For many, the Tucker 48 remains a rolling symbol of the American dream and one of the most advanced early post-war automobiles. Eventually, 51 examples of the Tucker 48 were assembled, and of those were the original “Tin Goose” prototype and 50 pilot-production cars. Tucker left behind several automobiles that had been partially but not fully completed. These included car no. 1052, the chassis, firewall, and suspension of which were accounted on March 3, 1949, as awaiting final assembly; according to Tucker historian, Jay Follis, this had been the test chassis for the Tuckermatic automatic transmission, making it an interesting and historically significant part of the Tucker story. The chassis had been test-driven at the factory, a testament to the relative intactness of the car at the time of the Tucker Corporation’s failure.
When that finally happened, car no. 1052 was sold at the Tucker bankruptcy auction in 1950 to Ezra Schlipf, who, in the goal of completing the car, gathered several other components, such as the undamaged front end sheet metal from car no. 1018; “New Old Stock” bumpers, front doors, quarter panels, and decklid; and an original, correct engine and transmission. Schlipf passed the project among several enthusiasts who intended to complete it; it was at one point owned by Tucker Automobile Club of America co-founder and well-known restorer, Stan Gilliland, and subsequently by the famous Michigan collectors Richard and Linda Kughn. Subsequently car no. 1052 was acquired by its current owner from a museum in Illinois, which had intended to use it to replicate the Tucker assembly line for an exhibit.
In addition, after decades of restorations, the supply of original major Tucker components has finally more or less dried up, making a replication of the effort here virtually impossible. The result is that, of the numerous Tuckers that remained incomplete when the factory closed its doors, chassis no. 1052 will likely be the last to be completed – making it the last realization of Preston Tucker’s ill-starred dream. The car will be offered at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale Sale on Saturday, April 2, 2016, and is estimated to fetch $950,000 – $1,250,000.