The Big Three of America. General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler. Where does Tucker come in? Well, it had the potential and the ideas to do so. But the competition didn’t feel like it, and as with most of the good ideas, it got shot down by the political prowess and chit-chat of the industry. But what is Tucker exactly?
Preston Thomas Tucker was an entrepreneur with a lot of experience in hand. With sales experience at Dodge and many other places, and the bragging right to gain investment from Henry Ford to build Indy Cars in 1935, Tucker was the person to come up with “The Most Completely New Cars in Fifty Years.” Quite some thought into that name there.
Tucker was one of the petite companies which tried to come up after the World War II. He came up with a different approach-a safe car with modern features and innovative styling.
Take, for example, it’s only public offered sedan, the Tucker 48, launched in 1948. Coincidence? And it was a car of the future. Shaped like a torpedo and quite low slung with a lot of space, innovation, safety, and styling.
Let’s break down each one of them. Safety and space was its top priority, The passenger side was provided with a huge empty space below the windshield. It was basically a nuclear bunk in which you can jump into in case there was a head-on collision. Yes, it was protected by a crumple zone and we are talking about the pre-harness era.
Where did the glove box and the instrument panel go to then? Here is where innovation comes in. The glove compartment was moved into the side door whereas all the button cluster was moved towards the driver side into a compact space. Easy and convenient.
Another cool innovation was the vacuum actuated transmission system. It is basically a wiper-actuator type gear transmission, where a small lever on the handle is enough to change the gear. And you could simply delay the gear change by first selecting the clutch and then signaling when to change by using the clutch.
The engine that was used was the air-cooled-converted-to-liquid-cooled O-335 engine, which was basically an aircraft engine. And that too was placed at the rear. Some hinting at the 911s?
Styling was also top notch. The emblem at the front consisted of a Torpedo shaped Indy Car with 6 exhausts. The same number of exhausts popping out of the back, making their presence felt on the road.
And who can forget one of the most important feature of the Tucker 48? The Cyclopse Eye! There was a special eye in the middle of the front the of bonnet and it was no common headlight. It followed the path in which the steering of the vehicle was turned. Talking about innovation!
However, this car just proves the phrase, “Wrong place at the Wrong time!“. Sadly it didn’t catch on and was left in the ashes. So long Tucker!