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January 22, 1950 – Preston Tucker cleared of charges

After working in the auto industry for decades, Preston Tucker saw a post WWII need for a brand new car. He developed the Tucker 48, a futuristic and safe vehicle that featured such innovations as a padded steering wheel, safety glass, a roll bar, center cyclops headlight, and it was powered by 334 cubic inch (5.47l) aircraft engine. There was much public interest in his vehicle but even after securing $17 million in funding and purchasing a factory, he was still short on cash for further development and production. To raise money Tucker sold dealerships and accessories, including seat covers and luggage, before production began. A fraud case followed, brought on by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was on this day in 1950 a not guilty verdict was delivered, but the trial and negative press destroyed the company and only 51 complete Tuckers ever left the factory. Many of the Tucker’s features were later implemented on cars produced by large automakers.

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