This Tucker Concept Gets New Life After 70 Years

Nov 03, 2014 10:30 AM EST | Tim Healey

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As auto buffs know, Tucker failed almost immediately as it tried to become America's next big automaker. Bob and Rob Ida certainly know that. But that hasn't stopped them from bringing back the concept the previewed the original Tucker 48 back in the 1940s.

Bob's dad Joe, who was Rob's grandfather, owned a Tucker dealership for all of a day before the company failed. His son and grandson went on to build custom cars-including Tuckers-together, but wanting a new challenge, they've decided to re-create the concept that led to the original Tucker 48. All the New Jersey residents have to go on is a ¼-scale model and some drawings.

Assuming they follow the original plan, they will wind up with only one front seat (and two in the back), a rear engine, and Tucker's signature rounded fenders.

The story of Tucker's demise is well-known. The Tucker 48 was technologically very advanced (a center headlamp turned to follow the front wheels, and the car had disc brakes) but thanks to a steel shortage and government accusations of fraud, the company never got off the ground.

The Idas want to build the Tucker Torpedo, which exists only on paper (a ¼-scale model was found a decade ago in a barn owned by the car's original designer), as the concept that previewed the 48. Sean Tucker, the great-grandson of company founder Preston Tucker who works as an automotive engineer, is on-board to help with the steering-system design.

Since the original engine was supposed to be air-cooled, the gang will find an old air-cooled Porsche engine for power. And they're using a full-size wooden model to mold the sheetmetal.

Perhaps the biggest challenge, as told to Wired, is the interior-they need to design something that works but fits the original design.

If done right, the Tucker could be one cool custom automobile. 

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