Thanks to innumerable appearances in movies and television shows, the classic bright yellow Checker taxicab is easily one of the most recognisable vehicles in the world. And, in the same manner that the Stars and Stripes, a Coca-Cola sign, the Statue of Liberty and a NY Yankees baseball cap are all instantly identifiable American symbols, the Checker taxi is one automobile that will forever be associated with the USA.
The origins of the Checker company has many branches and can be traced as far back as to 1908, when the De Schaum Motor Syndicate Company of Buffalo, New York, started making cars. Many mergers, takeovers and relocations followed before automotive history was made when the first Checker taxi was introduced by the Commonwealth Motors Corporation.
The Checker Cab Manufacturing Company was founded in 1922, and the following year the business moved into a factory at Kalamazoo, Michigan, where it was to remain in existence for 86 years. The company name changed to Checker Motors Corporation in 1958.
Apart from a brief flirtation with the Transit bus in the late '40s and early '50s, Checker built nothing but taxis from 1923 until 1959, which was when the company started making passenger car variants alongside the cab model. An eight-passenger Town Limousine arrived in 1962, followed by the eight-door Aerobus station wagon in '64. However, production declined steadily from the Sixties onwards, sales not helped by the fact that the design remained virtually unchanged from 1956, and the last Checker taxi was built on 12th July 1982.
From then on, until its closure in 2009, the Checker factory in Kalamazoo only produced body panels and steel pressings for other manufacturers, most notably various divisions of General Motors. Although the familiar fleets of working Checker taxis as seen on the cinema and TV screens have long since disappeared from the busy streets of New York and other major US cities, these iconic yellow cabs are still used for special occasions and preserved examples can now be found in many countries around the globe.
This portfolio covers the final 25 years of production up to 1982. Included are road tests, new model updates, performance data, plus a comprehensive history. Models reported on include, Superba, Supercab, Marathon & Limousine plus the 9 & 12 seater Aerobus.