At this point, all Tuckers can safely be considered unique or novel; only 51 were ever made during the company's short lifespan, after all, and just 47 remain. But this one's got serious pedigree: It featured in the company's promotional film "The Tucker: The Man and the Car," part one of which is embedded below, and it was the family car driven by Preston Tucker himself for seven years until he sold it to the future governor of Arkansas, a Rockefeller.
Tucker 48, Chassis No. 1029 and originally painted in 500 Grey, also made a cameo in the 1988 Francis Ford Coppola film "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," starring Jeff Bridges, and it underwent high-speed testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It'll go on auction next month in Phoenix at RM Sotheby's, where it will be offered without reserve but is expected to be sold for between $1.25 million and $1.5 million.
The fastback sedan has sat in private ownership since 2004 and has reportedly racked up just 19,199 miles. It was reupholstered and repainted when it was owned by Jack Bart, the talent agent who represented James Brown, sometime during his ownership of it during the '70s and '80s, but is otherwise considered intact, original and well cared-for. Tucker himself sold the car a year before his death in 1955 to Winthrop Rockefeller, the grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller who would serve as Arkansas governor from 1967 to 1971. It also briefly exhibited in the Blackhawk Museum in California.
"It is, in every way, the ultimate Tucker automobile," RM Sotheby's writes.
As for the car itself, it featured a rear-mounted, water-cooled aluminum-block engine with horizontally opposed six-cylinder that made 168 horsepower and 372 pound-feet of torque and mated to a four-speed manual, electronic pre-select transmission that drove the rear wheels. It introduced innovations including a perimeter frame and an integrated roof roll bar to protect against crashes, a shatterproof glass windshield and an easily removable drivetrain. Not to mention that Cyclops Eye, the third headlight that moves with the car's steering wheel to help the driver see around turns.
Chassis No. 1043 sold five years ago at a Barrett Jackson auction for $2.9 million. The Arizona auction takes place Jan. 18 and 19.