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Encyclopedia > Tucker Torpedo
1948 Tucker Torpedo cars on display at the Gilmore Car Museum
1948 Tucker Torpedo cars on display at the Gilmore Car Museum
A Tucker Torpedo at the Blackhawk Auto Museum
A Tucker Torpedo at the Blackhawk Auto Museum
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Tucker vehicles
See also Preston Tucker

The Tucker Torpedo was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago, Illinois in 1948. Only 51 examples were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949, amid allegations of fraud. Download high resolution version (1024x768, 65 KB)Two Tuckers on display (source - car #1047, 2nd photo) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (1024x768, 65 KB)Two Tuckers on display (source - car #1047, 2nd photo) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Gilmore Car Museum, located in Hickory Corners in the U.S. state of Michigan, houses a collection of train cars. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (3072x2048, 6406 KB) A picture of a Tucker automobile taken at the Black Hawk Auto Museum. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (3072x2048, 6406 KB) A picture of a Tucker automobile taken at the Black Hawk Auto Museum. ... Located an hour southeast of San Francisco in Danville, California (just south of Walnut Creek on Interstate 680, see map and directions), the facility encompasses nearly 70,000 square feet with four exhibition galleries, an Automotive Reference Library & Museum Store, Special Events Area, Board Room and state-of-the-art... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ... Preston Thomas Tucker (September 21, 1903 – December 26, 1956) was an American automobile designer and entrepreneur. ... A small variety of cars, the most popular kind of automobile. ... Preston Thomas Tucker (September 21, 1903 – December 26, 1956) was an American automobile designer and entrepreneur. ... ... 1948 (MCMXLVIII) is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... March 3 is the 62nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (63rd in leap years). ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) is a common year starting on Saturday. ...

Contents


Overview

After World War II, entrepreneurs like Henry J. Kaiser and Preston Tucker saw an opportunity to enter the automobile market. The United States government was auctioning off surplus factories and giving preference to upstarts rather than the large corporations that had benefitted from war production. World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrination, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atomic bomb. ... Henry J. Kaiser perches above Hawaii Kai in April 1963, his suburban development in Honolulu. ...


Studebaker was first with an all-new post-war model. But Tucker took a different tack, designing a safety car with innovative features and modern styling. His specifications called for a rear engine like Porsche, disc brakes, fuel injection, the location of all instruments on the steering wheel, and a padded dashboard. Studebakers Lazy S logo designed by Raymond Loewy was used from the 1950s until 1966 Studebaker was a United States wagon and automobile manufacturer that was incorporated on February 16, 1852. ... Mercedes-Benz supplies its AMG models to the Formula One Championship as safety cars The F1 Safety Car outside of its garage in the pitlane at the 2005 US Grand Prix In auto racing, a safety car (known in America as the pace car) is a car which limits the... In Automobile design, an RR, or Rear-engine, Rear wheel drive, layout places both the engine and drive wheels at the rear of the vehicle. ... Porsche (), (pronounced porsh-uh) is a German manufacturer of sports cars, founded in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche, the engineer who created the first Volkswagen. ... Close-up of a disc brake on a car On automobiles, disc brakes are often located within the wheel The disc brake is a device for slowing or stopping the rotation of a wheel. ... Fuel Injection is a method to meter fuel into an internal combustion engine. ...


Famed stylist Alex Tremulis, previously of Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg, was hired on December 24, 1946 and given just six days to finalize the design. On December 31, 1946, Tucker approved the design, dubbed the Tucker Torpedo. He had also hired another firm to create an alternate body, but only the horizontal taillight bar from that model appeared on the final car. Alexander Sarantos Tremulis (1914 - 1991) was the chief stylist at the Tucker corporation from 1947 to 1949, where he played a crucial role in making Preston Tuckers dream into automotive reality: the legendary Tucker 48 (also known as the Tucker Torpedo), a sleek fastback sedan with a rear engine... Auburn is the name of some places in Canada: Auburn, Nova Scotia Auburn, Ontario Auburn, Prince Edward Island Auburn is the name of some places in the United States of America: Auburn, Alabama (home of Auburn University) Auburn, California Auburn, Kansas Auburn, Georgia Auburn, Indiana Auburn, Maine Auburn, Massachusetts Auburn... Look up Cord on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Cord has several meanings: String or Rope Cord Automobile Vibrating cord A measurement of the volume of firewood A power cord or extension cable In electronics, a cable Cord, a former American car marque founded by Errett Lobban Cord. ... A 1929 Duesenberg j350 Willoughby on display at the 2005 United States Grand Prix 1930 Duesenberg J Walker Legrande Torpedo Phaeton 1932 Duesenberg J Murphy-bodied coupe convertible Wikimedia Commons has more media related to: Duesenberg vehicles Duesenberg was a US-based luxury automobile company active from the 1910s until... December 24 is the 358th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (359th in leap years). ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... December 31 is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ...


Innovative design

The mechanical components were innovative. The perimeter frame surrounded the vehicle for crash protection. The steering box was behind the front axle to protect the driver in a front-end accident. But numerous Tucker innovations were dropped. Magnesium wheels, disc brakes, and a direct-drive torque converter transmission were all left on the drawing board. General Name, Symbol, Number magnesium, Mg, 12 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 3, s Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 24. ... Close-up of a disc brake on a car On automobiles, disc brakes are often located within the wheel The disc brake is a device for slowing or stopping the rotation of a wheel. ... A torque converter is a hydraulic device prevalent in automatic transmissions and marine propulsion systems, such as diesel powered ships, where two or more engines are driving a common shaft. ... In mechanics, a transmission or gearbox is the gear and/or hydraulic system that transmits mechanical power from a prime mover (which can be an engine or electric motor), to some form of useful output device. ...


The car's innovative engine continued on the production path for a while longer, however. It was a 'flat' (horizontally opposed) 6-cylinder with hemispherical combustion chambers, fuel injection and overhead valves operated by oil pressure rather than a camshaft. These features would have been auto industry firsts in 1948, but as engine development proceeded, problems appeared. The large 589 in³ (9.7 L) engine functioned, but the 150 hp (66 kW) motor's valvetrain proved problematic. The engine and Cord transmission were mounted on a separate subframe which could be lowered and removed in minutes with just six bolts removed — Tucker envisioned loaner engines being quickly swapped in for service. Early Hemi in a 1957 Chrysler 300C See also: Chrysler Hemi engine Hemi (from hemisphere) is a design of internal-combustion engines in which the cylinder heads combustion chamber is of hemispherical form. ... Fuel Injection is a method to meter fuel into an internal combustion engine. ... The camshaft is an apparatus used in piston engines to operate poppet valves. ... 1948 (MCMXLVIII) is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... Look up Cord on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Cord has several meanings: String or Rope Cord Automobile Vibrating cord A measurement of the volume of firewood A power cord or extension cable In electronics, a cable Cord, a former American car marque founded by Errett Lobban Cord. ...


The final car was only 60 in (1524 mm) tall, but was very roomy inside. It featured a steered third headlight, dubbed the "Cyclops Eye", for use in turns. It lit up whenever the car was steered by more than 10 degrees. Tremulis' design was called the most aerodynamic in the world, and though it still sported pre-war type fenders, it was startlingly modern. Mathematically-computed coefficient of drag was only .27, though this was 'rounded up' publicly to .30. A Cyclops A Cyclops, or Kyklops, is a member of the Greco-mythical race of giants with a single eye in the middle of their forehead. ... Aerodynamics is a branch of fluid dynamics concerned with the study of gas flows, first analysed by George Cayley in the 1800s. ...


Rocky premiere

The world premiere of the much-hyped car was set for July 17, 1947. Over 3,000 people showed up for lunch, a train tour of the plant, and the unveiling in the main auditorium. The unveiling looked doomed, however, as last-minute problems with the car cropped up. The suspension snapped (or was cut), and the car would not move. Tucker ad-libbed on stage for two hours while emergency repairs were carried out. It was finally pushed onto a turntable by hand, and the curtain was lifted to thunderous applause. Tucker was joined on stage by his family, with his daughter smashing a champagne bottle on the "Cyclops Eye" and soaking her father. Also on stage were Tucker's engineers, still covered in grease from the last-minute repairs. July 17 is the 198th day (199th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 167 days remaining. ... 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Tucker had promised 150 hp (112 kW), and his innovative 589 was not working out, so another engine was sourced. The company first tried the Lycoming aircraft engine but it would not fit in the car's rear engine compartment. The Franklin air-cooled helicopter flat-6 did fit, however, so Tucker purchased four samples for $5,000 each. The company's engineers converted it to a water-cooled design, and its 166 hp (124 kW) pleased Tucker. He quickly bought the Franklin company to secure the engine source. For other meanings of Lycoming, please see Lycoming (disambiguation). ... Franklin is a place name in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States: In Australia, the Franklin River is on the west coast of the State of Tasmania. ... Engine cooling is the process of cooling an engine by using either air or liquid. ... The Bell 206 of Canadian Helicopters Robinson Helicopter Company (USA) R44, a four seat development of the R22 A helicopter is an aircraft which is lifted and propelled by one or more horizontal rotors (propellers). ... The flat-6 engine of the Honda Valkyrie motorcycle A flat-6 is a 6 cylinder configuration of a flat engine or boxer engine. ... Watercooling is a method of heat removal from components. ...


Another failed element of the prototypes was the Cord transmission, designed for front-engine/front wheel drive use. It could not handle the power of the Franklin engine, so a new design was needed. The creator of the Buick Dynaflow transmission was called in, designing a special "Tuckermatic" transmission with only 27 parts, about 90 less than normal. This transmission was to cause more trouble, however, as the initial prototype lacked a reverse gear. A skeptical press reported that the car could not go backward, hurting its reputation. In automobile design, an FF, or Front-engine, Front wheel drive, layout places both the engine and driven wheels at the front of the vehicle. ... Buick is a brand of automobile built in the United States, Canada, and China by General Motors Corporation. ...


Although it was well-funded, the company decided to raise more money in order to secure its future and credibility. $17,000,000 was raised in a stock issue, one of the first speculative IPOs. Another money maker was the Tucker Accessories Program. Future buyers could purchase accessories, like seat covers, the radio, and luggage, before their car was built. This brought an additional $2,000,000 into the company. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


With the final design in place, Preston Tucker took the pre-production cars on the road to show them in towns across the country. The car was an instant success, with crowds gathering wherever they stopped. One report says that Tucker was pulled over by a police officer intent on getting a better look at the car.


Failure

One of Tucker's most innovative business ideas caused trouble for the company, however. His Accessories Program raised funds by selling accessories before the car was even in production. This concept was investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Attorney, and led to an indictment of company executives. Although all charges were eventually dropped, the negative publicity destroyed the company and halted production of the car. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, commonly referred to as the SEC, is the United States governing body which has primary responsibility for overseeing the regulation of the securities industry. ... United States Attorneys represent the U.S. federal government in United States district court. ... In the common law legal system, an indictment is a formal charge of having committed a serious criminal offence. ...


To counteract the bad press, Tucker again took the cars on the road. He scheduled a two-week public test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a few of the 37 cars that had been built. One car was rolled at 100 mph (160 km/h), and the driver walked away with just bruises. Public perception was changing from outrage at Tucker's fraud to anger at the press and the government. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wing and Wheel Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana (a separate city completely surrounded by Indianapolis) in the United States, is the second-oldest surviving auto racing track in the world (after The Milwaukee Mile), having existed since 1909. ...


Today, the Torpedo has fame far greater than would be expected from its modest production run. When the cars are auctioned off, they command high prices, and many command prominent spots in automotive museums. Tucker #1043 recently sold and holds the record selling price of $700,000. The Tucker story and legacy was documented in the 1988 movie, Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Starring Jeff Bridges, the film was produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on a Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tucker: The Man and his Dream is a 1988 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Jeff Bridges which tells the story of Preston Tucker and his attempt to produce and market the Tucker 48. ... Jeffrey Leon Bridges (born December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California) is an American actor. ... George Lucas George Walton Lucas, Jr. ... Francis Ford Coppola at Cannes 2001 Francis Ford Coppola (born April 7, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American film director, screenwriter, vintner, magazine publisher, and hotelier, most renowned for directing the highly regarded Godfather trilogy. ...


48 of the 51 cars produced are rumored to be still functional.


See also

Studebaker Avanti The Studebaker Avanti was a sports coupe built by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, USA in 1963 and 1964. ... The De Lorean DMC-12 was a sports car manufactured by the De Lorean Motor Company from 1981 until 1983. ...

References

  • Egan, Philip S. (1989). Design and Destiny: The Making of the Tucker Automobile, On the Mark publications. ISBN 0924321008 (paperback).
  • Pearson, Charles T. (1974). The Indomitable Tin Goose: The True Story of Preston Tucker and His Car, Motorbooks International Publishers & Wholesalers, Minneapolis. ISBN 0879380209 (hardcover).

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Preston Tucker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1616 words)
Tucker was born in Michigan, near Huron, and is remembered for his charming personality.
Tucker was joined on stage by his family, with his daughter smashing a champagne bottle on the "Cyclops Eye" and soaking her father.
Tucker took several cars to Pearson's office to support his contention that development was continuing, but the radio man refused to apologize.
My Classic Car Television with Dennis Gage (561 words)
Thousands, maybe millions, of people are aware now of the Tucker Torpedo "48", one of the rarest collector cars, since the story of Preston Tucker was told in the 1988 film Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
In 1948, Tucker shook the automotive world by founding his own company to sell "The Most Completely New Car in Fifty Years." The car, a fastback, four-door sedan, utilized technological advances gained in World War II and was clearly ahead of its time in terms of styling.
Preston Tucker himself tried to regroup after moving to Brazil, planning a two-seat sports car called the "Carioca." Tucker was never able to pursue that dream, however, dying in December, 1956 at the age of 53.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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