I wish I knew the answer, but this writer does not. Did Checker produce wagons with cowhide seats? Seems preposterous, yet we have some evidence, but we also have evidence that CMC didn’t include cowhide as an available item, so we have the mystery of the cowhide seats.
Let’s start with evidence that suggests that cowhide seats were available. Deep from the archive several photos can be found fr that depicted a wagon with cowhide seats. The series of photo were taken outside of the CMC Kalamazoo headquarters. The manufacture license plates indicate that the photos are from 1959. It’s also interesting to note that the wagon is equipped with old style bumpers lacking the center dip. In these photos we can see that the seats are powered up from and that the material appears to be vinyl as opposed to actual cowhides.
We also have a photo of a cowhide wagon shot at what appears to be at an automobile show. It’s interesting to note that this Checkers appears to be a lighter color wagon, when compared to the photos above. Based on the photos it can be assumed that there were at least two car produced with simulated cowhide. This wagon also appears like the one above to be an early model with the old style bumpers.
That all said, we also have contradictory evidence: The fall 1960 Checker price list. A full list many items are listed, including power front and rear seats. The list also mentions broadcloth upholstery option, but no mention of cowhide.
So we have the mystery of cowhide, was it really available as a option or are these wagons specially made early production show cars. Did someone at CMC smartly say “hell no” to cowhide? Perhaps maybe some of our ICTA super sleuths can come up with the answer?
If you can confirm, please contact us at the ICTA.