The Tucker Tiger: The Greatest Combat Vehicle We Never Built
Since the first Tin Lizzy rolled off Ford’s assembly line in Detroit, no car or car maker has embodied the American spirit more than Preston Tucker…
Crafted in a Chicago auto plant in one year, the 51 Tucker Torpedos (or Tucker 48s) contained innovations never seen before : a third headlight that turned in sync with the steering wheel, a rear engine, a crash-protecting frame, a roll bar, shatterproof glass, and more.
The Tucker Torpedo’s V-6 engine produced 200 hp while idling at 100 rpm. In an effort to make engine maintenance painless, Tucker designed the car so the entire drive-train, engine and all, could be removed by loosening only six bolts.
Besides all that, it was and is an utterly beautiful car.
Before the Tucker Torpedo, however, there was the Tucker Tiger…
In the 1930s, Preston Tucker had earned a sizable nest egg refurbishing and selling automobiles, including Indiana’s own Studebaker. For him, the American auto wasn’t a tool but a timeless balance of engineering and aesthetics.
Obsessed with improving American auto design, Preston Tucker began visiting Indianapolis every month. When it came to car performance, no city held more accumulated knowledge and experience than the home of the Indianapolis 500. His engineering talents, boundless curiosity and affability made Preston Tucker a well-loved and familiar figure in Indy 500 circles.
With World War II looming on the horizon, Preston Tucker focused on creating a new kind of combat vehicle. Conceived as he recovered from minor surgery in an Indianapolis hospital, the Tucker Tiger Combat Car was light years ahead of any competing combat vehicle.