Issue: Jan 2010


"The Most Important American Car,"a 1948 Tucker 48 Convertible, Crosses the Russo and Steele Auction



by Steve Barclay

One of the nation’s premier collector car auctions, Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auctions, will auction off the only Tucker Convertible ever made. Specializing in European sports cars, American muscle cars, hot rods and customs Russo and Steele's All Reserve format has continued to attract automobiles of the highest caliber. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this January 20-24, 2010 it held its first auction event in January 2001 with only 45 automobiles; today it offers over 600 of the finest automobiles in Scottsdale over a five day span.

This is THE Tucker Convertible, the one and the only. This is, for all intents and purposes, a newly finished Tucker 48, completed upon the specially box-wrapped ovular body/frame #57 from the Tucker Experimental Department. Only by seeing it in person can you fully realize how perfectly this car fits into Preston Tucker's original dreams for the Great American automobile and what a piece of automotive art that stands before you. The Tucker 48 Convertible is painted Waltz Blue, a color said to come from Mrs. Vera Tucker's favorite dress. The light tan of the interior and convertible top are as if they've just rolled off the line in Chicago. The fit and look of the convertible top are astounding. The chrome...well, the chrome is perfect, from that massive prow to the six individual tips on the exhaust. Out front, you'll find a Tucker hallmark, the center headlamp that turns with the steering wheel. And, this one works! Out back is the Tucker-specific, water-cooled, 335 c.i. Franklin flat six engine, putting out 166 horsepower and, astounding for the era, 377 ft lbs of torque. The original Cord-sourced pre-selector gearbox is perfectly calibrated. It all sits on four of the very rare Kelsey-Hayes Tucker wheels. Inside, are more of the "safety car" innovations Preston Tucker devised plus a couple of examples of Tucker's well-known skills of parts sourcing. The correct Tucker steering wheel contains a modified Lincoln horn ring (nothing too odd there) and a center hub crest that uses Mills jukebox parts. You'll find the famous vertical factory Tucker AM radio, just to the right of the steering wheel. The car is in "As New" condition; there is less than two original miles on the car. The paintwork is lovely and the panel fit exceeds new Tucker standards. The car’s brightwork, interior and detailing are also beyond factory new. The underbody is clean and detailed. The engine compartment presents the outstanding mechanicals beautifully. The correct tan interior is of excellent quality and new throughout. The matching canvas top is beyond reproach. At the risk of repetition, this is, for all intents and purposes, a newly completed Tucker 48.

To top it all off, the Tucker Convertible has been authenticated (See Affidavit) by one of the classic car industry's most legendary figures, Al Prueitt. Mr. Prueitt, founder of Prueitt and Son's Restorations has been heavily involved in the classic car industry for over fifty years. He founded Al Prueitt and Sons Restorations over thirty years ago. Over the years, Al Prueitt and Sons has enjoyed a reputation for fine work, integrity, and dependability, with over 100 national awards from such clubs as the AACA, CCCA, and the RROC. Al is also one of a select few who have received a lifetime achievement award from the CCCA. The Russo and Steele Tucker 48 Convertible from Benchmark Classics has never-before been available. Both the car and its auction are, in a dictionary sense, unique. This is a moment of real history. And this is a car that lives up to the legend. This is the most significant of ALL Tucker automobiles, THE Tucker 48 Convertible. There were only 51 Tucker sedans; they remain among the most desirable and valuable of all American automobiles. There is only one Tucker convertible. Recap • Less than two original test miles, zero owners, never titled • Correct rear mounted aircraft derived Franklin-Tucker flat 6 engine • Correct Cord "Invisible Hand" semi-automatic transmission • Unique box-wrapped ovular frame engineered exclusively for the Tucker Convertible • The famous experimental car #57 • The only convertible out of 52 Tuckers ever produced • Authenticated by classic car expert Al Prueitt (See Affidavit) The Tucker will be sold on Bill of Sale making the purchaser the original owner of this true piece of automotive history.

The tenth anniversary celebration will be held at Russo and Steele’s traditional auction site located at the intersection of the loop 101 freeway and North Scottsdale Road. In honor of this momentous occasion, Russo and Steele is inviting everyone out whether you are a bidder, consignor or fellow enthusiasts for what is going to be the biggest celebration in Scottsdale this January 20-24, 2010. Check the Russo and Steele website for updates and additional information.

About Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auctions Russo and Steele Collector Automobiles is one of the nation’s premier collector car auctions; specializing in the world’s finest European sports cars, American muscle cars, hot rods and customs. Its two auctions each year attract clients all over the globe not only because of its reputation for stellar collector automobiles, but also unique auction experiences unattainable at any other collector car auction in the world. Its auction events take place with its signature auction in Scottsdale, Arizona every January, and Monterey, California in August. Additional information please visit www.russoandsteele.com or call 602.252.2697.

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