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Thread: The Humble Checker Cab

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by 56H-Y6 View Post
    Checker started its public sales of Superba and Marathon for the 1960 model year, along with their primary commercial taxi business. In the era of annual styling changes, the unchanging approach was promoted as an advantage, same as VW. Their reputation as rugged, purpose-built, long-lived transportation was directed to the no nonsense niche buyers who would gladly pay extra for such a car. If driven for enough years, buyers likely got the value out of the car. Rust and poor gas mileage were the main drawbacks for private ownership. Checkers in taxi operation were pretty thoroughly beat up by eight to ten years of daily operation, hence the low survival rate.

    Had the 'pleasure' to ride about sixty mile round-trip in a 8-door Checker Aero Bus while in college. Riding in it was like being jostled around hard in a 55 gallon oil drum with guys beating on it with ball-peen hammers. Whenever we'd stop, all the doors would instantly fly open, everyone would fall out stumbling from the rough, noisy ride.

    Steve
    I agree with your comments generally, except I don't think the gas mileage was all that bad in our car. It was funny, the car was rugged in some ways, but the wagon body had lots of noise and structural shake. But the ride was comfortable despite that. And yes, rust was definitely a problem with it here in Western Pennsylvania. The body was getting pretty bad after 6 years or so.

  2. #42
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    In one of the recent newspapers it was stated that Checker Cab was founded 95 years ago.

  3. #43
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    A few years ago, my wife and I stumbled on a Checker Club meet that was being held at the Inn at St. Mary's, right by Notre Dame, after visiting the antique stores in Niles, MI.

    We had fun walking through the 30 or so cars there, and talking with the owners. My favorite was a white with black vinyl roof loaded "Civilian" version from the last couple years of production (80-82). I'm old enough to have ridden in a NYC Checker Cab on my first trip to the city in the 1980's.

    The 5MPH Bumper law in the 70's really made them look akward. But, I did love that late production white one. Always had a soft spot for the Kalamazoo Wonders.

  4. #44
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    "Civilian" Checkers almost always seem to have been driven by people who would be considered an iconoclast, one who proudly displays his attitude to go against the prevailing trends. In the 1930's, Chicago utilities magnate Sam Insull had an armored Checker to be chauffeured in to be inconspicuous in what could be dangerous times for the wealthy.

    Steve

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by 56H-Y6 View Post
    "Civilian" Checkers almost always seem to have been driven by people who would be considered an iconoclast, one who proudly displays his attitude to go against the prevailing trends. In the 1930's, Chicago utilities magnate Sam Insull had an armored Checker to be chauffeured in to be inconspicuous in what could be dangerous times for the wealthy.

    Steve
    Steve, I agree with your iconoclast statement. In my Dad's case, he was an engineer whose taste in cars was very conservative for a long time, and I think that's why the Checker appealed to him at the time. He started driving in the 1930s and didn't buy a car with a V-8 until 1967. In his later years, his car purchases were much more mainstream. It could be that the Checker helped to show him that there was a better way to go!

  6. #46
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    One more Checker story and I promise I'll quit: in 1971 I spotted another Checker wagon at a used car dealership about 15 miles away. My brother and I went to look at it. It was medium/dark blue with a Chevy V-8. We were quite interested in testing it because we always wondered how it would be to drive a V-8 Checker, as ours had the Continental 6. The salesman agreed to a test drive. My brother was driving. We pulled out of the dealership and my brother didn't even get into high gear before the hood flew up and back all the way over the windshield. He got the car stopped and we forced the hood down enough to creep back to the dealership, where we found the hood would need a lot of skilled bodyman help to ever be usable again. We thanked the guy for his time and promptly left the premises.
    Last edited by Blue 15G; 06-20-2018 at 08:34 AM.

  7. #47
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    Some years ago a Checker owner contacted me for some Studebaker parts common to Checkers. My memory is pretty weak, but as I remember, he was looking for the '47 to '53 brake self-adjusters which I did have.

    Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
    '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

  8. #48
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    Re: Checkers. Here is what I've seen with my own eyes: Very early 1970's Checker Cab, that used a Chevy steering column and 307 Chevy engine, which was apparently OEM. Also, mid-60;s Checker for sale at a swap meet a few years back. It was rough and rusty & minus the engine; but the automatic transmission was still there. Guess what it was? A Chevy bellhousing bolt-pattern Ford-O-matic or FMX, about like what you'd find in a 65-66 Studebaker, I guess. But, yeah---the interior was roomy & they even made station wagons.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reggie View Post
    Guess what it was? A Chevy bellhousing bolt-pattern Ford-O-matic or FMX, about like what you'd find in a 65-66 Studebaker, I guess.
    You are correct: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...WENT-TO-CANADA

    Craig

  10. #50
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    I can't believe this thread has gone this long without a mention of their wheelcovers: same stamping as Studebaker 59-up, except for the center logo. Had a great photo of one, but it's on my old computer.

    (Can be seen in post #26.)
    KURTRUK
    (read it backwards)




    Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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