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Tucker #57 — The Tucker Convertible

• CATEGORIES: Features

Long time readers know that ever since seeing the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream I’ve been a fan of the Tucker automobile.  What I didn’t know was that in early January of 2010 a Tucker Convertible was finally completed after years of sitting as a pile of parts.  It turns out there was plenty of controversy surrounding this convertible, specifically was it really a Tucker or simply a Tucker look-a-like built from left over parts. You can read some history of the Tucker and the Convertible here.

Well, after much discussion, enough information has been unearthed to assure most people (can’t make everyone happy) that Tucker had been working on a convertible when the company was forced into bankruptcy and was labeled Tucker #57.  Though it took multiple people and 60 years,  Benchmark Classics, near Madison, Wi (a place I used to call home) finally has put this beauty together (restoration images).

Here are an image and a video:



3 Comments on “Tucker #57 — The Tucker Convertible

  1. Steve E.

    This is one beautiful car! Its lines are nicer than the other Tucker automobiles. However, I seriously doubt that the Tucker shown in the video was a factory convertible. It looks more like an excellent hand built car. In fact, all 25 original Tuckers were hand built without an assembly line.

    I’ve only seen two Tuckers in person. One of the owners is a fellow member of a national car club. He gave an excellent presentation about the history of the Tucker Automobile at a monthly meeting in 1988. First of all, like most Hollywood shows, the movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” is so far off base that no one should take the contents of the movie to have historical significance. It’s entertainment only!

    My friend loves driving his Tucker, but in ’88 he said he doesn’t cruise at 100 mph any more. I was impressed. He said it’s a very well designed automobile and a joy to drive. He and his car were in the movie, but only briefly. If you care about your vehicle, he would never recommend anyone signing a contract to use their vehicle in any movie, no matter how much they paid you. Movie makers don’t care about your car and will do anything they want with it. You may not even like your car anymore after they’re through with it. (Does anyone else cry when a GPW gets blown up in a John Wayne movie. lol)

    Contrary to many stories, only about 25 Tuckers were finished before Mr. Tucker got off the ground. However, parts for approximately 50 were originally fabricated. Employees ended up with the parts for the unfinished 25 and were built individually some time later. I have seen only four door Tuckers in person and in photos, except for the beautiful blue convertible. Tucker hardly got off the ground building those cars. I seriously doubt that he was contemplating a two door convertible in the initial production run, which could have easily been constructed in the 21st century based on a four door model. It took Willys-Overland more than two years after the war to produce the Jeepster phaeton.

    Tucker was warned by his attorneys about the liability he created when he added safety features, which was a precedence that the “Big Three” didn’t want to conform to. Standard safety features he installed included seat belts, disk brakes, safety glass, aerodynamic body shape, and the third headlight that turned and illuminated the road ahead as the driver steered around corners.

    I found it interesting that many small parts looked striking similar to Willys parts. For example, the Tucker’s outside door handles are the same as Willys Wagons and Pickups.

    That’s one beautiful Tucker convertible. But if it were originally fabricated by Tucker employees, I think it would have been publically known some date sooner than 60 years after the vehicle was built. However, there is rumor that Preston Tucker built one convertible for his wife. You can believe what you want. But, if you are a Willys owner, you are an every day American and you won’t be able to bid on that Tucker anyway. Nice looking car! **Steve E.**

  2. deilers

    Thanks Steve for the input. That’s a particularly interesting note regarding the use of vehicles in movies.

    There is no doubt in my mind that whether it is a Tucker or not rests entirely on one’s definition of a Tucker and it will likely be an ongoing debate. I suppose one could ponder a similar (and more affordable) example like this one: is a Willys MB built from some original MB parts a true MB or not? When I look at it from that perspective, it forces me to think about it differently. Nonetheless, it’s a sweet vehicle!

    Regarding blown up GPWs and War Movies … It’s simply too painful to talk about, but my therapist is helping me through it 🙂

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