Tucker 48 takes on Targa Florio

By: James Robinson, Unique Cars magazine

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An amazing car and an amazing event! See the photo gallery.

A local offshoot of the fabled Targa Florio is kicking off next Friday, the 30 of November, and, for the first time in the races 101 year history, it’s happening outside of Italy.

Where, you may ask? Well, it’s taking place Down Under, and boy, does it look like an amazing event!

Day one of the historic race will kick off in Melbourne before the entrants and their awesome cars take to the M1 heading towards Eastern Beach, where, in the early afternoon, the official race will commence on the Geelong Waterfront.

Over the following three days the race will take in some of Victoria’s greatest driving roads while visiting iconic locations across the state like Torquay, Apollo Bay, Yarra Glen, Healesville, Marysville, Cape Shank and San Remo.

The four-day automotive extravaganza will conclude at the Harbour Esplanade in Docklands, where the first three cars to rank will receive awards presented by the Premier of Victoria.

While the race will be packed full with the crème de la crème of automobiles, one car taking part really did stand out – A beautiful and uber-rare Tucker 48.

The Tucker was the brainchild of Preston Tucker, a luminary automotive designer who challenged not only convention, but the big three manufacturers from the Detroit.

The story of Tucker is legendary, and the cars themselves are rarer than unicorn farts, with only 51 ever being built, and only 47 surviving today.

What’s even crazier than its super low build numbers, decidedly deco looks and tri-headlight configuration however is the car powertrain and location.

The tucker is powered a rear-mounted, 5.47lt, flat six-cylinder motor that was built by the Franklin Engine Company and was originally intended for use in the Bell 47 helicopter.

More bizarre still is that once Tucker had decided he would use the engine in his automobile, he had his engineers convert the air-cooled donk to a water-cooled unit.

The Tucker 48 taking part in the Targa Florio is car number 1045, and was purchased by the current owner, Terry Dowell, at RM’s Monterey Auction on August 14, 2010 for an eye watering $1,127,500, or, as Terry put it "about 1.7 (million) by the time it got here because of luxury tax and exchange rates".

Despite its value, and unlike many of the other Tuckers out there, Terry actually drives his 48, and says he’s deeply looking forward to driving the 1095 kilometres over the four-day event.

It’s set to be an awesome four days for everyone involved in this amazing event, and anyone wanting more information about the 2017 Targa Florio can check out the website here

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