Most, if not all, know the story of the 1948 Tucker sedan. Yes, there was a movie, and it's well worth watching. But even if you've never seen or heard of a the machine, one look at Preston Tucker's Torpedo is all it takes for you to realize it's something special.
Just 51 Tucker Torpedo sedans were built before the company went out of business. Those were 51 special machines, though, with a rear engine (like the iconic Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 911), disc brakes and fuel injection – a combination practically unheard of at the time.
Perhaps it's the so-called Cyclops Eye, though, that is most interesting about the Tucker Torpedo. This third headlight moves with the car's steering wheel, helping the driver see around turns. Such technology may not be uncommon today, but in 1948, it was revolutionary.
The final bid came in at an impressive $2,650,000. That means the new owner will pay $2,915,000 to drive this Tucker home. Check out our high-res image gallery of live photos from the 2012 Barrett-Jackson auction, and watch a video of the auction or read more about the car after the break.
Related Gallery1948 Tucker Torpedo: Barrett-Jackson 2012
Summary: The 1948 Tucker sedan was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in '48. Only 51 examples were made. This example is professionally and correctly restored to show specifications. From the Ron Pratte Collection.
Details: The 1948 Tucker sedan was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948. Only 51 examples were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949. Studebaker was first with an all-new post-war model. But Tucker took a different tack, designing a safety car with innovative features and modern styling. His specifications called for a rear engine like Porsche, disc brakes, fuel injection and a padded dashboard. The final car was only 60 inches (1524 mm) tall, but was very roomy inside. It featured a directional third headlight, dubbed the "Cyclops Eye," for use in turns. It lit up whenever the car was steered by more than 10 degrees. The body design came from Alex Tremulis and was called the most aerodynamic in the world. Although it still sported pre-war type fenders, it was startlingly modern. Mathematically-computed drag coefficient was only 0.27, though this was 'rounded up' publicly to 0.30. Today, the '48 Sedan has fame far greater than would be expected from its modest production run. Of the 51 cars built (50 production and 1 prototype), 47 still exist, the majority in excellent condition. This particular example is professionally and correctly restored to show specifications. From the Ron Pratte Collection. **CHASSIS NUMBER 1043 - ENGINE NUMBER 33550**