Thursday, July 5, 2012

Another Innovative Car From The 40's

 You know you are photographing something special when you can't seem to take very many pictures without someone in the picture with your subject.  Such is the case with this 1948 Tucker, number 7 of 51 built by Preston Tucker and originally named the "Tucker Torpedo".  Only 51 were built before the company demise in March of 1949 after a stock fraud investigation.  There has always been speculation that the Big 3 helped Senator Homer S Ferguson bring the company and Mr. Tucker down.  The Tucker 48 was a very innovative car for the time period.

The Tucker was a rear engine, rear wheel drive car with four wheel independent suspension and a curb weight of 4200 pounds.  The H6, OHV (overhead valve) engine had 334.1 cubic inches producing 166 bhp and 372 lb-ft was attached to a Cord 810/812 Tucker modified Tuckermatic transmission.  Since there were only 51 built they are highly prized and bring very high prices at auction.  The number 43 car was sold at auction in 2011 for $2.915 million.
 One of the most recognizable features of the Tucker '48 is the directional third headlight that, when activated by a turn of more than 10 degrees, would light corners as the vehicle turned.  At the time there were 17 states that had laws against more that two headlights so Tucker designed a cover to put over the Cyclops.  All of the controls were within easy reach of the driver.  The dash area was padded for safety.

The Tucker used a perimeter frame around the vehicle for crash protection.  In addition a roll bar was integrated into the vehicle.  The steering box was behind the front axle a design to protect the drive in the event of a front end collision.  The windshield was designed to pop out in a collision and was made of shatter proof glass.  The cars parking brake locked to prevent theft.  The doors extended into the roof to ease entry and exit.
Tucker envisioned easy maintenance and repairs.  The whole drive train was suspended from a subframe held to the body with just six bolts.  With loaner assemblies available he saw the opportunity for a customer to have their engine remove and replaced with a loaner in under 30 minutes leaving the owner with their vehicle while repairs were being made.

1 comment:

  1. Just an amazing car really. Such a shame that it didn't work out.
    Thanks for the photos.