Tucker Torpedo
(Tucker 48)

Even though only 51 Tucker 48’s were built, this car has made a place for itself in history.
Manufactured in 1948, the car was surrounded by controversy. From a hugely publicized
stock market fraud trial of Preston Tucker and speculation of the “Big 3” US automakers may have
had a hand in Tuckers demise, the car’s features and difficult birth are interesting.

The bodies initial design was done in only 6 days. The promised new model was futuristic and well
received by the US public with features that were not even yet developed and some that
never made it to the final product such as Fuel injection. It had a rear mounted all aluminium flat 6, independent suspension, pop out windshield, and a host of features that were unheard of in 1948. The original motor was to be
a 9.6 liter flat 6 with oil pressure activated valves as opposed the traditional camshaft valve train. But this proved unreliable and did not develop enough power, and using a torque converter for each drive wheel left the car with no reverse gear. Preston Tucker then used a Franklin o-355 air cooled aviation motor, which was extensively modified to be used in the car. First using a Cord transmission, but they were not strong enough. Tucker then developed the “Tuckermatic” a variable ratio transmission. 3 versions of this transmission were made, but only one was used. The suspension was also revolutionary as it was devoid of  coil springs but instead used rubber. 3 different types were used, the rubber disc, rubber sandwich and the
rubber torsion tube type. A main disadvantage was this type of suspension gave a harder ride. All Tuckers that exist today are a mix and match of different components as the car went through development. 47 are known to exist to this day. Tuckers can fetch very high prices, one selling for a record $1.127.500 at an auction in 2010.

Changing gears on a Model T Ford

The Model T had a 3 speed gearbox using planetary gears. It actually had 2 forward gears as the other gear was a reverse gear. The gearbox was controlled by 3 foot pedals and a floor mounted lever on the left side of the driver, as well as a lever on the steering wheel that was the throttle.

There was no actual clutch pedal. The left pedal was used to engage the lower gear. This could only happen if the handbrake was in the mid or fully forward position and the left pedal was pushed and held forward. If it was in an intermediate position the car would be in neutral. Neutral could also be achieved if the floor mounted side lever was in an upright position. By taking one’s foot off the left pedal and the floor mounted lever was fully forward as well as the handbrake lever being fully forward then the car would be in high gear.

 Sound confusing? It must have been!, but the Model T found over 15 million owners between 1908 and 1927.