Industrial Design: Tucker 2048


Long before the internet ever existed, I grew up building model cars. I got hooked at the tender age of 8 with my first-ever model kit: MPC's Killer 'Cuda. And all through my teens, all through university and even into my early 30s, I was obsessed with building highly-detailed models. By 2000, I'd accumulated hundreds of them, and my basement apartment looked less like a love shack and more like Jay Leno's Garage.

But times change, and along came this thing called the internet. I eventually gave up on model cars and got into webcomics, but that's another story.

But before I hung up my files, knives, paintbrushes and tube of glue forever, I went out with a bang on a model that I not only built, but also designed: Tucker 2048.

The original 1948 Tucker has a rich history that inspired a 1988 movie starring Jeff Bridges. But I often wondered what the classic Tucker would look like if it were redesigned for its 100th anniversary.

This is my vision of that redesign.



I built this model in 1:25 scale using .040" sheet styrene plastic and many modified pieces from other model cars.



Designing Tucker 2048 was supremely challenging. So to help with bringing this design to life, I bought a 1:18 scale Kyoshu 1948 Tucker diecast model for reference and I studied it like a fiend. I sketched dozens and dozens of designs from all different angles until I had a more clear idea of how I wanted my design to look. After many iterations, the design was finally transformed into a set of working blueprints. From the blueprints, I built the model from scratch using basic shapes and subassemblies, and I continued to refine the design and overcome unforseen engineering issues.



This model is a flying car design that was lovingly-inspired by the 1997 film, The Fifth Element. Korben Dallas' sexy, leadsled taxi is a big bada boom, indeed.



Around the time I was designing this model, a lot of concept cars were being created with gorgeous, full-length sunroofs. And besides, what better way to show off all that custom interior work?



This model is what's called a curbside model, meaning it has no engine compartment and only limited chassis detail.

Now here's where things get really interesting. Check out these sick comparos. While I wanted to honour and respect many of the Tucker's design cues, I also wanted to bastardize and destroy many others.

One of these days, I might get back into building model cars again.