1972 Checker A12 marathon chevy 5.7L from North America


Reliable, affordable, fun and comfortable


Chevy head gasket blew at 300,000.

General Comments:

For general information on Checker Marathon A12.

I purchased a Marathon new in August of 72 in NYC.

It was delivered defect-less and in silver metallic paint. I moved to Florida 6 months later and after about 3 years in Florida the paint checked badly.

I had the car painted with single stage urethane in Mercedes Tobacco Brown 423 and the first sign of any wear was on the right rear fender in 2001, which I had professionally retouched. The rest of the paint job is as good as new.

The car has been a daily driver since 72 and has over 325k miles virtually all city. In late 2001 at about 300k miles the chevy 5.7 engine blew head gaskets, so I replaced it with a Chevy 5.7 crate engine and while at it, added electronic ignition from MSD. I have been delighted with the ignition and have used the same wires and plugs that were put in in 2001 with the engine.

I strongly recommend electronic ignition, it is amazing. Performance is wonderful and no-tune ups needed!

The body is as solid as new and has minor rust at 2 door tips, which will be redone.

I cannot tell you how many thousands of people have shouted 'nice car' as I drove by or how many have asked hundreds of questions over the 35 or so years, at stop lights, or in parking lots etc.

The car has been, and continues to be an absolute joy to own and drive.

You all might enjoy this little story: On the day I picked up the car from the dealer in Long Island City, N.Y.

I drove about 5 blocks from the dealership and stopped at a red light. A guy next to me shouted out "Hey man you keep that car in great condition!!!" I knew then that owning this Checker would be great fun, and it sure has been!

For general knowledge: I am on 3rd Radiator, 2nd Alternator, 3rd master cylinder, 2nd Booster, 5th battery, 2nd battery holder, 3rd starter, 3rd muffler and First front end rebuild at 20 years. Pretty good for all those years!

Happy motoring to all from the Sunshine State!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th June, 2006

13th Jun 2006, 09:00

Yes, buying a Checker was about as close as you could get to buying a brand-new 1950's car 20 years later.

1971 Checker A12 Marathon 350 GM V8 (4 bolt mains, high nickel block from North America


A great alternative to a Mommyvan.


I launched the car off a "humped" road crossing and landed on a raised manhole cover (the road was being fixed and I was driving too fast) cracking the frame cross-member beneath the engine.

General Comments:

The only bad habit is fuel consumption. With heavy springs, good shocks, and a fast ratio steering box it handles fine. Small block Chevy V8's can make as much power as you want to pay for.

I enjoy driving it every day.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2005

21st Feb 2005, 12:31

Hmm--you say you bought this car in 2000, at which point Checker had already been out of production for almost two decades, and before that you had a Studebaker Lark, which was last built nearly twice as long ago.

Either you have a penchant for old, oddball cars... or this is just another made-up review.

1972 Checker A12 Marathon 350 V8 gasoline from North America


One of the most fun cars I have ever owned


Power steering hose too close to exhaust manifold. Replaced twice in three years.

Timing chain slipped at 160,000 miles.

Rust at tops of fenders and in trunk, typical for Checker. Body solid otherwise.

Aside from that, just routine maintenance.

General Comments:

The Checker brings a smile to everyone's face and they all want to talk about when they rode one to their grandmother's house, to the airport, to the Statue of Liberty, etc. And mine isn't even painted like a taxi!

A big hit at car shows. Put one beside a Corvette, Mustang, or '57 Chevy and see which one gets the most attention!

Unbeatable passenger compartment legroom and headroom. Smooth ride, fair performance and predictable handling for a three-ton automobile.

Chevrolet drive train reliable, easy and inexpensive to maintain, customize and repair. Body parts becoming difficult to find.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 8th April, 2004

9th Apr 2004, 10:02

There were NO Checker reviews on this site and then suddenly four show up within the last two weeks and all indicate that they still own the car.

There are enough similarities in the writing style to indicate that all the reviews were written by the same person and therefore some or all of them may be bogus.

14th Apr 2004, 20:18

Wow! Conspiracy? No. Checker owners are a close fraternal order. News travels quickly. Besides Checker owners have no need to brag.

3rd Jun 2004, 21:13

Writing styles similar? What, English??? I sincerely doubt that these are "bogus" reviews. Do you think they are planning to reintroduce the car and trying to make a plug for it?

12th Jul 2004, 19:02

Own 72 Marathon, easiest car to work on I have ever owned

Best combination of handling and ride too.

6th Apr 2006, 21:06

Yes. I have to admit. My four english-speaking personalities love the Checker.

24th May 2018, 15:50

Really? What about the non-English speaking ones?

1976 Checker A12 Marathon 250cc 6-cylinder from North America


I replaced the carburetor.

I had the engine re-sealed.

The headliner needs to be replaced.

I had the electrical wiring re-done and re-checked a number of times.

The air conditioning and heating units had to be repaired.

General Comments:

Despite the low ratings and some of the things that have gone wrong with my Checker, it's been worth the time and expense.

The Checker is a unique automobile, and for all the hassles, it's worth the pleasure of driving it and receiving the recognition from people when they see it. People at work are always asking about it, and I get a lot of "thumbs-up" from people when they see it on the road.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd March, 2004