Barn find Tucker 48 offered at RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s will offer an ultra-rare barn find 1948 Tucker 48 in its Arizona classic car auction on January 19-20.

It’s valued at $1.6m-2.1m.

Tucker 48 RM

The Tucker 48 was put in storage in the early 1980s

The car was discovered in Ohio, where it has been in storage since the early 1980s, and has since been restored to its former glory.

The Tucker 48 is a legend of the American automobile industry.

It was designed and financed by Preston Tucker, an engineer from Michigan who’d previously invented a new kind of gun turret for use on the US Navy’s PT range of attack boats.

With its sleek art deco lines, Tucker intended it to be “The Car of Tomorrow”.

The plans received a high level of press and the public were excited by the design.

However, Tucker faced opposition from the larger car manufacturers.

They were able to block his access to raw materials and publicly attacked the build quality of the car.

There were also numerous questions surrounding the project's funding, although Tucker was later found not guilty of fraud at his trial in 1950.

Together these factors torpedoed the Tucker. Only 51 were made, most of which are now in US automotive museums.

One sold at auction in 2013, achieving a record $2.9m. This example is said to be in better condition than that lot, suggesting we could see a new record this time round.

RM Sotheby’s comments: “It would please a vindicated Preston Tucker that the 47 surviving examples of the 51 cars he built are among the most valuable and desirable American cars.

“They draw the most attention and crowds to any museum at which they are displayed, including such venerable halls as the Henry Ford, the Petersen Automotive Museum, the National Automobile Museum, and the Nethercutt Museum.

“They are the trophies of renowned collectors who consider their fleets of Duesenbergs, Isottas, and Ferraris simply otherwise incomplete without ‘The Car of Tomorrow.’”

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