Slogan: Symbol of Safety
Not every, even the most ardent, motorist knows the name of Preston Thomas Tucker (Preston Thomas Tucker). But this man managed, at one time, to create something unique that promised to become a real revolution in the automotive industry.
These events took place immediately after the end of World War II. The United States began to return to civilian life, and consequently, cars for the civilian population began to be produced again. Leading companies of the country (namely Ford, General Motors и Chrysler) quickly launched the production of new models, which, in essence, were only slightly improved pre-war ones. And then, in 1946, a real diamond appears - a prototype car, called Tucker Torpedo. It was created, founded in the same year, by the company Tucker Corporation, founded by Tucker - a man fanatically devoted to cars.
Everything about this car was unique. And innovative design; and an additional middle headlight that turns with the wheels and illuminates the road in the right direction when turning; and the location of the driver's seat in the middle ... Headlights, by the way, turned on automatically when darkness fell. In motion Torpedo powered by a powerful helicopter engine, and safety was guaranteed by a specially designed frame. A full description of all the innovations proposed by Tucker would require a long article, replete with technical terms. The car was decades ahead of its time.
In the course of refinement, Torpedo was somewhat simplified and adapted for serial production. However, the car did not lose its uniqueness from this.
Unfortunately, on Torpedo everything ended. The largest US automakers were not only stunned by the appearance of such a bright competitor, but also thoroughly scared. The cars they produced, against the background of the novelty, looked, frankly, like real tin cans on wheels. The upstart competitor needed to be removed at any cost. Producers acted quite brazenly and decisively, using the "services" of government organizations. Tucker was accused of all sorts of sins, including fraud. The litigation went on for several years. As a result, the talented inventor was acquitted, only these few years of downtime, the outflow of shareholders and endless litigation ruined the young company. A few years later, after the acquittal, Tucker died. Tucker Corporation not much outlived its founder - in 1963 the company was finally liquidated. A total of 51 were released. Torpedo. To this day, 47 cars have survived, representing a collection value - their auction value exceeds a million dollars apiece.
On paper, there were a couple more projects - a sports car Talisman and coupe carioca. I wonder how innovative these cars would be if they were implemented.
More information and photos can be found at Automotive History Online.
In Stephen King's book Needful Things, the main villain, Mr. Gaunt, traveled precisely on Tucker Talisman, which was allegedly built in a single copy, especially for him. Well, a colorful villain - a special car. Or rather, a really special car.