The Tucker Torpedo To Be Finally Built After 70 Years

The Tucker 48 is one of the most collectible vintage vehicles of all time. A mere 51 one of them were hand built, each just a little different from the last. Each car was essentially a prototype allowing Preston Tucker and his team to try out new ideas; some of which were kept and many were discarded. An incredibly innovative car for its time, the Tucker 48 was truly a car from the future. Preston Tucker sought to leap the automotive industry into the future after World War II. A center mounted “Cyclops Eye” headlight followed the road as the steering wheel turned, the windshield was made from shatter proof glass and was designed to pop out in a collision and if the passengers had enough time before an accident, they could shelter themselves in the “crash chamber” just below the dash.

Preston Tucker was a visionary who wanted to build a car for safety and had many innovations with modern styling. Tucker’s prototype before the 48 was named Torpedo. Consisting of a ¼ scale model and hand drawn renderings, the Tucker Torpedo was never actually built.

Bob Ida and his son, Rob Ida are the grandson and great-grandson of Joe Ida, who owned a Tucker Dealership for a very short period before the demise of the automotive manufacturer. Bob and Rob have decided to build a full size version of the Torpedo. Having the scale model and renderings to work from, they are putting their automotive skills to the test. The Idas own a custom car shop and have previously rebuilt one of the few Tucker 48s.

A complete 3D scan was done of the ¼ scale Torpedo model, allowing the Idas to CNC cut wood pieces that match every contour and edge of the Torpedo design. The wood components were assembled in the proper orders, allowing the duo to hand shape sheetmetal to the right specifications.  We shape each piece of metal using old-world techniques,” Says Rod Ida. “English wheel and hammers.” Sean Tucker, the great-grandson of Preston, is even lending a hand.

Currently there is no timeline on when the vehicle will be fully operational. Bob and Rob have quite a challenge before them considering they intend on following the original guidelines and vintage building techniques to complete the car.

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About the author

Jake Headlee

Jake's passion started at a young age wrenching on cars with his Dad. Obtaining that glorious driver's license sparked his obsession with grease and horsepower, and the rest is history. Soon, he was a general mechanic and suspension specialist, and currently designs and modifies products for the off-road industry. Jake enjoys rock crawling, desert racing and trail running, and writing in his spare time.
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