Coppola had a certain amount of personal affinity with the short-lived legacy of Preston Tucker. His father, Carmine Coppola, had been one of the original investors in Tucker stock and purchased one of the cars off the production line. Coppola included the involvement of Preston Tucker's children, grandchildren and members of the Tucker Estate during the development of Tucker in the late 1970s, as well as during filming in 1987. Coppola and Lucas acknowledged that they purposely intended to portray Tucker in an entirely sympathetic way. Both filmmakers each owned two Tuckers, although Lucas eventually sold one of his cars in September 2005 for $385,500. The Tucker Automobile Club made up of a legion of Tucker owners and collectors pronounced in their trade journal, TACA, that the "basic theme of the movie is quite accurate..." although "the film compresses time and often takes artistic license with facts in order to more effectively present the story."
Anahid Nazarian, Coppola's librarian, spoke of the historical inaccuracies. "Preston Tucker didn't really have an assembly line; there's one in the film. He actually had five kids; there are only four in the film. Our story takes place in one year; the real story took place over four years. People who know the story will find a lot of what they call errors. I'm sure I'll be deluged with letters." Nazarian's research, collected over several years, consisted of books, some 350 articles, interviews with the Tucker family, hundreds of photographs, home movies and information from the Tucker Automobile Club of America who the production company considered important arbiters of the Tucker mystique. "We knew the facts," she continued, "but to fit the spirit of the story in a film that is exciting and has characters you love and characters you hate - that made us change a lot of things. Things like the president of the Tucker Company was a good guy really, but we needed a villain, so we made him a villain." Alex Tremulis who served as one of the historical consultants during production, is depicted as the chief car designer of the Tucker Torpedo rather than as the stylist, and the film ignores the involvement of designer Philip Egan.