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Everything posted by Hinckley

  1. I am in the final stages of writing a book for History Press that chronicles the evolution of the American taxi industry, 1895 to present. At this stage I am seeking photos suitable for use as illustrations (high res, minimum 300dpi). Photos or leads would be most appreciated. Thank you. .
  2. A new book project required a week long exploration of Route 66. Along the way I made a few interesting discoveries. In Carthage, Missouri, I found a long closed garage with a De Soto Plymouth sign hanging on the corner. ROUTE 66 CHRONICLES: IT IS A LIVING TIME CAPSULE WITH AN OVERLAY OF DISNEYLAND Bristow, Oklahoma had an operational Ford dealer in a building unchanged since at least the mid 1930s and in El Reno, Oklahoma there was another closed dealership with a Chevy bow tie in stone over the door. In the next few weeks, as a I sort out photos, I will post a few of the more interesting discoveries from the trip.
  3. Yes! I was trying to remember where I saw an emblem with script at this angle. I though Buick but the lights and hood just didn't seem right. Thank you. Pretty cool picture.
  4. A friend sent this photo discovered in his research about Route 66 and the National Old Trails Highway. To date this photo we were examining the car. My best guess is Buick, 1915, plus or minus a year. It doesn't look like an old car in the photo. https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/hlbLbWxWRGKKUMS9sbQw-9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=email
  5. At the risk of sounding like a name dropper, I was at Jay Leno's garage in November to record a couple of interviews and we discussed this as he was adding a hidden disc brake system to a Doble.
  6. During the period between 1900 and 1920 it seems every town was trying to land an automobile manufacturer including Enid, OKlahoma (the Geronimo). However, as noted, the money and resources were centralized in southern Michigan. Take a Look at Jackson as an example. David Lyon wrote an interesting book entitled the Kalamazoo Automobilist that is a fascinating, well researced study on the rise of the auto industry. It explains the reasons for the industries development in southern Michigan with clarity.
  7. Another reason for the scarcity of Checker built vehicles is a program where Checker took old models in trade, refurbished them, and then sold them overseas. The prewar models are some of the more interesting ones. There were models built in conjunction with the Auburn Saf-T-Cab, styling touches by Dietrich, and an odd "Suburban" model promoted as a one ton, nine passenger station wagon that converted into a hearse or panel truck.
  8. As a footnote to this story, Reeves initial foray into automobile production was to promote a VST transmission of his design.
  9. To answer a few questions that have popped here. First, as I recall the red and black Checker is actually a 1940 Model A. When I wrote the book this car was on display in Kalamazoo and was the only known model to exist at that time. In fact, when I did the research on Checker I was quite surprised to learn there were less than two dozen existent models known to represent the years from 1922 to 1958. My initial point was surprise at the obscurity of Checker history. Everyone recognizes the last generation cabs and I think we can all agree styling was not the high point of these cars. Still, this is a manufacturer that produced automobiles for sixty years, has roots going back even further, and that continued producing automotive components for another twenty years after automobile production was discontinued. You have a rags to riches immigrant story in the founder, direct association with E.L.Cord (there was an early Checker at the ACD museum in Auburn), and extensive innovation including the first use of a diesel engine in a mass produced American passenger car. This is a company that was building four wheel drive, four wheel steering vehicles in 1940 and various versions of transaxle models in 1946. The company built city busses, trucks, station wagons, ambulances, a wide array of specialty vehicles, and even limos for the state department. So, again, why the obscurity?
  10. I am curious about Patriot and Republic trucks, specifically with Hinckley or Hinkley engines.
  11. You might check around the DeSotoland website and forum.
  12. When writing the book on Checker another collector told me of Bob Hinckley. No relation but it gets even stranger - my dad is Robert "Bob" Hinckley.
  13. This is a Model M Checker. A dramatic change from the boxy, work horses of the 1960s and 1970s.
  14. Your right about the wheels being driven off Checkers. An industry study conducted in 1927 found that 60% of all Checker buillt cabs were still on the road. Additionally, many had clocked more than 240,000 miles. In later years, Checker had a program where they took old cabs in trade, refurbished them, and then sold them overseas. This coupled with low production equals rarity. When I wrote this book there were less than 20 models manufactured between 1922 and 1958 still existent.
  15. This is a great movie if you want to look for old cars. Its more than corny but it was meant to be silly. We watched this again a few nightss ago and it was the cars in the background and on the streets that interested me the most.
  16. The cars of the last generation, 1960 to 1982, were odd, mixed bags with outdated styling but there were exceptions. A prime example would be the Winkoff coversions that featured two twon paint and chrome trim. However, from an historic standpoint, as noted previously, the obscurity is quite surprising - diesel engine option in the 1960s, power rear seat option in the station wagons, association with Ed Cole, etc. It is the 1922 to 1958 period that is most interesting. The company built busses and trucks, interesting models that easily converted for different uses, joint projects with Auburn, had association with legendary designers such as Dietrich, and even patented body features such as power operated landau tops. There were units with transaxles and four wheel steering. Export specific models and a program where used cabs were refurbished and sold overseas. Then there is a the founder, Marris Markin. A rags to riches story that starts with a poor Russian immigrant and that has association with Hertz, E.L. Cord, and others.
  17. Wonderful! I find the pre 1930 trucks most interesting.
  18. I ran across one a few years ago that seems to have been designed to ensure the truck did not sell. The ad noted it was an International Scout, diesel, two wheel drive, with extensive rust and a bad transmission. The closing line was that the roll over had not damaged the windshield.
  19. That was pretty much my opinion until a few years ago. Checker and Jeep, birds of a feather. Durable, utilitarian, and as exciting as a hammer. Period. However, in my research I discovered another side to Checker. The model M (the yellow, early 1930s car in the Jay Leno interview) featured truly classic styling. In working with Keith Marvin several years ago we discovered that at least a couple of roadsters were built for the Blue Book road mapping folks in the 1920s. Then there was the model M Suburban Utility promoted as a 1 ton, nine passenger wagon that converted into a hearse or panel truck! During the association with E.L. Cord the Checker and Auburn Saf-t-Cab shared numerous components. In the 1940s the company experimented with front wheel drive cabs as well as rear engine transaxle models. At the Gilmore Museum is a circa 1940 Jeep prototype built by Checker that has four wheel steering as well as four wheel drive. There was experimentation with the use of diesel engines in the 1950s and production models available with Perkins diesel engines in the 1960s. I fully understand the lack of interest in Checker from a collector standpoint. As you noted people collect cars that they were drawn to as a kid or from envy and Checker does not fit in either category. Still, from an historical perspective I find the obscurity of the cars and company interesting.
  20. About a month ago I sat down with Jay Leno to plug a book written about the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company. During our conversation I fully realized that Checker may be the most overlooked American independent automobile manufacturer. Jay's Book Club: Checker Cab Co. - Book Club - Jay Leno's Garage I have to admit that before writing this book, Checker, like Jeep, was not a vehicle that was given a great deal of thought. In consideration of their amazing ability to transform existent vehicles into niche market products, the association with E.L. Cord, and some of the stylish vehicles built during the 1930s, I am surprised the history of the cars and company are so obscure. When was the last time you saw a pre 1960 Checker? Would anyone care to give their thoughts about why this company is so obscure?
  21. A friend of mine notified me of an upcoming auction in my neck of the woods that I thought might be of interest. Auction Dynamics of Kingman, Arizona - Auctioneer In addition to lots of tools there are several TT trucks in need of complete restoration, T parts, a 1930 Essex, a couple of Model A trucks, misc. parts, and other items.
  22. I may be able to assist. I eat, drink, and sleep vintage automobiles, have sniffed out some interesting places on Route 66 ( a Packard museum with a 1941 Huppmobile in Afton, Oklahoma), was an associate editor with Cars & Parts, have written several books on Route 66, and am a member of the Kingman Route 66 Association. If you would like to drop an email it might be easier in regards to lengthy correspondence. jimhinckley@yahoo.com
  23. I have been giving thought to something in the upper mid price range and was looking at a Canon Eos D50. Anyone?
  24. One story that has always stuck in my head was the tale of an aluminum T. My dad swore up and down that when he torched an early T it melted as it was aluminum. Now, I have never heard of an aluminum bodied T but... He scrap business commenced almost immediatly after the war and began with the stuff in his dads barn - a Jackson, a Maxwell, and a small heard of discarded trucks from the pre 1930 period. My grandfather was involved in property development in Jackson as well as a prolific inventor during the period before the Great Depression. Perhaps his most famous endeavor was the specialty tool company Hinckley/Myers. He also had association with David Buick during the short period when Buick was built in Jackson. I never knew the man as he died before my birth. However, it was a photo of my grandfather with Henry Ford on the front porch of the house on Hinckley Boulevard that sparked an interest in automotive history. As to WWII airplane scrapping take a google search for the Kingman Army Airfield. You will be amazed at the vast field of aircraft that were destroyed here.
  25. My father opened a wrecking yard/service station/used car lot in about 1949 in a town to the east of Detroit. For years he had a box of photographs of interesting cars acquired that illustrates just how little value early cars had during this period. Regardless of condition, he wouldn't even try to sell pre 1920 cars. These all went for scrap. They would hammer the brass off the cars, dump the remnants in a quarry, and burn the wood and upholstery out. As an example of how nice some of these cars were, for more than twenty years the Ford dealer kept a large red pre T Ford on the showroom floor. He talked my dad into selling it for $25 as part of the down payment on a new 1953 Ford truck. At the time of purchase this classic was on a trailer. My dad was taking it to the yard for scrap. My dad obtained the car from the original owner for the trade of a used typewriter and a $5.00 bill. The car was unrestored and still had the white tires. In the unrestored condition the car was cleaned, polished and used as a display until about 1974. When we moved back to Michigan in 1973 one of my first stops was this Ford dealer. After hearing the stories I had to see that car. Model A Fords were a hot commodity sold to kids and those on a tight budget. Big cars such as KB Lincolns and Auburns were made into trucks as that was the only way he could sell them. The Ford T was a marginal product. Only the very best were kept and sold.