Thursday 3rd March 1949
The post-war car market was so strong in the United States that a number of bold entrepreneurs formed independent car companies to challenge the established Big Three. Arguably the most remarkable such independent was the Tucker Corporation, founded by Preston “P.T.” Tucker. Tucker, a gifted marketer and innovator, created a phenomenon felt through the automotive industry when he released his car, the Tucker. Along with the cars, Preston Tucker sent a magazine called “Tucker Topics” along to dealers, hoping to increase the salesmen’s enthusiasm for his automobile. The Tucker was equipped with a number of novel features. It had six exhaust pipes, a third headlight that rotated with the axle, and a “bomb shelter” in the backseat. Beyond the frills though, the Tucker packed a powerful punch, making zero to sixty in ten seconds and reaching a top speed of 120 mph. Great anticipation surrounded the awaited release of the Tucker, but in 1949, before his cars could reach their market, the Securities and Exchange Commission indicted Preston Tucker on thirty-one counts of investment fraud. Tucker had only produced fifty-one cars. On this day in 1949, the Tucker Corporation went into receivership and the Tucker automobile became merely a historical footnote.