Mar 11 2017

The Dream of the Tucker Torpedo Concept Car Is Becoming A Reality

The Tucker Torpedo was the original concept car that Preston Tucker used to excite the public with a "real car of the future". Although designer George Lawson provided a series of drawings and a 1:4 plaster scale model in 1946, a full scale-model prototype was never built...until this year.

Last week, I visited Ida Automotive in Morganville, New Jersey, where after 70 years, a full-size Tucker Torpedo concept car is being built by the Ida family with the assist of Sean Tucker, the great-grandson of Preston Tucker.

Here is the amazing story of the Tucker Torpedo.


Howard Kroplick


George Larson designed the Tucker Torpedo in 1946 and created this 1/4 scale plaster model. In December 1946, Larson had a falling out with Preston Tucker and Alex Tremulis went on to design the Tucker '48 utilizing some of the features from Larson's Tucker Torpedo.

The model was stored for decades in the Lawson family barn until it was acquired by the Petersen Museum located in Los Angeles.

A comparison of the designs for the Tucker Torpedo (above) and the Tucker '48.

Preston Tucker used Larson's drawings and 1/4 scale model to promote his future car. Source:  Science Illustrated, December 1946

Source: Pic Magazine, January 1946

Photos of Larson model were retouched and placed in realistic settings to look like a full-sized automobile in magazine articles and ads. Source: Popular Mechanics, November 1946

Popular Mechanics noted that the Tucker Torpedo's center driving seat design and rear-engine could go into production in 1948 but warned about  "obstacles."

Sean Tucker's great- grandfather Preston Tucker with a drawing of the Tucker Torpedo.

Joe Ida, Rob's grandfather and Bob's father, purchased a Tucker dealership in Yonkers. Although collecting deposits on 130 Tuckers in only three days, Ida’s dealership closed when the Tucker Corporation was closed down

When one of Ida Automotive's customers approached Rob to finally build the Tucker Torpedo, the Ida family, with an assist from Sean Tucker, an automotive engineer, teamed up to create the concept car from scratch. The Petersen Museum provided the model and a full-scale 3-D computer-aided design was created.  Sean Tucker (left) and John Tucker, Jr. (right).

The Tucker Torpedo Concept Show Car

After several years, the Tucker Torpedo is expected to be completed in 2017.

Sean Tucker (left) and Bob Ida (right)

Rob Ida

Sean and Rob with a Tucker Torpedo blueprint.

I proudly posed with the Tucker Torpedo team in my Tucker shirt.

Links to Information on the Tucker Torpedo Project

Steve Tremulis' Gyronaut X-1 Website

Hemmings Classic Car


Mar 11 2017 Steve vilardi 11:59 PM

Whatever happened to the tucker convertible that was being built from spare parts?

Howard Kroplick

The Tucker Convertible has been a hot topic in Tucker circles over the last few years:

Mar 12 2017 Rich 12:56 PM

...a little bit James Bond… a little bit NYC 50’s taxi… a little bit Art Deco… a little bit Grandmas’s shiny, new Olds in her Brooklyn driveway… and, Voila!

Mar 12 2017 Ted 2:58 PM

Another great film,what a history behind this and you are part of it,what’s going to be next for you,you’ll never know until it happens,something will come along and you’ll make history again,it’s never ending with you,is it?,you’re a magnet for making history

Mar 16 2017 Ron Troy 10:13 PM

I’d love to know about the planned drivetrain and how it matches up to original plans.  Air cooled?  Front or rear engine?  Trannie?  Modern disc brakes?  Etc.
Howard Kroplick

Ron, good suggestion. I will cover it in a future post.

Mar 23 2017 Deborah Pesa 6:13 PM

Not directly about the car, but of interest to those who want to know more about the history of the company. I just started transcribing records in the National Archives as a way of keeping busy. Currently, I’m working on the documents from the Tucker Motors hearing with the SEC in 1949. Fascinating stuff. Just to let you know that this record is available at the Archives (or will be once we finish transcribing it, I’m not sure).
Howard Kroplick

Deborah, thanks! Let us know when they become available.

Apr 09 2017 Deborah Pesa 6:50 PM

The 1948 Report of the SEC Investigation into Tucker Corporation is available in the National Archives at this link
Howard Kroplick
Deborah, thanks for the link!

Jan 19 2020 Brian D McCarthy 3:08 PM

After some reading about Preston Tucker, this man was a dynamo! He was true to his convictions, and outside forces couldn’t break him. Lung Cancer is shown as his cause of death, but he was still young in his early 50’s. There must have been other contributing factors.

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