A little while ago, our man Doug DeMuro asked you, the audience, an important question: What was the most beautiful 4-door sedan? It’s a question that can be — and was — passionately discussed with many different cars throughout history thrown in the mix. You, the readers, put forth fantastic candidates like the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental of the 1960s with its iconic suicide doors, the stately Mercedes-Benz 600, the gorgeous, V12-powered Aston Martin Rapide, and my own correct suggestion, the Tucker 48.
Then there was Doug’s suggestion, the BMW E38. I think the BMW E38 is an extremely average looking car. Sure, it has nice, clean lines and the car has a dignified presence, but the most beautiful sedan of all time? Have you ever seen … any other sedan, Doug? See the sedans for sale near you
The E38 is far from an ugly car, but nothing about it says "beautiful" to me. This is especially true when we’re looking at all of sedan history. I’d say almost every American sedan built between World War II and 1970 is better looking than the E38.
The most beautiful of which is the Tucker 48, a masterpiece of industrial design. Earlier this year, I was at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. This museum was packed with automotive history, and I took more photos in that building than I have ever taken of my own child. The car I took the most pictures of wasn’t an Auburn, a Cord, a Duesenberg, or the unexplained Plymouth Prowler on display, but a Tucker 48.
I believe this was the only example I’ve ever seen in person. I’ve seen the Tucker in pictures — but upon seeing it in person, I was blown away by the striking curves, the 3-headlight design, the air ducts in the rear fenders cooling the helicopter engine in the back, and the imposing, yet tasteful, use of chrome.
The Tucker is a car that looks like nothing else ever built, but it also doesn’t look particularly weird. It’s not one of those cars that’s only cool because it’s weird, but it’s a weird car that looks genuinely beautiful. As I was deleting pictures in my camera so I could take more pictures of the Tucker, I realized it was the most beautiful sedan ever built.
Not only does the Tucker look stunning from every angle, but it has a great, albeit sad, story. Only 51 examples of the Tucker 48 were ever built in 1947 and 1948. The car failed for several reasons, including an unveiling plagued with a problematic prototype and a highly-publicized stock fraud trial involving the Tucker Corporation’s founder, Preston Tucker. The allegations ended up being baseless and Tucker was acquitted, but the damage was done.
The story of Tucker is so interesting that 48-owner Francis Ford Coppola made a movie about it called Tucker: The Man and His Dream with a pre-Lebowski Jeff Bridges playing the role of Preston Tucker. What’s the story of the bland BMW E38? That it was the first BMW to offer a built-in television? Okay … that’s pretty cool.
Doug, you have excellent taste in wagons, but not so much when it comes to sedans. I know you made it very clear in your article that any disagreements with you are entirely incorrect, and I respect that. But, what I respect even more is my own correct opinion. Find a sedan for sale