Jul 03 2017

Mystery Foto #26 Solved: The Two-Tone Tucker 1046 in 1956 at Sebring, Florida

My favorite assistant John Cuocco discovered this vintage image of an unusual two-tone Tucker.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify the chassis # of this Tucker.

Tucker 1046 This Tucker '48 was one of the Tuckers owned by Nick Jenin in the 1950s. Jenin fitted #1046 replaced the rear-engine Franklin engine with a front-mounted Oldsmobile drivetrain. In the 1960s the engine was converted to 1964 Mercury chassis with 390 CID front engine. Recently, #1046 was completely restored by Tucker expert Mark Lieberman.

Frank C. provided this profile of Nick Jenin on Jalopyjournal.com in 2011.

Nick R. Jenin, who without a doubt was the biggest Tucker fan ever, passed away 33 years ago on this date in 1978. Jenin is said to have owned 10 Tuckers at one time. Although we have never determined exactly which cars he owned, or if there was truly ten cars, there are several Tuckers which were definately owned by Jenin including a chassis and firewall numbered #57. Jenin certainly owned more Tuckers in his life than anyone else ever has.
He was born in Baltimore, MD on Sep 2, 1905 and died Feb 13, 1978. Nikola Janjanin became Nick Jenin and began a career as a race car driver. In 1946, Nick Jenin along with his brother Pete, took over ownership of Chicago’s Raceway Park, a ¼ mile stock car track, located on 130th St. and Ashland Ave. in Chicago. Nick and Anne (b. 10/9/1914, d. 12/5/1976) Jenin purchased a home in the Lauder Del Mar subdivision of the City of Fort Lauderdale in 1948 converting it to a B&B under the banner The Pillars by the Sea Hotel and Pool, 111 N. Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. They have a daughter Sandra Jenin who was born in 1943.
I understand he may have owned a hotel in the Detroit area as well as other property. He also rented space under the Michigan State Fairgrounds for many years in the late 50s until the mid 60s to store his car collection. He and his family traveled to England in 1953 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on the USS United States. On the trip with him were Walter Cronkite and Jackie Bouvier who later that year married Jack Kennedy and went on to become First Lady.
Jenin traveled the country with his Fabulous Tuckers show in the late 50s and early 60s. His collection of cars and memorabilia was second to none. By 1964 his interest in the cars began to fade and he put the collection up for sale. He offered the collection "complete", all 10 cars for $38,000. He could not find any buyers. The famed Harrah's collection in Reno thought it was, "far too much for a bunch of cars that will never amount to anything". He finally sold the cars off one by one selling his final car, #1026, along with some other Tucker items in 1974.
For those of us who live, breathe, and sleep Tucker he will always be an amazing person to study. Without the efforts of Nick Jenin there might be a lot less Tuckers around for us to enjoy today.

  • When and in what state was this photo taken?

According to Steve Tremulis, the nephew of Tucker designer Alex Tremulis, the photo was taken March 24, 1956 at Sebring, Florida. This is the car that was reportedly driven by Alfonso de Portago down the backstretch and timed at 131.8 miles per hour. Nick Jenin also confirmed the reports several years later.

  • Was this automobile a Tucker Torpedo?

Like all 50 Tucker pilot production automobiles, #1044 was a Tucker '48 not a Tucker Torpedo The Torpedo was the Tucker prototype that was never built... until this year.

  • Bonus questions: Identify one or more of the car badges

The car badges likely represented various clubs associated with then owner Nick Jenin.

Comments (9)

Congrats to Tucker experts Martyn Donaldson, Mark Lieberman and Steve Tremulis for identifying #1046. Kudos to Hugh, Mark Lieberman and Steve Tremulis for identifying the 1956 Sebring location.

Happy 4th of July!


Howard Kroplick

Then 1956: Tucker '48 #1046

Trailers for Nick Jenin's "Fabulous Tuckers" exhibit.

Then 2007: Tucker '48 #1046

#1046 with a 1964 Mercury chassis witha 390 CID front engine.

Today: Tucker '48 #1046

Tucker 1046 is currently for sale.

Details on Tucker 1046 by Mark Lieberman, who restored it.


Jun 30 2017 Martyn Donaldson 4:29 PM

Tucker #1046.
March 1956, Sebring, Fla.
Tucker ‘48 Sedan… The “Torpedo” name was added by the owner at the time, Nick Jenin of Ft. Lauderdale. The car is now fully restored and resides here in CA.
The “F” badge is Florida, but no idea on the others.. possibly car club emblems or travel related (Jenin owned a resort hotel in Ft. Lauderdale and also ran the Blue Island, Illinois Raceway with his brother at one time).

Jul 01 2017 frank femenias 10:01 PM

This is a Tucker Torpedo. I dont know the difference between regular Tucker and the Torpedo The location is in Florida, based on same plates parked in same lot. 1950s. A two tone Tucker…..Hmmm. Could be an attempt to next generation Tuckers? Waiting to find out….

Jul 02 2017 Steve Lucas 10:24 PM

Looks like a 1958 Florida license plate so let’s assume 1958 and Florida as date and place. The plate number begins with “10” which at the time indicates Broward County where Ft. Lauderdale is. The owner of the Ft. Lauderdale Fairgrounds was a Nick Jenin who also owned 10 Tuckers and other Tucker parts and pieces in the 1950’s. Although “Tucker Torpedo” is on the rear bumper, that reference was only for early design and promotional use and not production so I’m thinking that Jenin built a Tucker from parts and painted it to suit his own preference. Chassis number may be unknown. Mostly all guesswork but that’s all I’ve got. As to the badges - no clue.

Jul 02 2017 Chuck Rudy 10:51 PM

I got not much more than this photo of Tucker #1043.


Jul 02 2017 Chuck R 11:02 PM

Ah….I see one is a trick question. 

“The car is called the “Tucker ’48” (for its model year). It was only called the “Tucker Torpedo” as it was being designed and promoted. Therefore no Tucker Torpedos were ever built.”

I’m looking through the gallery and I don’t see a tutone.  So I’ll stick with my last chassis #.


Jul 03 2017 Hugh 12:11 AM

This photo of the Tucker was taken in 1956 in Florida. Might be at Sebring. It has the F oval plate indicating it could be owned by a French National maybe from Palm Beach.

Jul 03 2017 frank femenias 7:18 PM

Tucker Torpedo (only 50 made). The photo was taken in Florida, there is more than one FL plate parked in the lot. Appears to be around the ‘50s but the photo quality is too good. This may be a more recent auto show.

Jul 03 2017 Howard Kroplick 10:06 PM

From Mark Lieberman:

The car is #1046
The picture was taken at Sebring in 1956.
The car is the Tucker ‘48 not the Torpedo.

Jul 03 2017 Howard Kroplick 10:13 PM

From Steve Tremulis:
I’m pretty sure this is car #1046 taken on March 24, 1956 at Sebring. This is the car that was reportedly driven by Alfonso de Portago down the backstretch and timed at 131.8 miles per hour. Nick Jenin also confirmed the reports several years later. It’s also the car that eventually got the partial chassis swap for an Olds V8 in the front.

Jul 04 2017 Ted 11:54 AM


Oct 26 2018 Luckey Dodge 2:46 PM

I knew Nick Jenin and his daughter Sandy.  If she is in South USA, please have someone contact me.  I never got to see his Tuckers, but Sandy offered me a chance to do so.  I joined the USAF soon after and never got that chance.



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