The Missing Tuckers of Brazil
What happened to the one Tucker known to be in Brazil, and is the legend of a second Tucker in Brazil true?
After the Feds auctioned off the assets of the Tucker Corporation, one of the cars, number 1035, was shipped to Brazil. The car changed hands several times until it was purchased by Roberto Lee. Mr. Lee placed the car in his museum with plans to restore the car some day. Unfortunately, he never got that chance as he was killed in a lover's quarrel. The museum has been tied up in legal wranglings for some 30 years now. The current status of the car is unknown. The Tucker Automobile Club of America has received information that the car has been sold and shipped out of the country, but is unable to confirm this, and is against Brazilian law, so it seems likely that the car is still in Brazil.
As you can see from the below images (which are over 4 years old), the car was in pretty bad shape. In talking with the photographer (who is unable to return to the museum any time soon), he mentioned a rather curious piece of information: That there might be a second Tucker in Brazil! Even more remarkable, the car is said to have never been driven!
What many people don't know, is that at the time of his death, Preston Tucker was working on building another car. This car was to be called the Carioca (in honor of the residents of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Preston had traveled to Brazil several times to meet with backers in that country to see about building the car there. Exactly where Tucker was in his dealings with the Brazilians isn't known, nor is it certain how far along development of the car was as almost all documentation from that time has been lost. We do know, however, what the car was supposed to look like.
Could the second Tucker be a forgotten prototype/mock up of the Carioca? Either way, it is worth looking into. Presently, a fully restored Tucker is selling for close to $1 million at auction, finding a previously unknown Tucker in any condition would be a coup, and sure to drive up the value of the cars (since news of the discovery would increase interest in the cars even more). I would like to find out, and I'd also like to track down the current owners (if any) of the Roberto Lee Museum to see if something can't be done to better protect the car that they have (if they still have it).
Unfortunately, I can't do it alone. I need your help. The cost of a trip to Brazil, along with things necessary to document any findings I might make, is simply beyond my resources at this time. I estimate that the cost of the trip, and equipment will total around $4,000, any amount of money you can contribute towards making that happen will enable me to go to Brazil and see what I can find out. The sooner I get there, the better. The Tucker we know about is located in a part of the museum which is prone to flooding, and the museum has reportedly been burglarized and vandalized several times. There may not be much, if anything, of the car left by now. Whatever I find out, I will share with the Tucker Club and possibly make available either in a book or DVD form. Your help is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.