1948 Tucker Custom?

Well, the car certainly looks like a rare 1948 Tucker that’s been lowered and turned into a unique hotrod, but this car is actually a carefully created fiberglass replica of one of those ultra rare automobiles. Instead of using the six cylinder helicopter engine which is rear mounted like the original cars, this custom uses a Cadillac Northstar 4.6 liter V8 which is frontmounted, but multiple rear exhaust pipes give the impression of the original car with heavy engine modifications. Back in their day, Tuckers were like an unfulfilled promise.  Preston Tucker helped to talk businessmen across the county into establishing 1,872 Tucker dealerships across the country, although just 51 actual Tucker automobiles were produced as the upstart company collapsed from lack of capital and allegations of fraud. Today, 47 of the 51 original factory built cars actually still exist.  However, a few more cars were built from parts or partial fiberglass bringing the total to 58 cars.  Further, some fiberglass reproduction cars were built for the movie TUCKER as well one of three fiberglass reproductions that was made into this custom car. But, in 1948, customers of the Tucker automobiles in many cases were given suitcases that were supposed to fit in the car’s forward trunk as an offering while they waited for their actual cars to be delivered.  While the Tucker48 is ofter called the Tucker Torpedo, that wasn’t the car’s real name. Tucker 48 was the actual name, and it also referred to the year the car was built as well.

Interesting, Preston Tucker made some key business errors. A huge 589 cubic inch engine turned out to be problematic, but a smaller 335 cubic inch helicopter  flat six cylinder engine produced by Franklin, an aviation products company, proved to be much better for the cars, producing 166hp. A first Tucker showcar, “The Tin Goose” actually broke it’s suspension before it’s showing because the weight of the car was so heavy. But, later Tuckers were slimmed down to 4,200 pounds on a 219 inch frame, which still made Tuckers a large car in the same league with Cadillacs, Lincolns and Imperials for the most part as far as sheer size goes. Preston Tucker bought out the Franklin company so that he could turn production solely for his own automobiles. This proved to be a costly mistake for Preston Tucker, because he lost great revenue because 65% of the aviation engine contracts had been going to Franklin before Tucker cut off this supply line to the aviation market, only increasing the market for Boeing and other brands, and hurting badly needed cash flow that could have helped the Tucker company succeed.

So this custom Tucker may not be the real deal here, but it looks simply stunning. And it’s just about as cool as cool can get. Amazing what a little lowering, custom tires and wheels and a hot Cadillac engine can do for this sleek classic looking beauty from 1948. 

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