Tucker, Indy streamliner highlight Worldwide’s Auburn auction docket

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Tucker's automatic transmission test chassis was used to produce the 'last' Tucker 48, which is being sold at auction to benefit Mayo Clinic | Worldwide Auctioneers photos

Not only will a 1948 Tucker Model 48 sedan highlight the docket for Worldwide Auctioneers’ annual hometown sale in Auburn, Indiana, but all proceeds from the no-reserve sale will go to Mayo Clinic’s cancer research program, the auction company has announced.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to participate not only in selling this exceptional car but also in celebrating the wonderful philanthropic gift that’s taking place,” John Kruse, Worldwide Auctioneers’ principal is quoted in the company’s announcement.

The Tucker on offer is chassis 1052 and was the original test chassis for the Tucker Automatic transmission. It was restored by Classic & Exotic Service and according to Worldwide has won multiple concours d’elegance awards, including best in class at the Concours d’Elegance of America in 2015.

“Preston Tucker died of cancer in 1956,” Tucker historian and executive at the Gilmore Car Museum is quoted in the auction news release, “so to look at this car and realize that the next buyer helped push cancer studies and research with the Mayo Clinic ahead, Preston Tucker would never have dreamt of that… a dream that he had has really morphed into something completely different.” 

According to the Tucker Automobile Club of America, chassis 1052 was built on the Tuckermatic Test Chassis and its construction was completed in 2015 using parts from several other tuckers and some NOS panels. When it debuted in 2015, it was called the “last” Tucker.

“The frame had a unique cross-member designed to go up and over the Tuckermatic transmission, rather than the usual V-shape cross-member used to cradle the Cord and Y-1 transmissions,” according to the club’s website. “The Tuckermatic cross-member is basically the same shape as the radiator/engine mount cross-member, but flipped upside-down to clear the top of the trans. 

“Tucker #1026, being the only surviving “Tuckermatic” car, has the same type of cross-member. This cross-member was removed during the construction of 1052C and replaced with a new cross-member to mount the regular Y-1 transmission currently fitted to the car.”

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In conjunction with the car going to auction, Follis has launched a gofundme effort to raise additional funds to benefit the Mayo Clinic cancer research program.

‘Fuel-Injection Special’ streamliner was built for Bill Vukovich, but wasn’t finished in time for the 1955 Indy 500

Also on the Auburn auction docket is the 1955 Indy 500 streamliner, the “Fuel-Injection Special,” a fully fendered race car built by Quinn Epperly for two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bill Vukovich. The car is powered by an Offenhauser engine.

Vukovich competed in the 1955 Indy 500 in a different car, the KK500C Hopkins Special, and died from injuries suffered in a multi-car crash on the 57th lap of the race. Vukovich was well ahead of the field and going for a record third Indy victory in a row when his car was caught up in the crash, which flipped his car out of the track and into cars parked outside.

According to race-cars.com, the streamliner wasn’t finished in time for the 1955 race, and car-owner Howard Keck was so distraught that he parked the car and it has never raced.

Also on the docket are cars and automobilia from the Roaring Twenties Museum Collection and the Dakota Discoveries Collection.

With such an expanded docket, the auction will be a two-day event on August 30-31, Worldwide said, and will be held in its new headquarters building adjacent to Interstate 69.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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