Preston Tucker was a man with a dream, a revolutionary. Some even have considered him an eccentric ahead of his time, with wild ideas that may have seemed farfetched to many, but make perfect sense today. In the 1940s, a car with disc brakes, air conditioning, a rear-mounted engine, fuel injection, seat belts, and a pop-out windshield seemed like something out of the future, but not to Tucker.
Unfortunately, Preston was ultimately crushed by the SEC and the Big Three leading to him having to shut his company down. But not before Tucker built a total of 51 cars (not counting prototypes or development vehicles), and leaving his mark on the world.
That mark would be he Tucker 48, originally known as the Tucker Torpedo. A car that would go on to become one of the ultimate collector cars, one fetching as much as $2.915M at a recent auction making it a car for only the rich and the elite to obtain.
Not anymore however; leave it to the hot rodding community to rebirth a legend and take it to the next level, with everything Preston Tucker wanted and more. Enter Bob Ida Concepts and their rendition of the Tucker 48. Bob is a third generation gearhead whose grandpa, Joe Ida, owned one of the Tucker dealerships in 1948 before the company went bust.
Joe never received any of the cars, and for the rest of his life he would go on to regret not buying one of the 51 that sold at auction shortly after the company had shuttered. So in honor of Joe, his grandson Rob and son Bob are building new Tucker 48’s from scratch, not as a kit car or a “cheap knockoff,” but as a continuation of the originals.
The Ida’s have even gone as far as incorporating a transverse, mid-engine layout, 4-wheel disc brakes, and climate control to their recreation of the fabled automobile, and like Tucker, will create a total of 51 copies for clients. But Rob Ida Concepts isn’t stopping there. They’re currently working on recreating the original Torpedo Concept that Preston had drawn up on his kitchen table.
The car had all of the features the production 48 had, but with a lower roofline, more futuristic styling, all-wheel drive, fuel injection and of course, the center-mounted third headlight that turns with the steering wheel.
Using only their ingenuity and a lot of time, they’re going to build a complete, running car based off the few images and clay model crafted from Tucker’s original design team. It will make a fine tribute, not only to the late Joe Ida, but to the man himself in whom he can finally see his dream come to reality.