Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Alex Tremulis!

Alex Tremulis' rendering of the Tucker Torpedo
Alexander Sarantos Tremulis was born 98 years ago today.  As chief stylist for the Tucker Corporation, he played a crucial role in making Preston Tucker's dream into an automotive reality.  Read more about Alex on the TACA website and on Wikipedia.

(Post credit: Kit Fox; image credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tucker No. 1043 Sells for $2,915,000!

Tucker No. 1043
Just moments ago, Tucker No. 1043 sold at Barrett-Jackson's 2012 Scottsdale, AZ auction for $2,915,000 (including fees).  We believe this to be a record auction price for a Tucker '48.  Recent auction prices for cars in comparable condition include $1,127,500 for Tucker No. 1045 in 2010 and $1,017,500 for Tucker No. 1038 in 2008.

(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: Barrett-Jackson website)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sneak Preview of TACA Convention 2012

After an absence of 20 years, TACA will be returning to Auburn, IN this year!  TACA Directors Brent Morris, John Schuler and Michael Leasor have taken on the task of planning and hosting this year's convention, which is scheduled for June 21-24, 2012.  A centerpiece of the event is expected to be a visit to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum.  Check back in the coming weeks and months for more details.

(Post credit: Brent Morris and Kit Fox)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tucker No. 1008 Featured in One of "Hemmings Blog's" Top 10 Posts for 2011

Rudy Schroeder accepts his
raffle prize in September 1949


The stranger-than-fiction story of Tucker No. 1008 is number five of the top 10 posts in Hemmings Blog that was selected as the best of 2011.  Click here to read Mike Schutta's fascinating report.

(Post credit: Kit Fox and Mike Schutta; photo credit: Hemmings Blog)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tucker No. 1043 to be Auctioned Next Weekend

Tucker No. 1043 from the Ron Pratte Collection
Barrett-Jackson will be auctioning Tucker No. 1043, the jewel of the Ron Pratte Collection, at its annual Scottsdale, AZ auction next weekend.  Although the Barrett-Jackson festivities began today in Scottsdale, Lot No. 5008 is not expected to cross the auction block until sometime after 5:00 PM (MST) on Saturday, January 21st.  Several other holdings from the Ron Pratte Collection will be offered in the 5000-series premium lots, including a 1947 Bentley Mark VI, a 1957 DeSoto Adventurer convertible, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS Baldwin-Motion coupe and two 2007 Ford Shelby GT500s (coupe and convertible).

Live coverage of this Saturday's auction will be presented on Speed TV (consult your local listings for time and channel).

(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: Barrett-Jackson website)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Final Tucker Poll Results

We want to thank the 218 Tucker fans who voted in our poll about the number of Tucker '48s you've seen in person.  The poll closed (after more than 18 months) on New Year's Eve 2011, and here are the final results:

26% - No Tuckers seen
43% - 1 to 3 Tuckers seen
14% - 4 to 10 Tuckers seen
17% - 11 or more Tuckers seen

(P.S. - I'm hoping to see my 22nd Tucker sometime in the coming year)

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tucker Topics, Volume 39, No. 12

The latest issue of Tucker Topics includes two feature articles by TACA President Jay Follis: one on the new, year-round operations at the Gilmore Car Museum, and the other on the story of the 4 fiberglass Tucker replicars from the 1988 film Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Check your mailbox for your issue!

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Passing of Two TACA Members

We are saddened to report the recent passing of two TACA members.  Today, we learned that founding TACA member Joe Walker (TACA #25) passed away after a brief illness on November 15, 2011, in Wichita, KS.  Joe would have been 80 years old today.  Click here for Joe's obituary.

Tucker No. 1051
We also learned yesterday of the sudden passing of Chick DeLorenzo on January 3, 2012.  Chick was the proud owner of Tucker No. 1051.

TACA would be honored to have you share your memories of Joe and Chick for publication in an upcoming edition of Tucker Topics.  Please e-mail them to topics@tuckerclub.org.

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox; photo credit: TACA website)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tuckers Abroad: A Postscript

We thank you for joining us on our journey to visit Tucker '48s around the globe over the past few months.  Check back with us next month as we begin a new series of feature articles on the fascinating stories of the four "missing" Tuckers!

(Post credit: Kit Fox)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

This Month in Tucker History

1946 - The January 1946 issue of PIC Magazine featured a story by Charles T. Pearson, a freelance automotive reporter, about the revolutionary “Tucker Torpedo.” The excitement produced by that one article is said to have been responsible for nearly 150,000 letters and telegrams being sent to Tucker Corporation. Many examples of those letters are now part of the Tucker Historical Collection and Library at the Gilmore Car Museum, TACA’s national repository of Tucker archives.

1947 - By 1947, US automobile production, which had ceased in February 1942 due to the war, was slowly beginning to return. Demand for new cars–any new car–was so great dealers could sell the few autos they received to the car-hungry public at nearly any price. The pressure was on Preston Tucker and he knew he needed to get his dream car on the market soon or risk not seeing it happen at all.

Alex Tremulis had landed the styling consultant contract with Tucker Corporation for his employer, the design firm of Tammen and Denison of Chicago, IL, in late December. Tremulis, basing his work upon the “Tucker Torpedo” design earlier produced for Tucker by George Lawson, presented Tucker with several new renderings. Tremulis would eventually be hired outright to become the Tucker Corporation Styling Chief.

1948 - The pace of events remains hurried for the Tucker Corporation well into January 1948. It was then the company entered an unsuccessful bid with the War Assets Administration to obtain the blast furnace property from Cleveland-Republic Steel. Although having submitted the higher bid, the government awarded the foundry to competitor Kaiser-Frazer.

The report on development and testing of the original Tucker 589 engine stated, “it failed in nearly all respects,” thus confirming the earlier decision to stop further work on it and seek alternatives to power the Tucker ‘48. The company had ordered six Franklin/Aircooled Motors 6 ALV-335 engines and parts from Bell Helicopter in December, and now directed the Ypsilanti Machine and Tool Company, owned by Preston Tucker’s mother, to undertake conversion of the engines to water-cooling.

At the same time, the Tucker Corporation placed an order with Jacobs Engine Company for 50 helicopter engines very similar to the competing Franklin/Aircooled Motors being worked on in Ypsilanti, MI. Within three days the order was increased to 100 Jacobs engines.

Preston Tucker took time away from the plant to attend a demonstration of the Kinmont Safe-Stop Disc Brakes conducted by Dick Hulse at the Chicago Police Department. He selects the Kinmont disc brakes for use in all production Tuckers, but none make it into the pilot production cars (decades later, Dick Hulse becomes one of the champion supporters and promoters of the Tucker Automobile Club of America, Inc.—TACA’s true Goodwill Ambassador).

1949 - By January of 1949 the pace at the Tucker Corporation had nearly become non-existent. True Magazine reported that “a small group of workers returning on their own time have been able to complete six more Tucker cars,” since the May 1948 plant layoff had left only a skeleton crew. These returning workers would eventually complete 13 more cars for a total of 50 pilot cars before the venture completely ended.

It was also in 1949 that Preston Tucker made a formal protest to Thomas Hart of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Chicago office for their “leaks” to the press.

1950 - By the end of January 1950, the trial against Preston Tucker and his co-defendants had ended with an acquittal on all charges. Yet the damage had been done: now poor public opinion and the lack of funds to continue sealed Tucker Corporation’s fate.

1960 - Charles T. Pearson, author of the 1946 PIC Magazine article and later Tucker Corporation PR man, publishes his book “The Indomitable Tin Goose - The True Story of Preston Tucker and His Car” in January 1960. This in-depth look into the Tucker legend was reprinted in 1974 and again in 1988 in paperback, following the movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” Today, it is considered a prized collectable.

1995 - January 1, 1995 marked the debut of the new cable network “The History Channel” with a series called “Automobiles,” and the Tucker ’48 was featured on the series’ third episode. Days later, on January 5th, Vera Tucker, Preston Tucker’s wife, passed away. She had been known as a tower of strength in her support of Preston and her children. We owe Vera a great deal for “Keeping the Legend Alive,” as without her assistance, the 1988 movie would have likely never been made.

2011 - "Barn-find" Tucker No. 1010 sold for $797,500 in "as is" condition at Gooding & Company's annual Scottsdale, AZ auction on January 22, 2011.  Tucker No. 1010 had sat unrestored in a storage shed in Washington state for more than 40 years.

(PS - This is our 200th post!

(Post credit: Jay Follis and Kit Fox)

Happy New Year!

Preston Tucker's daughter, Mary Lee, christens the "Tin Goose" prototype
(and Tucker himself, too) at its Chicago introduction on June 19, 1947
Even if you don't have your own Tucker '48 to christen with champagne tonight, TACA raises its glass to you and yours, and wishes you a very Happy New Year!

(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: OldCarsWeekly.com)