Tuesday 21st March 1950
Preston Tucker filed suit against his former prosecutors. Tucker looked to capitalize on the high demand that the postwar conditions offered and intended to meet the new demand with a revolutionary automobile design. His 1945 plans called for an automobile that would be equipped with a rear-mounted engine as powerful as an aircraft engine, an hydraulic torque converter that would eliminate the necessity of a transmission, two revolving headlights at either side of the car’s fender along with one stationary “cyclops” headlight in the middle, and a steering wheel placed in the center of the car and flanked by two passenger seats. In the end, only 51 Tuckers were produced, and none of them were equipped with the features Tucker had initially advertised. Still, loyal fans of Tucker claim that Tucker was the victim of industrial sabotage carried out by the Big Three. The Securities and Exchange Commission indicted Tucker before he could begin to mass-produce his automobiles. He was eventually acquitted of all charges. Emboldened by his acquittal, Tucker filed suit against his prosecutors. Historians who argue against the conspiracy theory maintain that post-war manufacturing conditions left small manufacturers little room for success. They suggest that, if anything, Tucker’s acquittal was merciful. Tucker failed to meet the requirements for capital and production capability that his project demanded. After raising almost $15 million from stockholders, Tucker defaulted on federal deadlines for the production of car prototypes. When he finally did produce the cars, none of them were equipped with the technological breakthroughs he promised. Still, the Tucker was a remarkable car for its price tag.