I retired my Checker from taxi service in 2002. The odometer has turned over several times, but the engine, transmission, differential, paint, dash, door panels, handles, straps, cranks, headliner, and trim, etc. are still original. Added A/C, carpet, and recovered the seats in 2000. Instead of 200 miles a day, it'll probably be more like 20 now. Some are keepers.
Checker was known for building VERY durable cars before Japanese companies came on the scene and kicked everything up a notch.
So, yeah, people who wanted something that would REALLY last in the 50's 60's and 70's often bought Checker cars.
It's funny that you owned a Studebaker previously; although my Dad never owned a Checker, he always considered buying one... he ended up buying a Honda in 76 and has stuck with those ever since, but he still likes the idea of the old Checker, and he did happen to buy a Stude brand new back in 1951. It was one of those old fangeled Bulletnose Champions. So yeah moral of the story, power to those quirky people with oddball cars who know a good thing.
I make no claims of ever having owned a Checker, but I wanted to share about one that a family in my hometown owned when I was growing up.
I'm not positive what year it was, though I think it was a 1964 Checker; it was fitted out as a real limousine, with elegant gray broadcloth upholstery in the rear compartment and a window between driver and passengers. Their handyman (who doubled as the family's driver when they used the car) told everyone that it was hideously underpowered, which makes me wonder if it had a six cylinder engine, but it made quite a show since it appeared to be about a mile long, in gleaming jet black with whitewall tires and full wheel discs.
The owners had other cars and mostly used the Checker to drive them to the nearest city or airport. They were wealthy and had moved to our small town in North Carolina from Canada, though they also owned a hotel in Ft Lauderdale, Fla. They left our area to live in Florida full time around 1970 and I have no idea what happened to that very distinctive Checker limousine.
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