Feb 22 2017

Ownership Profile of the Tucker 1044 (1948- Present) Updated 7/26/2017

This is a history of the eight owners of the Tucker 1044 from 1948 to the present.


Howard Kroplick

Tucker Corporation, Chicago Illinois (1948-1950)

Tucker 1044 was completed by a handful of Tucker employees after the plant closed on October 29, 1948. It remained in the Tucker factory inventory until 1950.

The green Tucker 1044 is listed on the March 3, 1949 Tucker Inventory to be sold for $2,000.

Scott Rifkin, Schaumberg, Illinois (1950-1951)

At the famed auction of the Tucker Corporation’s assets at the Tucker Factory in Chicago on October 18-20, 1950, Tucker 1044 and the Tucker “Tin Goose” prototype were sold to Rifken, proprietor of S&S Auto Parts in Schaumburg, Illinois.

A total of 23 Tuckers were sold at the auction. Sometine in 1951, 1044 was painted bright red and sold to Allen Rocco.

Allen L. Rocco, Port Chester, New York (1952-1969)

Rocco, a mechanic from Port Chester, NY, brought 1044 to the October 1951 International Motor Show in Washington, D.C., where it was featured in the pictorial program as “The Modern Jewel- a new Tucker with less than 3,000 miles.”

Note: The 1951 New York State license plate.

Allen L. Rocco, Port Chester, New York (1952-1969)

Rocco advertised it for sale in the October 19, 1952 edition of The New York Times. “Tuker (sic), show car, Very fast and economical,” he assured. The car failed to sell, however, and remained in Mr. Rocco’s ownership for the rest of his life until the late 1960s.. 

David Tunick, Connecticut (1969-1973)

Following Rocco’s passing, Rocco's  widow inherited the Tucker and sold it in 1969 to David Tunick, a renowned antique automobile collector from Connecticut.

Lester Sheaffer, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1973-1982)

 In July of 1973, Tunick sold the Tucker to Les Sheaffer, a Tucker enthusiast, who owned and enjoyed numerous examples over the years including the Tucker “Tin Goose” 1000. He began a restoration of the car, installing a new Tucker engine, number 335-74, and Cord transmission, as was done for most all restored Tuckers, and refinishing it in a dark brown.

The car was subsequently displayed in Antique Automobile Club of America judging in 1980 and 1981, winning its Senior First Prize.

Tucker 1044 was also featured on the AACA plaque  and the commemorative WinRoss toy truck  for the 1981 Hershey Meet.

In the November 4, 1982 issue of Old Cars Weekly, Sheaffer offered the Tucker 1944 (sic) for sale. Mileage: 7,800.

Skip Groh, Freeport, Ohio (1982-2016)

In late 1982, Sheaffer sold his beloved Tucker to Millard “Skip” Groh, owner of a marina in Freeport, Ohio. The car was brought to Freeport, where reportedly it was driven only three times and about 15 miles. Mr. Groh then laid wood planks down on the gravel floor of a metal building on his property, drove the Tucker onto them, and closed the door. While the location of the car was quietly known to Tucker authorities and historians, it remained “off the radar” to the public. Attempts by the few people with knowledge of its whereabouts to acquire the car were all refused, and it remained hidden away for the next 34 years.

Mark Lieberman, Auburn Hills, Michigan (2016)

Lieberman, a longtime Tucker enthusiast, expert, restorer, and archivist, was able to finally acquire Tucker 1044 in early 2016.

Howard Kroplick, East Hills, New York (2017- Present)

On January 19, 2017, Howard Kroplick purchased Tucker 1044 at a RM Sotheby’s Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Credit: Patrick Ernzen. Courtesy of RM Sotheby's. Mileage: 7,909, only 109 miles since 1982. In the last ten months of 2017, Tucker 1044 was driven 297 miles.


Feb 23 2017 Ron Ridolph 2:58 AM

Hi Howard:  Quite the story and I very much share in your happiness !!!!!!

    May God bless and keep you for many years !!!

              Very Truly,  Ron Ridolph

Feb 23 2017 Mike Cain 11:56 AM

Thanks for the detailed history Howard. I suppose it’s not totally uncommon for great classic cars like your Tucker to spend 30 plus years wasting away in storage. I’m glad that you and the owner that bought it in 2016 were able to rescue it. Thanks again for displaying it last Saturday for enthusiasts to see it.

Feb 26 2017 John R Tucker Jr 2:46 AM

Thank you Howard for publishing this history. We are very proud of our family history and these 51 cars are a big part of our heritage. When I went with Mark to pick #1044 from Mr. Groh, I felt the same enthusiasm I feel even after seeing all but a handful of the Tuckers. These cars each have their own story to tell and I look forward to seeing what you have in store for this, one of the best examples of the original 51.
Best Regards,
John R Tucker Jr.
Howard Kroplick:

John, thanks so much for the comment. One of the joys of owning this car is exploring the history of your grandfather, his company and the 51 Tuckers. I am planning on placing profiles of each one of 50 pilot production Tucker ‘48s and the Tucker Tin Goose prototype on this website

Feb 26 2017 Phil Kneer 7:14 AM

Congratulations on your newest acquistion could not find a more dedicated and deserving owner. Best of luck.      Phil

Feb 26 2017 Don Smith 7:56 AM

You are a Long Island treasure. Thanks Howard for showing all your cars.

Feb 26 2017 Laura and Kenneth Harris 11:34 AM

I can’t think of a better person to have the car.  I can still remember my father talking about the Tucker and showing me pictures of one.  This would have been in 1947 or 1948 when I was about 9 years old.


Feb 26 2017 Chris Heisig 3:46 PM

Hi Howard   The engine and transmission were replaced in 1973 . It could not be rebuilt ? ?  Three color changes , was the interior changed also ? .....quite a bit of changing for so few miles . It is in good hands what ever you choose do or not .
Happy motoring ,Chris

Howard Kroplick:

Chris, the only restoration was made in 1972-1975, when the color and interior was changed and the original Tucker engine was replaced with another original Tucker engine..

Feb 26 2017 Richard Motycka 5:35 PM

Howard: The Man and His Dream Car.  Coming to a car show near you.

Mar 05 2017 Tom 11:59 AM

Good luck Howard!

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