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Hinckley

Checker: The Forgotten Independent

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Great thread! I own 5 vintage Checker.

Why are they forgotten?

1. These cars were purpose built workhorses, essentially personal subway cars. In many ways its really hard to view these vehicles as cars

2. Given 99.9% were produced for the taxi market, they were run till the wheels fell off.

3. Once the wheels fell off, they were used for parts and scrapped.

How many are left? I have documented 30 vehicles/buses/taxi survivors built between 1922 and 1960.

Here is a little 8 minute video you might find interesting

Nice video! Thank you for sharing it.

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Guest my3buicks

Thanks, very informative and educational!!

I am assuming the Checkers with the cut out front fenders was to lesson damage in city driving? Is that a fair assumption?

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You are correct. Checker claimed that damaged vehicles could be repaired and put back in service in minutes. Even with full fenders on new models they could be changed out in less than 30 minutes.

Some fenders could also be interchanged on other newer Checker models. This allowed cab companies to deplete their entire obsolete inventory. Its impossible to find any single headlight fenders as all left overs were eventually used on dual headlight cars.

The key to pre 1960 survival:

1. After taxi service they were purchased as props for movie production

2. After taxi service purchased by a farmer and put into farm service (tractor conversion)

3. Original owner did not use as a taxi

4. Original special body use (Hearse) or tow truck conversion for the taxi fleet.

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Great film, thanks so much. I never knew that after 1982 Checker remained associated with GM. Nice memory of a time, when I was young.

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I grew up in Kalamazoo where Checkers were quite a common sight, not just the cabs but the A-12 and A-12E (long wheelbase) models as well. While only a few people had wagons, there were a LOT of sedans. My parents had one when they first got married and my grandparents were impressed enough to buy one too. Over the years my parents owned 7-8 more, I owned two and my uncle had one. All but one had GM drivetrains (the remaining car had Continental power) and all but one of the GM engines were 8's. The V-6 powered car was pretty economical but anemic as well. Our family tends to agree that the '67 sedan with jump seats and 327 power was the best car we ever owned. While styling is a subjective matter, I quite liked the looks of Checkers. I would respectfully suggest the naysayers take a close look at a '57 Checker and compare its appearance to a '58 GM anything, particularly their base model 4-door sedans. Not a lot of difference there between the "ugly" Checker and the "attractive" Chevy Biscane methinks. Just one man's opinion.

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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.

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Turner Classic Movies TCM cable has the 20s-30s Ben Blue & Billy Gilbert "Taxi Boys" Hal Roach comedy series movies on today 1/19/11 until 2:00 PM EST !

Check-it-Out~~~

If You Can !

I had never seen the Hal Roach "Taxi Boys" series of movies before today !

Have You ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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I saw a couple episodes of the Taxi boys. Much appeal to us but not so much to the rest of the world. I guess that's why they are seldom shown ,compared to other Hal Roach Comedies.

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what a very informative video, i never knew that checker cabs existed before the the 1958 body style. some very nice styling before the 1958 model. thank you, charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor.

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