Tuesday, November 3, 2009
An American Dreamer
I was still teaching then and wanted to find a movie that would appeal to the boys as well as the girls in my class, and I wanted a story with some controversy that would inspire my students to research and express their opinions in an essay. This movie fit the bill perfectly.
Preston Tucker was an exceptional man, a dreamer, a salesman, and an entrepreneur. I can only wonder what the American car industry would be like today if Tucker had been allowed to continue producing cars. His plans in 1948 included disc brakes, automatic transmissions, seat belts, fuel injection, padded dashboards, pop-out windshields, and the capability of cruising at 100 mph. It took another 15 years for disc brakes to be mass produced in automobiles. Seat belts were added to cars in 1959; automatic transmissions, in 1950; fuel injection systems, in 1957 and redesigned in the 1980s. Padded dashboards were produced in 1956 but did not become popular until the 1970s.
In the end, the Tucker Motor Company produced only 50 or 51 cars. Many owners do not display the cars for the public, but the Tucker Club photos of the cars and where they are located.
We often read and hear about the "American Dream," but the cynic in me wonders if free thinkers are still allowed to dream and to have a chance to succeed.