When Tucker #43 (of 51 made, with 47 extant) sold for almost $3 million (including fees) at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction a few months ago it got a lot of attention. Before that sale, Tuckers have generally changed hands for right around a million dollars plus or minus a couple hundred thou. Now #43 was a particularly nice Tucker, properly restored, and it was being sold by noted collector Ron Pratte, but people still wondered if it set a new price floor for Tuckers. I asked Mark Lieberman, a Detroit area Tucker enthusiast and expert, who has owned a couple of Tuckers and consulted on the restoration of others, about the B-J sale. He said that #43 is one of the best and might be an outlier. Lieberman said to pay attention to the sale of Tucker #34 at the Amelia Island auction, that #34 was an nice but not perfect Tucker and that it’s price would be a better barometer than the Pratte Tucker. Well Gooding’s Amelia Island auction has come and go, and #34 sold for $1.32 million.
There are many cars that are rarer than a Tucker. The Hudson Italia at the Eyes On Design show last year is one of 26 made, one of 19 that still exists. The SD 396 Beaumont convertible at the same show was one of only 65 made in 1969, and surely not many convertible versions of the Canadian 396 Chevelle have survived. Neither of those cars, though, has the story that the Tucker has. George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola never made a move about the Hudson Italia.
We’re going to be featuring Tuckers today, starting with #1008, owned by Richard Driehaus’s Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage. CVMC’s curator, Stephen Murphy was gracious enough to give me almost unfettered access to #8, one of the more correct Tuckers around. Many of the surviving Tuckers have been modified to stay on the road, since the unique parts no longer were available. Some parts, for example the rubber suspension components that the Tucker featured, are now being reproduced and the Tucker fleet is slowly being restored to original condition.