Tucker's Lost Prototypes

Whenever I think I’ve finally gotten a grip on everything there is to know about Tuckers, something surfaces which is totally out of left field. While Tucker was working on getting his car built, he had his design teams coming up with the next versions of the Tucker. This is a sketch of what the two door 1950 model would have looked like. I’d known about that, as well as this proposal for a Tucker Talisman, which Tucker had started talking about building as his trial was winding down. What I didn’t know, is that there was a four door version planned as well. (You can see the full size drawing of it in the background of that photo, as well as a small model on the table being studied by Alex Tremulis and others in the foreground.)

Amazingly enough, photos have recently been discovered which show that the four door had made it to metal at the time of Tucker’s trial. This photo, taken by Life magazine during the time of the trial, shows a bare metal body, notice the rear window of the car, now, compare it to this photo of Tucker 1003, stripped down to the metal. The window of 1003 is significantly smaller than the one taken by Life.

Furthermore, Tucker was looking at a couple Italian car prototypes to modify and rebadge as a smaller Tucker. Whie renderings of what that car would have looked like haven’t surfaced, we do know what the Italian versions would have looked like. (Only a handful of these were ever produced.) Some of the folks involved with those designs went on to produce a prototype car in 1952. Clearly, it seems that this design was heavily influenced by Tucker, if not a minor retweaking of what Tucker was going to do with the Italian cars.

That is waaay cool. Thank you for sharing.

-someone else who tends to go on and on about arcane historic passions others may, or may not, share

Yep. Tuck’s posts are worth a gander when he waxes all thing Tucker-related.

Interesting stuff.

I was travelling a few months ago and saw two Tuckers. I thought of you.

Really? Where?

Here and here.

You missed a couple in California. There’s one in San Diego, Coppola’s winery, and for a while, the Smithsonian was shipping theirs between the Peterson and Blackhawk museums in California. No idea if its there or back in storage in DC.

It wasn’t an old-car-spotting trip, I just happened across those two museums. Saw lots of other cool stuff as well.

And two out of fifty ain’t bad.

Holy Jesus Juice, but I love that Talisman profile. Talk about a design that’s ahead of its time.

Does it look to you like GM plagiarized the rear deck/window design for use on the early '60’s Corvettes?

And again on the early '70’s Rivieras?

I’ve always thought that the Buick was cribbed from Tucker’s design, but I never noticed the similarities to the Vette until now. IIRC, Larry Shinoda was the driving force behind the 'Vette, but I can’t recall who was the designer of the Riviera (somebody here knows who it is, because they mentioned it in a thread, but damned if I can find it). One of Studebaker’s lead designers admitted that they cribbed ideas from Tucker for their “bulletnose” design.

Not intending to hijack, but I thought readers and posters here might appreciate this.

A few weeks ago, my father recommended I watch a sweet little 1938 film called The Young in Heart. It features a truly remarkable car, known in the film as the “Flying Wombat,” but which was actually the Phantom Corsair. It was a prototype commissioned by a scion of the famous Heinz family. Only one was built, and it’s still in existence at the National Automobile Museum in Reno.

Meaning no disrespect to Mr. Tucker, Tuckerfan, or any other automobile designer who’s ever lived, I think this is one of the most fabulously gorgeous cars I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s spectacular!

More pictures.

That is all.

Yeah, the Phantom Corsair’s a nifty car (I’ve got a MicroMachine version of it around here, somewhere). IIRC, it was reworked in some unspecified manner for the film (I’ve never seen “before” pictures to be able to tell how much it had been modified). Apparently, it tended to overheat a lot, as the airflow to the radiator wasn’t that good. Easily correctable today with an airdam, pressurized cooling system, and electric fans.

Its too bad it didn’t inspire more designers, then we wouldn’t have the bar of soap looking cars we’ve got today.

I just stumbled across this story about a prototype tank built in 1932 which could do 60 MPH (even more amazing, if you removed the tracks, it could do over 100 MPH)! I have to wonder if Tucker didn’t see the article or a newsreel on the tank and get the idea for his combat car (which could do 60 MPH). Tucker might have been living in New Jersey at the time, as well.

There was also an aircraft design during WW-2, which was the Tucker XP-57, though I’m not sure if it’s the same Tucker company.

Yup. Same company, though the Wiki page on it isn’t very detailed (or even completely accurate).