Of all the interesting cars in the world, the Tucker 48 is the granddaddy of them all. Announced by the charismatic Preston Tucker after World War II, when the American public was clamoring for new cars, this promised to be something completely different. It was powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled six-cylinder engine borrowed from a helicopter. It would have three headlights, with the center one swiveling with the steering wheel. And it would have a number of safety features at a time when Detroit largely ignored anything safety-related.
But it wasn’t to be. The company went under after just 51 cars were built. There were rumors that GM leaned on the government to help take Tucker down, creating endless “what-if” scenarios, and inspiring a 1988 movie about it starring Jeff Bridges. For a car, the Tucker holds a huge place in American pop culture.
2. Volkswagen Beetle