An ultra-rare barn find Tucker 48 achieved $1.3m at RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale on January 19-20.
The car has an unusual history.
Its designer was Preston Tucker, an engineer from Michigan whose previous project had been an improved machine gun for the US Navy’s PT attack boat series.
The Tucker 48 features unique art deco styling
With its futuristic art deco styling, the Tucker 48 was conceived as “the Car of Tomorrow”.
It received a huge amount of press.
However, bigger American car makers were growing increasingly irritated about the hype surrounding Tucker.
They banded together to stop Tucker getting access to raw materials and began publicly questioning aspects of the design.
A large lawsuit against Tucker in 1950 effectively brought the project to an end.
Still, 51 cars were made before the business went under. This makes them rare but not impossible to get hold of today.
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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