Recreating Classic Cars with CAD: Tucker Torpedo Project Update

Welcome to part six of a blog series covering how a group of car and engineering enthusiasts are bringing the Tucker Torpedo concept car to life. If you haven’t read the other Tucker Blog entries, you can get caught up here:

Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5

Sorry I haven’t written anything about the Tucker Torpedo project in a while. The project was on hold while Rob Ida focused his energies on finishing up the ’40 Merc project so it could be displayed in the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

SEMA is the largest show of its kind in the world. Over 2,400 aftermarket automotive equipment manufacturers gather at SEMA to show-off their new products as well as hundreds of custom automobiles in every shape, size, vintageimaginable. SEMA is a very important show for any automobile manufacturer. It’s where you want to be seen and to show off your latest creations.

You may remember the ’40 Merc was mentioned in Blog #4. Well, the Merc certainly turned into quite a work of art. Let’s take a look at what it started out as first. Here’s a pictures of the stock 1940 Mercury Sedan Coupe Rob started with.

Not too bad of a car considering it’s 75 years old! It was solid through and through.
Not too bad of a car considering it’s 75 years old! It was solid through and through.

Here’s what Rob turned it into:



As you can see the ’40 Merc is a true work of art. Rob perfectly executed his vision for the car. He wanted it to mimic a prototype that Ford may have built in the 1940’s. After comparing the result to what he started with, you can understand why it took six years to build.

Some of the unique features on the car are the front fender skirts. You usually see skirts on the rear wheel opening not the front. In order to make sure the front skirts are out of the way of the wheels when turning a corner, an additional steering rack is used to operate the skirts. The underside of the car has a belly pan covering the entire area as seen here in these pictures:



Rob’s attention to detail is by far his strongest asset. Nothing was overlooked including the matching luggage in the trunk!


Mercury’s face was laser cut into the wheel and steering wheel center caps.



The crowning glory for Rob was when the Merc was selected by the Ford Design Team as Best in Show at SEMA. This is by no means an easy feat because of the many custom cars at SEMA produced by the biggest names in the business. You can read more about the Merc and winning Best in Show here.


The Merc was also in the Sacramento Autorama show where it won Most Beautiful Custom for 2016.


Although work on Tucker Torpedo slowed at Rob’s shop, work continued on at “Bobsled Bob” Cuneo’s Chassis Dynamics shop. Bob continued to work on the chassis and now has it completed. You would never know the chassis started out as a complete Porsche 964! The only thing left of the original Porsche is the drivetrain and rear tub as you can see in the pictures below. The rest was completely fabricated by Bob.




The chassis will soon be making its way to Rob’s shop so designs can be formulated on how best to support the body on the chassis. To assist in this design task, a 3D model of the body is being created. In blog #5 the scanning process of the as-built body was discussed and the resultant scan data is being used to assist in creating the surface model.

Sean Tucker, Rob Ida, and I took time to record a TV show at the Boyertown, PA Museum of Historic Vehicles with Kendra Cook and Dan Olsen. You can watch the show below.

Now that Rob has re-focused his energies on the Torpedo more updates will be coming. So, stayed tuned for more to come!


Mike Sabocheck
Mike Sabocheck is a Technical Sales Director with Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS. Mike has been with DS SOLIDWORKS for 21 years. Prior to SOLIDWORKS he worked for Xerox for 17 years and then for Intergraph. His specialties are applying SOLIDWORKS to different design and manufacturing processes.