Who Had The Idea First?

Studebaker debuted their so called "Bullet Nose" design when the 1950 models hit the showroom floors in the latter part of 1949. With all the spying going on between car companies, who knows where they got the idea to produce a car with the unique look of the bullet nose? 


The Tucker 48 was a car produced in Chicago, IL in 1948. It was powered by a rear mounted and air cooled 6 cylinder helicopter engine. Although it wasn't really what I would call a bullet nose, I wonder if it had some influence on the Studebaker design. The original owner of the black Tucker on the right was Preston Tucker, the founder of Tucker Motors. According to the security guard who was watching over this car at a 1996 charity car show in Beverly Hills, CA, it had been purchased for $750,000 by Robert Petersen, the founder of Hot Rod Magazine and giant in the publishing industry. It was purchased for display in the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, CA. 


The gold colored Tucker at the right was once owned by Walter Ready, when he resided in Lake Havasu City, AZ.  It was a real Tucker, number 46 of 50, but the body had been mounted on a Mercury chassis with the stock Mercury drive train, and the engine was in the front. Walter had to punch some louvers on each side of the third headlight because the car had a problem with overheating and this was an attempt to get more air to the radiator.

Ida Automotive developed a replica of this unique car and it was being marketed as a Tucker 48. They planned to only make 50 of them, just like the original car, and the starting price was rumored to be around $150,000. The car has modern features including a Cadillac Northstar engine.

I'm sure every bullet nose owner has had their car mistaken for a Tucker at one time or another because of the 1988 movie "Tucker: The Man and His Dream". Some Studebaker owners even tried to duplicate this look by adding a third headlight in place of the bullet on their cars.



1949 FORD

For the 1949 model year, Ford introduced a completely redesigned car. Information found on the Internet said that Ford started work on this new car in 1946 and delivered it to dealers in 1948. The front grill had a bullet in the center, but it was never referred to as a bullet nose. Because of the slab sides and somewhat square design, they were, and still are, called "Shoebox Fords". Ford used this same basic grill in the 1950 models and in 1951 they went to two smaller bullets in the grill. The newer 1952, 1953 and 1954 Fords continued to feature a small bullet in the center of the grill bar.


Eucort was a car company in Barcelona, Spain that produced two and three cylinder cars from 1945 through 1953. According to the translated info I found on the Internet, their 1950 Victoria-Avion, shown on the right,  was an updated model that was "Americanized" with a "frontal style Studebaker". I was unable to find an actual photograph of this car as I would like to see what the rear looked like. The rear fenders look a lot like the 50-52 Studebaker.





To the left and below are some images of what the 52 Studebaker could have looked like if they stayed with the bullet nose design. 

The cars on the left appear to be full size clay models while the car below may have been a small model.

1999 Studebaker

All of the U.S. car companies have developed cars with a retro look. If Studebaker had remained in business, the drawing below could have been what the 1999 Studebaker looked like.



When I first saw a photo of this car taken from the back, I thought it was a modified Starlight Coupe.

With further research, I found info that said it was a German sports car that was powered by a rear engine supercharged Porsche. The front end was kind of bullet nosed.

It was featured on the front cover of this July, 1952 issue of Speed Age magazine. (Click photo to enlarge it)

SpeedAge.jpg (173240 bytes)


At some point in it's life it was exported to the United States. The photos below were found on the Internet and show it on display or for sale at Pappy's used car lot.

"Clyde via Harms Way" wrote "This car was photographed in the early 50's at Pappy's used car lot on Livemois in Detroit".

"Tucker Fan 48" wrote "Pappy's loved to put cars like that on on their lot to attract attention. They even had a bear club on the lot for awhile".

Another comment made on the blog I found said that some coachbuilders in post war Germany made bodies to appeal to American GIs.

If so, the result of that could be the Studebaker - Buick LeSabre look on this car.