Preston Tucker's eponymous cars have held a fascination far greater than their 50-odd copies would suggest; last year, a mint condition Tucker sedan sold for nearly $3 million. At Barrett-Jackson's big auction in January, this car will come up for sale -- what's billed as the only Tucker convertible, a car that many Tucker historians say never existed when Tucker was alive. Here's the long tale of how it came to be.
Three years ago, the Tucker convertible appeared at the annual Hershey collectors meet in Pennsylvania, shown by a Wisconsin collector who claimed that Tucker himself was working on a convertible concept from body number 57 when the Tucker factory closed, and was supposedly secreted out of the plant and finished many decades later. The owner put the car up for auction in 2010, but rejected a bid of $1,017,000.
Since then, Tucker fans have come up with an alternative history: Preston Tucker never had plans to build one.
Instead, the frame no. 57 was meant to be a display car -- one to show at traveling exhibits -- and was abandoned in a field, and later stored under the Michigan State Fairgrounds grandstands, for years. It had a larger back window, but was otherwise a complete Tucker sedan -- not a convertible.
According to Hemmings News, Barrett-Jackson will tell buyers that the car is an original Tucker "customized into a convertible." Caveat emptor.