- Candid capture of a Waltz blue Tucker 48 ("Torpedo") on the Balboa Ferry . Exclusive story and photos by Royce Rumsey

One of the advantages of residing in what is arguably the car-culture capital of the world (Southern California) is that on any given day one can be a witness to one or more very rare, elusive and valuable cars—being casually driven on public roads.

One example of such happened a few months ago on an early Sunday morning on Balboa Peninsula--where a chance encounter with a perfect, Waltz blue Tucker 48 (A.K.A. “Torpedo”) happened—watching it boarding the venerable (and period-correct to Preston’s steed) Balboa Island Ferry--to transition from the Peninsula to the Island.

The Tucker 48 boards the Balboa Ferry to cross the channel to Balboa Island

The Tucker 48 boards the Balboa Ferry to cross the channel to Balboa Island

Needless to say, I got out my camera and started a series of candid captures of this most fortunate confluence of events. The car-compliant Southern California climate complimented this automotive kismet with perfect morning light…illuminating the glorious Waltz blue (paint code: #200) exterior and mouton mohair interior (code #920).

One of four of the Ducoing's collection of concours-quality Tucker 48's--starting the brief sojourn to Balboa Island...

One of four of the Ducoing's collection of concours-quality Tucker 48's--starting the brief sojourn to Balboa Island...

This particular example of Lawson-Tremulus’s pens is one of four(!) owned by local car collector, Brad Ducoing, and like every car and artifact in his sizable collection, it's of concours-winning condition—and is regularly enjoyed on the local byways.

The Franklin O-335 air-cooled 6--belied by the exhaust sextet...

The Franklin O-335 air-cooled 6--belied by the exhaust sextet...

Car cognoscenti know well of the Tucker myth and legend (and of Preston’s penchant for showmanship and business slight-of-hand) made even more famous by the movie of the same name. The basic premise of the Tucker was principally a ‘2nd-generation Tatra of 10 years prior to the 48…but the Tucker incorporated the Tatra (and other cars’) features and advancements in a new platform with many new safety and performance enhancements—giving rise to its fabled status.

Extremely advanced and beautifully minimalistic Tucker 48 interior (note padded dash!).

Extremely advanced and beautifully minimalistic Tucker 48 interior (note padded dash!).

This particular Tucker of Mr. Ducoing’s-- like his other 3--runs flawlessly with the Bell 47/Franklin O-335 perfectly propelling the “Torpedo’ through the 4-speed pre-selector transmission (only one of the direct-variable twin, torque-converter trans examples exist). After crossing over to Balboa Island on the ferry the Torpedo fired right up and drove off …with Mr. Ducoing graciously stopping briefly to allow for a couple photos on the Island.

The Tucker 48 fires right up and drives off the Balboa Ferry to Balboa Island...

The Tucker 48 fires right up and drives off the Balboa Ferry to Balboa Island...

One of the Ducoing's Collection four Tucker 48's on a Sunday morning outing on Balboa Island.

One of the Ducoing's Collection four Tucker 48's on a Sunday morning outing on Balboa Island.

In Newport Beach where hypercars are so common so as to barely rate a head-turn, seeing a Tucker Torpedo is a ‘show stopping’ event—and a perfect start to another Sabbath in Southern California.

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