Recently ICTA member Tom Polrbear posted on Facebook “I have often wondered, how do you tell the different years apart by looking at them? Is there one particular thing that tells you or many?” Its an interesting question. Generally speaking its very hard to determine what year a Checker was produced beyond looking at serial numbers and build sheets. That said, running changes were made, this blog will characterize Checker into five distinct production periods. Lets start with the Checker Model A8
The benchmark for this spotters guide. The Model A8 was developed in 1954 as a response to the new New York City Taxicab Authority requirements for taxicabs. The new law would allow for Ford, GM and Chrysler to compete head to head against Checker. If Checker continued to offer the data Model A6, it was highly that Checker would lose significant market share against the lower cost and smaller offerings from the big three. The battle ship style taxi was no longer viable and Checker developed the smaller Model A8, it debuted in January of 1956..
1958 – 1961
The internal shell of the new Checker A9 was essentially the same as the Model A8, but virtually every exterior panel was new for 58. The only exterior parts shared were the same was the front windshield glass and the front and rear bumpers. The trunk lid and doors were similar, but were constructed differently as they no longer sported the wide chrome trunk handle or the top chrome on the doors
1962 – 1967
The new Checker A11 was essentially the same as the Model A9, but there were some exterior changes. First off the front and rear bumpers now sported a center dip, the A8 style bumpers were eliminated. Fenders were changed too. On the front, the fenders were cut about three inches at the bottom where the fender met the bumper. This was required as the bumper placement was raised to a new level. In raising the front bumpers, the front valance was flatten to accommodate the new arrangement. The rear fender wheel openings were also raised about two inches below the body line. The Front grille lost its starburst treatment allowing for a full egg crate grille. The parking lights were now placed just under the headlights.
1968 – 1971
In 1968 Checker A11 featured new front and rear windshield glass. This was a federally mandated action to improve overall visibility. In making this change, the drip rail was eliminated over the front windshield. Front parking lights increased in size. The Checker also received new Federally mandated side marker lights
In 1972 Checker A11 featured new front bumper that utilized a shock absorbing Federally mandated 5 MPH bumpers. This was accomplished by adding shock absorbers behind the old style chrome bumpers introduced in 1961. The result extended the bumpers forward about one foot, the bumper appeared not to be aligned with the fender leave an awkward gap between the bumper and front fenders.
1973 – 1982
In 1973 Checker A11 featured new girder style bumpers. The bumpers were made out of aluminum, being aluminum, the bumpers were no longer chrome plated. The amount of chrome usage changed, moving forward the grille and headlight doors were painted silver or body color.
Header photo by Marjorie Uhrich