Built by Rob Ida of IDA Automotive in Morganville, New Jersey, this incredible car was found in the Axalta booth on the SEMA Show floor this year, bringing back memories of a manufacturer long since passed, but not forgotten. Though the car may look very much like a modified yet original Tucker 48, it is actually a recreation of the famed model. Don’t worry – Ida did not cut up one of the original 50 Tucker 48s to build this amazing piece of automotive art. But the story behind this particular Tucker makes it, in some ways, even more special than an original.
As the story goes, Ida’s grandfather was a Tucker dealer back in the day. While he took orders for the then newly released automobile, he never delivered any of the cars due to unforeseen governmental meddling in creator Preston Tucker’s affairs. After Tucker was shut down, all of the cars were auctioned off and destined to either be forgotten or holed up in distinguished collections all over the world.
Having had a love for Tuckers for decades, Ida’s grandfather wished for the chance to own one of the obsolete 48s, even long into his retirement. But getting the funds to buy an original Tucker just wasn’t feasible, as prices on the cars quickly skyrocketed, that was, if you could even find an owner to talk numbers with. So, Ida decided that he would build his grandfather his own Tucker, fabricating everything by hand and coming close to the original Tucker 48 platform.
Since 2000, Ida has built four Tuckers. Strictly a labor of love, Ida doesn’t build the cars for fame or money. He builds them because of his passion for the Tucker brand and what could have been, had Preston Tucker succeeded in his automotive endeavors some 65-plus years ago. And he does it with the blessing of Tucker’s great, great grandsons.
Originally started as Ida’s personal car, the Tucker shown at SEMA took about six years to complete. Along the line, long-time customer of Ida’s, Jack Aiely, took interest in the car and Ida offered to finish out the build for him in time to show the car at the 2017 SEMA Show. The car was finished in August of this year and made it’s debut at the show.
One thing that certainly isn’t Tucker 48 original looking, however, is the fat Cadillac V8 stuffed between the front and rear axles. Seemingly a rear-engine car like Preston Tucker designed his cars as, this Tucker is what Ida considers a mid-engine vehicle as the powerplant sits in front of the rear axle. Along with the Cadillac V8, which sits in the car sideways mind you, the Tucker makes use of the matching Cadillac transaxle and twin turbochargers for a little extra oomph. All said and done, the car is pushing about 500hp.
Fittingly, one of Tucker’s great, great grandsons was on the SEMA Show floor and stopped by to show his support of Ida’s Tucker during the week. According to Ida, both Sean and Mike Tucker are very supportive of his Tucker builds and they even come and lend a hand on the cars when they can.
“I love the story and how rare the Tucker was, and then hearing the story of the guy there –Preston being his great, great grandfather – and how this car was completely hand built,” he told us.
We couldn’t agree more.
Article courtesy of Street Muscle Magazine, written by Lindsey Fisher.