Tucker vs. Tucker

Patrick Ernzen ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions
Patrick Ernzen ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions

Chassis 1036 (RM Auctions)

A factory report dated October 28, 1948, held in the Tucker archives at the Gilmore Car Museum, indicates that chassis number 1036 had been completed on October 20, with body number 33 and engine number 33585. It was one of a dozen cars painted Maroon (paint code 600). No transmission was listed, as it is believed that this was one of more than a dozen Tuckers that remained unfinished and were waiting for transmissions when the factory closed. This is confirmed by the final factory inventory, dated March 3, 1949, which shows the car being in factory building number four with no transmission and having a price/value of $2,000.

Along with the other cars, chassis number 1036 was eventually completed by faithful Tucker employees somewhat “off the record.” On October 18, 1950, this car, along with the other Tuckers built and all the other contents of the factory, went to auction at a sale conducted by Samuel L. Winternitz and Company, which took place on site at 7401 South Cicero Avenue. The car is believed to have been sold to the St. Louis area, where it was finally outfitted with a transmission and made roadworthy.

In 1997, the Tucker was acquired by Bob Pond. For a decade, it remained as the centerpiece of his legendary collection, spending many years on prominent display at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

To acquire one of the most legendary American cars is a rare opportunity. To acquire one with such well-known and utterly fascinating history is especially priceless. The saying remains as true today as in 1948: “Don’t Let a Tucker Pass You By.”

This 1948 Tucker 48, chassis 1036, Lot 140, sold for $1,567,500, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s Monterey Auction on August 15, 2014.

Chassis 1003 (Gooding & Company)

While America’s “Big Three” manufacturers concentrated on producing lightly updated pre-war models to meet the incredible pent-up demand for new automobiles in the immediate aftermath of World War II, smaller independent manufacturers and brash startups launched bold, new designs. Successful industrialist Preston Tucker remains the most famous of all, with his drive to revolutionize the auto industry with his radical Tucker “Torpedo,” known as the “48.”

Not only is car 1003 the third example built and the first fitted with the rubber-sandwich suspension, it is one of the 12 Model 48s originally finished in maroon. It is also the first Tucker equipped with a revised front bumper providing improved frontal protection and the redesigned rear fenders providing easier rear-wheel removal.

This 1948 Tucker 48, chassis 1003, Lot 49, sold for $2,035,000, including buyer’s premium, at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction on August 16, 2014.

Carl Bomstead

Carl Bomstead - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Carl has been writing for SCM for 19 years. His first article appeared in the February 1997 issue, and at least one of his articles has appeared in every issue since. When he’s not writing, he serves as a National Director for the Classic Car Club of America and tends to his extensive collection of automobilia. He has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the past 20 years, and he also judges at Amelia Island and other major concours. An extensive number of collector cars have passed through his garage, and a 1947 Cadillac 62 Series convertible and a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia are current residents.

Posted in American