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Doug Is Crazy: The Tucker 48 Is the Most Beautiful 4-Door Sedan

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.

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.

Tucker 48

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

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5 COMMENTS

  1. The Auto Museum in Hershey PA is THE destination for tucker fans and I can prove it in one photo. Unfortunately I can’t post photos here. I have a single photo with two Tuckers in it. They have prototype engines and all sorts of factory stuff. Amazing collection. 

  2. Unfortunately, The tucker isn’t to my taste. As for the E38, it is very pretty but the rump is too bland for my taste I think the E32 does it better. As far as pretty sedans go, the Series 1 Jaguar XJ12, Aston Martin Rapide, BMW 1600 (Even though it has 2 doors it’s still considered a sedan), and Alfa Romeo 159 would be my choices.

  3. The Tucker should have been a launching point for safer, better handling and innovative vehicles, however the big 3 were too powerful and had it killed. There’s a modern recreation of the lowerrider-ish Tucker dubbed “The Lower 48” that looks pretty sweet.

  4. I saw one of these in 2002 at the Imperial Palace Auto Museum in Las Vegas and I must have stood there for 30 minutes looking at the thing.  I bought a model of this car when I was about 12 years old because I had never seen anything like it before and thought it was the coolest car ever.  To see one in person was amazing.  I have to agree with you.  This is the most beautiful and most unique 4-door sedan ever.  

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Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy Metro as his only car for a year and regrets nothing.

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