On December 26, 1956, the visionary carmaker Preston Tucker dies of lung cancer. He was just 53 yrs . old.
Tucker began his career in the auto industry as a mail messenger at General Motors. He speedily worked his way to avoid it of the mailroom, nonetheless, and right before he turned 30 he was the vice president of a Packard dealership in Indianapolis. There, he befriended racecar designer Henry Miller, and both guys discussed developing a really great automobile often. They teamed around develop racecars for Ford in the 1930s, however when the United States entered World War II, Tucker turned his interest to the war work. He invented and manufactured a gun turret for Navy ships.
As soon because the war ended, so even, Tucker was prepared to start production by himself type of cars-cars that, instead of the recycled 1942 models that a lot of auto businesses have been turning out, were new totally. With their low-slung, aerodynamic teardrop shape, Tucker cars appeared as if absolutely nothing anybody had ever seen. (“It looks,” wrote a definite reporter, “like it’s doing 90 even when it’s standing still.”) They drove this way, also: Their rear-mounted engines were modified helicopter engines, plus they had disc brakes, fuel injection, specialized transmissions, and a third “Cyclops” headlight that has been linked to the tyre and swiveled with the car’s wheels. Ahead-of-their-time security features abounded: padded dashboards, “pop-out” security glass windshields and a reinforced carbon frame. (The vehicle was even likely to have seatbelts, until among Tucker’s assistants convinced him they would make the auto look less sturdy and considerably less safe than it had been.)
To build this remarkable “Tucker Torpedo,” the carmaker leased a vintage Dodge plant near Chicago from the federal War Assets Administration, which have been creating B-29 bombers there. While they waited for the WAA to drive out, Tucker and his team hand-built 50 prototype vehicles yourself. (The 1st one, known as the “Tin Goose,” was hammered out of sheet steel because engineers cannot discover adequate clay for a full-scale mockup.) Meanwhile, because the firm was virtually broke, they solicited investors any real way they might. First, they sold dealer franchises they sold stock to the general public then they began to sell automobile accessories like radios and seat covers, all right before the Torpedo had hit the assembly line.
This was apparently the final straw for the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which launched a study in May 1948. The federal government’s argument was that Tucker never planned to create any cars-according to the type of reasoning, he would bilk his investors and walk out organization just. As this is patently false, prosecutors struggled to convince the jury the truth is, the accusations have been so specious that Tucker’s lawyer didn’t even bother to mount a defense. Tucker was acquitted in January 1950, however the harm was currently completed: Tucker lost all his investors, had to fire most of his workers, rather than constructed another Torpedo.
In 1988, director Francis Ford Coppola made a biographical movie called “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” It received a great deal of vital praise, but-perhaps like Tucker’s cars-never genuinely located its audience, and the studio finished up losing income on the film.