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Francis Ford's Tucker

August 21, 1988

In his latest work of fiction, "Tucker," Francis Ford Coppola indulges one of Hollywood's favorite pastimes--big-business-bashing.

While purporting to tell "the true story" of Preston Tucker's auto, he distorts the facts. This results in sure-fire box office, for the average moviegoer eats up that sort of fairy tale.

The big three (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) had nothing to fear from Preston Tucker. Neither he nor any of his staff had successfully produced an automobile. On the contrary, in the stock prospectus required by the Securities and Exchange Commission it was revealed that some of the Tucker executives were people of doubtful honesty, having been previously found guilty of fraudulent stock promotions.

When Tucker's first auto was rolled out for an auto show it had no reverse gear. This defect was remedied in later products, but it was clear that the franchise dealers were headed for disaster. Nevertheless, Tucker's con artists were successful in loading them with an accessories package at a cost of several thousand dollars.

It takes enormous resources in money and manpower to launch a new auto concept, witness Ford's Edsel, General Motors' Corvair and Chrysler's Air Flow. Millions, if not billions, were poured down the drain in these well-intended efforts.

Small wonder that Tucker--under-financed and surrounded with people of doubtful honesty--failed with great losses to suppliers, franchise dealers and stock holders.

Coppola contributes nothing to avoiding the mistakes of the past by portraying Tucker as the victim of the "monopoly" rather than his own ineptness.



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