Mark your calendars!  The Midwest Bus Museum Kick Off Party:  September 17th, 18th & 19th.  Richmond, Illinois.

After much debate and consideration concerning the pandemic, we have made the decision to move forward with the meet and with special restrictions rules, we feel we can have the meet.  According to the organizer Emerson Zentz, beyond the meet up for buses, the plans also also include the invitation of Checker taxicabs!  A traditional meet up an show, the plans  include a photo shoot and trip to the Illinois Railway Museum.

2017 Illinois Rail Museum

More information to follow as plans for the event firm up. The Midwest Bus Museum was incorporated in January of 2020 with the purpose of preserving bus transportation history with an emphasis on North American school buses.

It seems very apparent that the old car hobby is in the midst of change. Attend any vintage car or truck event and its clear that the demographics of those attending are shifting to an older crowd. The hobby is clearly in decline, but there are solutions to enhance the old car and bus experience.

We’ve seen some other recent developments in the hobby that indicate that groups and clubs are shifting. As the groups get smaller, we can see like-minded individuals forming new alliances, case in point, the Tucker Club and the AACA. The two organization merged in 2017, to consolidate membership and unite.

The Checker fan base has shrunk over the years, getting more than ten Checkers to an event is a challenge. Kalamazoo will always generate more cars given the strong local bond, that said, getting more than twenty cars has been a challenge for Kazoo for over ten years.

So where is the Checker hobby going? Perhaps Checker fans will start to migrate to the mass transit hobby. Checker A11 taxicabs are very much like mini buses. The standard Checker Taxicab model,  like a bus will have rubber or linoleum floors, heavy duty grade bus upholstery and even chrome grab rails.  Checker introduced the Aerobus in the 60’s.  Checker even produced a full size transit bus in the early 50’s. Maybe we share some common bounds with bus fans?

Zentz’ fleet

ICTA member Emerson Zentz also is the proud owner of a GMC “New Look” bus as well as a west coast built Crown and Gillig bus. Emerson showed up to an ICTA event  in his Crown bus, so it’s pretty clear there is some synergy between Checker and Bus fans.

In 2018 the ICTA held its show at the Union Illinois Rail Museum, it was great to see our Checker alongside buses, trolleys and trains. Dan Diamond, grounds keeper of the museum made it very clear, “We’re all like-minded people, we need to stick together”.  As we watch the hobby shrink, let’s be open minded and think about ways to partner with other groups or clubs.

Link to the Midwest Bus Museum Facebook Page

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