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Seeking First Owner for Unique 1948 Tucker Convertible!

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Luc Gagné
The one and only 1948 Tucker Convertible may finally find its very first owner among the large crowd of bidders expected to attend the 10th annual Russo and Steele Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona this January.

The Tucker 48 Convertible is a one-off the construction of which was started by the Tucker Corporation and finished by Benchmark Classics.

This one-off vehicle has less than two original test miles. It was never sold by its manufacturer, the Tucker Corporation. Historians say the original design and fabrication began in Tucker's Chicago manufacturing facility, but some pretend the convertible was moved out just before the company shut-down.

According to a Russo and Steele spokesperson, “The most significant aspect of the conversion from a sedan to a convertible was the adaptation in the plant of the sedan's frame to respond to the additional demands of a convertible body.”

“The sedan's frame was re-engineered by box-wrapping an ovular frame in thicker-than-stock ten gauge steel. This provided the Convertible with all the rigidity it needed to satisfy the performance expectations of Tucker Engineering. Its doors were stamped in the plant suggesting that more were to come.”

Same helicopter engine!
This car shares the same rear mounted aircraft derived Franklin-Tucker engine and Cord "Invisible Hand" semi-automatic transmission. This 5.5-Litre 6-cylinder engine had horizontally opposed pistons. It produced 166 bhp and 372 lbs/ft of torque, allowing this heavy car (1905 kg) to accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h in only 10 seconds.

Historians are pretty unanimous on the total number of Tuckers that were built. There was one prototype called “Tin Goose”, 36 sedans were manufactured before the company closure on March 3, 1949, and an extra 14 cars were assembled with leftover parts in the 1950s. This makes 51 cars in all of which 46 still exist.

As the restoration of this car was completed in 2009, history was re-written and the number of Tuckers built reached 52!

Well, Preston Tucker was known to have some prototypes under development while his company was active. One of them would have been this convertible referred to as “Experimental car #57”, a number stamped on many body parts. Some historians also refer to it as “Project Vera”, a nickname using Tucker’s wife name.

The instrument panel of this convertible is similar to the sedan’s.
Luc Gagné
Luc Gagné
Automotive expert
  • More than 30 years of experience as an automotive journalist
  • Over 59 test drives in the past year
  • Attended over 150 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists