$1.985M Tupelo Tucker will be the star attraction at new auto museum

1948 Tucker 48 front 3/4

The gorgeous beige automobile may have a new address, but its role will remain the same. The 1948 Tucker 48 that once starred at the Tupelo Automobile Museum is heading from Mississippi to Maine to become the featured attraction at a new museum. The Tucker, which sold for $1,985,000 at the Tupelo facility’s liquidation auction in April, will be the headliner at the Maine Classic Car Museum Collection, opening in June.

According to the Portland Press Herald, Tim Stentiford placed the final bid for the Tucker—the third-highest amount ever paid for one. The car will soon anchor the 12,000-square-foot museum, which will operate in partnership with Motorland, a classic car showroom and service center in Arundel, Maine, about 26 miles south of Portland.

“Starting a museum from scratch and then trying to have it be self-sustaining is practically impossible,” Stentiford told the Press Herald. “That’s why this will be both a showroom and a museum.”

The Daily Journal in Tupelo reported that Stentiford, Motorland’s general manager, was bidding on behalf of his boss, Motorland owner and museum founder E. Miles Prentice III.

“We’re really excited,” Stentiford told the Journal. “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.”

The Tucker is the brainchild of Preston Tucker, subject of the 1988 movie Preston Tucker: The Man and His Dream. It was a featured class at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Tucker #1028 is one of 51 assembled—and one of seven to undergo endurance testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—before Tucker Corporation was forced to shut down after an extended legal battle that some believe was orchestrated by the Big Three. Only 47 Tuckers survive today.

“The Tucker is the Holy Grail of classic automobile collectors,” Stentiford told the Press Herald. “The car is startling in its innovation, its design and its concept. It’s kind of like the Tesla of 1948, really way ahead of its time.”