Preston Tucker, the renegade hot-rodder, car designer, and principle behind the eponymously named Tucker Corporation, engineered and built the Tucker Model 48 - or "Torpedo" as it was known - before coming to an ignominious end after a mere 50 versions were produced. The car was a radical design departure compared to contemporary offerings with a host of modern innovations that sent shockwaves through the car industry. And this was also one of the reasons for its premature demise. There are still rumblings of conspiracy between Michigan U.S. Senator Homer Ferguson and the "Big Three" to bury the young upstart. And bury him they did.
The Torpedo commands millions on the market today, and they don't come up for sale often. Rob Ida is a custom fabricator, designing and building some of the hottest rides in the U.S. Through his connection with the Tucker brand - his father briefly had a Tucker dealership in New York City and he's friends with Preston's grandsons - he decided to pay homage to the historic Type 48. The present example on display at SEMA is Ida's fourth Tucker build. My, ain't she pretty!
The body stays true to the original with a only few dimensional changes to the hood. It's done in fiberglass with sheetmetal doors, hood, and interior pieces. Modern design elements and safety features are integrated into the car invisibly. The only stock Tucker components are the lower front grille and a couple pieces of dash trim. It's remarkable the level of detail on this thing. I don't think even Tucker would be able to tell his original apart from Ida's faithful recreation unless they were side by side. It's that good.
Many of the underhood components came out of a 1995 Cadillac donor car. Motivating the Ida-reimagined Tucker is a Northstar engine with a duo of Garrett turbochargers, which is considerably more powerful than the flat-6 helicopter motor found in the stock model. He also used the Caddy 4L60 4-speed automatic transmission but moved it and the motor forward of the rear axle for better overall handling and weight distribution in an effort to cure the common complaints of the car.
The Cadillac also gave up its front and rear suspension, which was grafted onto an Art Morrison front end. RideTech AirRide components get the ride and stance just right with Cadillac discs all around. There's even a Tesla electronic parking brake in there. Rob clearly has a love for both his work and the car and it shows. Unfortunately, it's already sold but I'm sure he'd build you one if you asked. Check him out at SEMA below. Buckle up.
(via Hot Rod)