3 February 2017

Answer of the Week: No, the Toyota Camry isn’t the most iconic car, but neither is the Tucker

Perhaps the image led you astray? We asked our Facebook community, “What’s the most iconic, immediately recognizable car of all time?” And we included a photo of a 1948 Tucker 48 to help get your juices flowing. While the shot is pretty, it wasn’t meant to guide you. This was no open-book test.

And thus the Tucker received the majority of votes. Yet, I can’t help but wonder which way the responses would have skewed if the image featured was, say, a Volkswagen Beetle, 1965 Ford Mustang or 1957 Chevy Bel Air. This wasn’t exactly a scientific poll, and many folks mentioned those cars, too.

It seems like there was some confusion as well about whether we were asking you to identify the pictured car or simply answer the question. Scot Clements replied, “Looks like a… Tucker.” Justin Morris answered similarly, “That’s a 1948 Tucker. I can’t tell which one from this pic.” So for clarity’s sake, the question, regardless of the image, was: What’s the most iconic car?

For Jim Davis the answer was obvious: “You picked it right! The Tucker!” David Deaton and Bob Franasiak kept their agreement simple: “Tucker.” And we hate to say it, but they’re wrong. Before you start dialing my office, though, allow me to explain.

The Tucker was an impressive, technologically advanced car. And it remains recognizable and easily distinguishable from many of its contemporaries. But could you tell a Tucker from 100 feet away? How about 500 feet? Because in profile, a Tucker looks a lot like a stretched ’49 Oldsmobile Futuramic Club Sedan. Perhaps even a bit like the 1948 Cadillac Series 62, no?

I’m inclined to agree with Dave Demmin, who said, “Not everyone knows what a Tucker is. Either the VW Beetle or ’57 Chevy would have to be the most recognizable — most likely the Beetle.” Fred Marks drove the point further by uprooting us from our provincial inclinations: “VW Beetle. Instant recognition, globally.” And Tony Hagerty (no relation to our company) nailed it: “The most recognizable would have to be the Volkswagen Beetle, because even little kids recognize a Slug Bug.”

Tough arguing with that. But if you must, just be happy you’re not the wiseguy who replied, “Toyota Camry.”

6 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Michael Milne Philadelphia February 7, 2017 at 08:01
    To compare automotive icons, you can see two Tuckers and a Beetle from the Love Bug movie side by side at the Swigart Museum in Pennsylvania.
  • 2
    pete detroit February 7, 2017 at 08:54
    there can be no debate, the 810/812 Cord.
  • 3
    Paul Sellers Salt Lake City March 29, 2017 at 16:35
    The CJ series Jeep has to be hands down the most recognizable car in the world. Along with the military rigs of WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.
  • 4
    John C Cargill Hanover Park March 29, 2017 at 17:58
    Most every Camry since Job 1 is a decent car but in looks, typical Japanese of what ever era. Not outstanding in that way.
  • 5
    Gretchen Moore California March 30, 2017 at 02:08
    If you want to see a Tucker up close, there is one at the Francis Ford Copula winery in northern California. What a beauty!
  • 6
    John V. Baton Rouge, LA April 2, 2017 at 12:32
    I probably wouldn't have thought of the VW Beetle unless you had put up a photo of it. My immediate thoughts of "what vehicle would you recognize from 1, 000 feet away ranged more to the Jeep, the Plymouth Superbird/Dodge Daytona...) But I'd say "Beetle". No other car had that odd shape especially at that time in automotive history.

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