Much of the information about Preston Tucker was gathered by Francis Ford Coppola and came from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It took Coppola several years, using the Freedom of Information Act, to finally obtain access to the SEC's detailed files about Tucker.
As depicted in the movie, the Tucker vehicle had rear-hinged coach doors, which would be known as "suicide doors" for their risk to rear passengers if they accidentally open while the car was in motion - ironic since the Tucker car had pioneered safety features.
When Preston Tucker is walking Sen. Ferguson to his car, Ferguson tells him, "Problems are opportunities in work clothes. That's a quote from my friend Henry J. Kaiser." Kaiser also took on the Big Three at the same time Tucker did when he teamed with Joseph Frazer to form the Kaiser-Frazer Motor Corp. in 1946. Kaiser's cars were equipped with some of the same safety features (pop-out windshields, shatterproof glass, padded dash) the Tucker had. The 1947-48 Kaiser-Frazer cars even used the same outside door handles as the Tucker.
Four Tucker replicas on 1974 Ford chassis were constructed for the film. One of these, in Tucker-trademark Waltz Blue color, has been donated to the Ypsilanti (MI) Automotive History Collection by members of the family of Preston Tucker.
While in post-production of Apocalypse Now (1979), Francis Ford Coppola met with Burt Reynolds about playing Preston Tucker, stating how much he resembled the young Tucker in real life. Unfortunately delays due to story development and logistics as well as commitments to other projects, the film was not made until 1988, by which time Reynolds was too old to play the part.
The H6 engine (six-cylinder horizontally opposed "FLAT") built by "Air Cooled Motor Co." is very similar to engines used on Porsche 911s, some Subarus and many civilian aircraft to this day. It had overhead valves (pushrods) and was converted to be water-cooled. It was 335ci displacement 5470 (slightly smaller then a "small block" Chevy V8) and had 166bhp with 372lb. of torque.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
in the scene where the endurance trials begin, as the car pulls away at the start of the trials the engine compartment pops open. In the next scene where the rear of the car can be seen the compartment is closed. The trials were non stop so there would have been no oportunity to cloes the compartment.