Patient to Auction Off Classic Car to Benefit Cancer Research at Mayo Clinic

John Schuler spent years restoring a 1948 Tucker sedan, a car he fell in love with as a young boy. But now he's ready to part with it, donating the proceeds to cancer research.

When he was a child — "probably about 10 or so" — John Schuler saw an ad for a 1948 Tucker sedan at the local car dealership in his hometown of Aurora, Indiana. It was love at first sight. "It really looked like quite a car with the headlights that turned and its unique, sleek design," John tells us.

While bold in vision, speed and design, the automotive creation of Preston Tucker fell victim to legal issues and went out of business after rolling just 50 Tuckers off the assembly line. "After it fell by the wayside I never thought any more about it," John tells us. That is, until he and his old flame were reunited in a museum many years later. "Seeing it piqued my interest again," John says. 

Now into his retirement years, the timing was perfect. "After seeing it again I wound up joining the Tucker Car Club and got involved with it," John tells us. That involvement led to a friendship with the club's president, who thought of John when he came across new stock parts for a Tucker. "It had never been put together," John says. "I wound up buying it, and after about eight years or so I finally had the car put together with the help of a fine restorer."

The car that had first caught John's eye as a young boy was now his. And John tells us the Tucker has lived up to all of his boyhood dreams throughout the 10 years that the two have been together. "I've driven it about 100 miles in the time I've owned it," John says. "The car's design is very sleek and also very fast. It has a helicopter engine, and in 1948 it went from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds. It was the fastest car in the United States at that time."

But John has decided it's time for someone else to enjoy his beloved Tucker. So on Aug. 31, 2019, in Auburn, Indiana, he'll be auctioning it off — with all proceeds going to cancer research at Mayo Clinic. "I've been coming to Mayo Clinic myself for about 30 years and they've saved my life at least once," John says. "My late wife Barbara was also treated for lung cancer at Mayo, and so I've decided I'd like the money to go to Mayo in her name to help develop more and better treatments."

Wendy Frost in the Office of Gift Planning at Mayo Clinic tells us that's exactly what the gift will do. "It's been a complete pleasure to work with Mr. Schuler and an honor for Mayo Clinic to be the recipient of the proceeds from the sale of his iconic automobile," she says. "His unique gift will help fuel new advances in cancer research at Mayo Clinic that will impact patients and their families for years to come."

You can listen to John talk more about his car, and his reasons for selling it, here. And if you'd like to help him raise money for cancer research at Mayo Clinic, you can make a donation in his name here. Then be sure to donate your comments below before using the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.