Even after Preston Tucker's dreams of building the Tucker 48 died after a lot of questionable accusations and a trial and acquittal from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tucker couldn't stop dreaming about cars. He had plans for a very novel roadster, and previously unknown images of it may have just shown up.


The images, which consist of photos of clay models and actual, hand-drawn sketches, showed up on the automotive trivia/quiz forum Autopuzzles, where they were identified as a Raymond Lowey proposal for Studebaker, based on the information from the online auction.

Further inspection brought the identification of the pictures as Lowey/Studebaker designs into question, with good reason. The design is clearly rear-engined, and while there are some reports of Loewy considering rear-mounted engines as an option for Studebaker, no serious design studies for a rear engine car seem to have taken place (that wouldn't happen until much later, with Porsche's Studebaker contract work).

The designs don't really seem like Loewy's or Studebaker's, so what are they? The one thing they actually do quite resemble are the very few pictures of Tucker's hoped-for next car, the Tucker Carioca.


The car was first seen on the 1955 cover of Car Life, and was designed by the well-resepected designer Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. The details of the sketches and the clay models certainly match up — the three light layout, the very separate wheels and fenders from the central, torpedo-body, the prominent roof rails and bumper assembly, which suggest Tucker's own focus on safety, and the clear rear-engine design.

It's a pretty compelling case, and I suggest everyone read about it in detail over at Gyronaut X1. There's still some major questions to be answered — like why these pretty well-realized clay models have never been mentioned — and regardless of what this turns out to be, it's a fascinating bit of automotive history.


I do think there's pretty good odds on it being the Tucker design, though it's worth remembering that this was an age of rear engine experimentation by many designers, so it's hard to call it 100%.

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