The Tucker Torpedo was the original concept car that Preston Tucker used to excite the public with a "real car of the future". Although designer George Lawson provided a series of drawings and a 1:4 plaster scale model in 1946, a full scale-model prototype was never built...until this year.
Last week, I visited Ida Automotive in Morganville, New Jersey, where after 70 years, a full-size Tucker Torpedo concept car is being built by the Ida family with the assist of Sean Tucker, the great-grandson of Preston Tucker.
Here is the amazing story of the Tucker Torpedo.
George Larson designed the Tucker Torpedo in 1946 and created this 1/4 scale plaster model. In December 1946, Larson had a falling out with Preston Tucker and Alex Tremulis went on to design the Tucker '48 utilizing some of the features from Larson's Tucker Torpedo.
The model was stored for decades in the Lawson family barn until it was acquired by the Petersen Museum located in Los Angeles.
A comparison of the designs for the Tucker Torpedo (above) and the Tucker '48.
Preston Tucker used Larson's drawings and 1/4 scale model to promote his future car. Source: Science Illustrated, December 1946
Source: Pic Magazine, January 1946
Photos of Larson model were retouched and placed in realistic settings to look like a full-sized automobile in magazine articles and ads. Source: Popular Mechanics, November 1946
Popular Mechanics noted that the Tucker Torpedo's center driving seat design and rear-engine could go into production in 1948 but warned about "obstacles."
Sean Tucker's great- grandfather Preston Tucker with a drawing of the Tucker Torpedo.
Joe Ida, Rob's grandfather and Bob's father, purchased a Tucker dealership in Yonkers. Although collecting deposits on 130 Tuckers in only three days, Ida’s dealership closed when the Tucker Corporation was closed down
When one of Ida Automotive's customers approached Rob to finally build the Tucker Torpedo, the Ida family, with an assist from Sean Tucker, an automotive engineer, teamed up to create the concept car from scratch. The Petersen Museum provided the model and a full-scale 3-D computer-aided design was created. Sean Tucker (left) and Rob Ida (right).
The Tucker Torpedo Concept Show Car
After several years, the Tucker Torpedo is expected to be completed in 2017.
Sean Tucker (left) and Bob Ida (right)
Sean and Rob with a Tucker Torpedo blueprint.
I proudly posed with the Tucker Torpedo team in my Tucker shirt.