with the AACA Museum to bring Tucker 48 (Chassis no. 1026) to our 2020 Drive History Conference to take part in our annual Historic Vehicle Driving experience. Registrants of the Conference will have the opportunity ride in the legendary machine on the test track of the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage. The Tucker 48 will be one of many cars planned for this year’s driving experience where attendees will get to drive and ride in cars from all different decades of history.
Other activities for the 2020 Drive History Conference include a presentation by Bill Warner on Cuba’s Car Culture, the first public unveiling of the newest cars to be inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register, a tour of the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage, and more to be announced soon! Registration closes March 1st so reserve your spot now for a weekend of driving history and preserving America’s automotive heritage!
Photos courtesy of AACA Museum