Das Dutchman Essenhaus is a unique Amish style restaurant located in Middlebury, Indiana close to Shipshewana in the heart of Amish country. A major tourist attraction during the Summer, the Essenhaus features many attractions. One of the those atttractions is the weekly Summer Cruz–in every Thursday nights. On June 28th the Essenhaus honored our favorite cars, Checkers.
Here at the ICTA we love to feature as much up to date Checker news and are happy to report on the full showing of Checkers at the event. Checkers from as far as Colorado and Georgia made and appearance. A total of ten Checkers showed up predominantly from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. With the exception of three cars from Maryland, Georgia and Colorado, this was really a regional event.
Coming from Colorado, was a 1973 Checker A12w. The wagon was very interesting, It appeared dry and rust free, only minor rusting could be found in the rain gutters. Solid yes, clean no, it really appeared that the wagon had not been wash or polished in ten years, granted it did just travel the country so it would be expected to have a good amount of road film, so we can let is slide. Considering that the cargo bay was filled with parts, it’s probably safe to say that the rare bird is more likely a working car than a show car.
From Georgia, owner Paul Worth showed up in his 1973 Marathon A12. Equipped with mag wheels and custom LED lights, the aqua Checker shows very well. This car has appeared at virtually every Checker show over the last 18 years. It’s clearly a strong performer given its appearance at many Checker shows.
John Weinhoeft made the trip from Springfield, Illinois. Like the Worth Checker, John’s 81 Checker has traveled across the country to Checker shows for close to 18 years. Showing a little wear, this Checker held the center spot of the line-up. John’s Checker was one of three Winkoff’s displayed at the Essenhaus show.
A very nice baby blue 1966 baby blue and white Checker appeared at the show. Wearing Illinois plates, this writer was not familiar with the car. A stand out, the Checker sported poverty cap on off white wheels with white wall. The overall appearance is quite striking.
Tony Mattern drove up from Maryland in a 1967 Checker A12. This another one of the hard core Checker that has appeared at many shows over the years. The Marathon is interesting as the car wears the 67-only Checker wheel covers.
Bill Beurken’s showed up with perhaps the most stunning Checker Aerobus 15 that exists (see header). Its clear that no expense was spared when restored the results are fabulous. Black paint is perhaps the hardest paint color to use when restoring, that did not stop Bill from painting the entire Checker the very difficult color. The Checker’s paint job demonstrates a mirror like finish. No expense was spared on the interior, it too demonstrates a top quality concourse condition.
Tim and Zandra Bower displayed their Checker Winkoff. Painted white with a maroon vinyl roof, the Bowers cars displays very well. Unlike most Winkoff’s which are somewhat gaudy, the Bower’s cars sports classic looks. Aluminum bumpers polished to a chrome like shine, simulated wire wheels and chrome bumper add to the spotless appearance. Tim and Zandra have done a great job of maintaining this car over the years. This Checker appears in the 1996 Kalamazoo video, its appearance on 2018 is just as nice as it was in 1996.
There was another Winkoff at the show, the total opposite of the Bower’s car, the other Winkoff wore a pimped out two tone paint job with opera windows and lamps. The overall condition is challenging, with dull paint and scratches. The rough Winkoff did display unique bumper placement, the girder bumpers were mounted without shock absorbers, so the bumper hugged the body. Within the Checker hobby, show cars are twenty-footers are always popular, so it’s certainly fun to see a Checker fix-her-upper.
John Wilkinson of Illinois displayed a very nice 73. It was clear, like the Beurkens Aerobus, no expense was spared restoring the Marathon. The Checker wore a very pleasant light metallic blue paint job, the color popularized by General Motors in the 1960’s.
All in all it was a great display, unfortunately the number of Checkers that get shown gets smaller every year. It’s interesting to note that all the Checkers displayed were civilian Checkers, not taxicabs. Not sure if that represents a new trend, but this writer expected to see a least one Checker taxicab
A full video of all cars has been loaded to the Checker Taxi Stand channel of YouTube.