The Tucker ’48 automobile has the distinction of being both a rare car and an infamous one with a notorious backstory. Known as the “Tucker Torpedo,” The Tucker ’48 is named for both its maker (automobile manufacturer Preston Tucker) and its model year (1948). Preston Tucker only managed to produce 51 of these cars in Chicago in 1948 before his company folded on March 3, 1949, amidst a stock fraud scandal that attracted a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and negative media coverage. Although Preston Tucker was acquitted in court, his company never recovered—making the 51 Tucker ’48 cars he produced extremely rare. There is a conspiracy theory that the Big Three automakers tried to put Preston Tucker out of business as they saw his fledgling car company as a threat. The 1988 movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream
is based on the saga surrounding the car’s production, and that movie’s director, Francis Ford Coppola, is a Tucker owner who proudly displays his vehicle on the grounds of his California winery. And while the Tucker ’48 originally sold for $1,000, the car’s value today is estimated at $1.2 million.
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