The Tucker 48
The Tucker 48 was supposed to be one of the safest cars on the road, and it featured a streamlined and futuristic design. In many ways, it wasn’t far off from the Chrysler Airflow. Preston Tucker had successfully designed a gun turret for the U.S. Navy, and decided that he could design a car just as well. In 1948 he started driving around in his Tucker 48 and showing off the look and features of the car as he drove from one side of the country to the other. At each stop he took down payments on cars, sold stock, and even sold dealership franchises. People were excited and eager to get behind the new stylish car.
The Tucker 48 stood out as being the utmost in passenger safety. It had a pop-out shatterproof windshield, a center headlight that turned with the front wheels, a padded dash, and a reinforced safety cell. It seemed that the car was destined to be a success…there was just one problem with the car, it was not really in production.
Preston Tucker started the company with next to nothing and every bit of money he took from people for down payments, stocks and franchises was used just to keep his Chicago factory running. When the money started to run dry, he began calling his customers and selling them extra features that he made them pay for up front…before they even got to see their car.
One setback after another delayed production, and in 1950 when cars still were not rolling out, the government stepped in. Preston Tucker and his entire board of directors was indicted for fraud and the company was completely shut down. There were only 51 cars produced which makes it one of the rarest and most desirable classic cars in the world. A Tucker 48 recently sold for over $1.5 million.