We at the ICTA love Checkers, so passionate about them, we constantly seek information, data and general information about all things Checker. We maintain a registry and track as many Checker sales as possible. Over the last two years, we have tracked over 350 Checker sales, but sometimes a Checker can slip through the cracks.
In this blog we’ ll present several interesting Checkers that essentially went missing. Some are restorable, some are not. That said, were still happy to get them registered and back in our system.
First up is the header car, a mid 50’s Checker A8. To date we have been aware of three restored A8s and one under restoration. The ICTA was aware of the fifth, Checker A8, but it was unclear if it had been crushed. We typically need recent photographic evidence.
We recently learned from its owner Michael Anderson of Jonesboro, Arkansas, that the Checker A8 still survives. According to Michael, “it was given to me by my grandfather but it’s in rough shape. I’m working on getting it to my shop to get it out of the weather “. We wish the best of luck to Michael, it would be great to see another Checker A8 on the road!
The next two are real rare birds, a 1929 Checker Model K and 1931 Checker Model M Taxicabs. Owned by Stan Smith of Langhome, PA. both units came from the Pittsburgh Yellow Cab operation in Pittsburgh, PA. Apparently these to units were parked deep in the woods at a summer home owned by the owners of Yellow Cab. These estate cars served the family for many years while on summer holidays. Unfortunately these wood bodied Checker were stored outside, over 60 years of weather clearly had an impact on both cars. The bodies are gone, wood rotted, these units now display on the chassis, fenders and front cowl.
Based on their current condition, its unclear if these cars will ever be restored. Significant rust removal and chrome plating would be required. Mostly like striping the metal of rust would yield clean sheets of metal that look like swiss cheese. That said, it might be interesting to see these cars restored as cowl forward models. Checker did offer cowl forward models to coach builders. so cowl forward units would be appropriate from a historical perspective. It might also be possible to restore and present as a pickup truck conversion.
Speaking of pickup truck conversion. Another interesting Checker just recently came back into the public eye. A 1967 Checker Pickup conversion now owned by Frederic Boulant of France. According to former owner Ben Merkel, “The 67 Checkup was built by Checker dealer Hillis Motors in Portland, OR from a wrecked A12E and they used it to haul motorcycles, which they also sold (at the dealership)”. Ben sold the pickup to a wealthy Paris collector about 12 years ago.
According to Frederic that collector “had little interest in the truck and badly stored at his country house in Brittany, near the ocean. Exposed to the elements, it started to get surface rust and one day he decided to repaint it. However, the body shop started to dismantle and prep the truck, but quit working on it after dismantling. I bought it, did all the mechanical work so it now runs perfectly. Some parts have been lost by the body shop like the door handle, hood emblems”. Frederic is now on a search for replacement parts for those last at the body shop. The most important items, on the list are the front bumper steel frame mounts. We should be able to help Frederic find those parts.
The last lost Checker is a 1952 Checker Model A4 brought to our attention for Connecticut Checker collector Mike Reiley. Little is known about this Checker. The 1952 Checker was taken off the road in 1954 with only 25,000 miles on the odometer.
Parked on a farm, this Checker sat outside for close to 60 years! As we all know, Checker do not survive when placed in the element. Purchased by this writer in 2011, all I can say is looks are deceiving. The A4 is in very poor condition
Once the car was purchased it was very clear the car was not restorable in its current state. The body was badly rusted. The inner doors had practically dissolved, the hinges appears have melted away. The car is currently parked in indoor storage and has served well as a part car for a restored A4. That said, its still unclear as to what to do with it in the future? As discussed above, it might be neat to restore as a cowl forward Checker. Removed the body just to expose fender and cowl. Perhaps a woody body could be fabricated. We have options.
Five lost Checkers, we’ll continue to keep Checker fans posted as progress is made on all of these potential project cars. If you would like to see more detail pictures of this rare Checkers, just click on the link below to join the ICTA Facebook page.