TUPELO, Miss. — A Mississippi car museum’s four-wheeled stock was auctioned off for $8.6 million, with $1.8 million of that for one of the 51 Tucker automobiles ever made.

The Tupelo Automobile Museum’s signs and other “automobilia” brought in $428,000 a day earlier.

Designer Preston Tucker’s grandsons, Mike and Sean Tucker, were present as Tucker No. 1028 was gaveled down Saturday, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

Preston T. Tucker, who was the 44-year-old head of the Tucker Corporation at the time, is shown with the hand-made model of his vehicle in Chicago on June 26, 1947. He said the car has 800 fewer parts than the conventional auto. The flat-opposed, six-cylinder engine of 150 hp fits in the rear of the car. Power moves directly from engine to wheels, eliminating clutch, transmission and differential mechanism. Each wheel is individually suspended from the frame. Engineers at the time said the car was designed to deliver 30 to 35 mpg at moderate speeds. One of the features of the car is a third central headlight which turns with the wheels, lighting the way around curves. The frame of the car is below the center lines of the wheels, providing a low center of gravity which tends to prevent overturning. Associated Press

 

 

No. 1028 went to Tim Stentiford, representing the Maine Classic Car Museum in Arundel.

“It was one of the original Indianapolis test cars, which makes it unique in and of itself. All of them are unique,” Mike Tucker said. “But it has quite a story behind it. So we’re spending as much time with it as we can. We came to pay it a visit.”

They were also inspecting the Tucker — one of 47 that still exist — for a client.

“He was bidding, but it wasn’t his day today,” Sean Tucker said.

Preston Tucker had hoped to challenge the Big Three automakers with his design.

One distinctive feature of the Tucker is a central headlight that swivels. Photo courtesy of Bonhams Tupelo Automobile Museum Auction

“We’re really excited,” Stentiford said. “We came to Mississippi with one goal in mind, and it was to try to take a run at the Tucker and see if we could add it to our place in Arundel. We’re a brand-new museum and we’re set to open this June.”

The museum already has set aside a room for the Tucker, he said.

Ten other cars brought six figures. They included a 1934 Duesenberg Model J Prince of Wales Berline for $405,000, and a 1930 Hispano-Suiza H6B Coupe Chauffeur for $300,000.

The Tupelo museum’s owner, Jane Spain, has said she’ll use auction proceeds to pay off the balance of a $3.2 million loan from the city, which was used to build the museum, and to start an education foundation. She also plans to sell the building.


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