Over the last year and a half the ICTA has tracked virtually every used Checker automobile that has been listed for sale on the internet. We have constantly kept tabs on: Ebay transactions, Craig’s List, Hemming Motor News and Facebook Marketplace. Although we don’t typically know the ending result of a these transactions for all the transactions, we have been able to track the asking price and in some cases the actual final sale price. With this new data, the ICTA’s is making its first attempt to create a used Checker Buyers Guide. Being fact based, this guide should help Checker fans interested in buying a classic Checker apply knowledge to correct and fair pricing. In this blog we’ll present some general knowledge about the Checker, some statistics on the transactions and we’ll present a comprehensive list of all Checkers included in our analysis.
In this first blog, we’ll present the Checker wagon. The first wagon was introduced in 1960, the Superba A10w. According to Speed Mechanics Magazine “The Superba line includes standard and specials models of a four door sedan and four door station wagon. The length of the car is ten inches shorter than any of the normal sized models of Chevrolet, Ford and Chrysler. Looking from the side you get a surprise, in that the car is not as low as you have become accustomed to seeing. It does, in its own way, remind one of a tank. The basic word for the overall styling of the Superba is “simple”.
In 1960 Checker first introduced the Superba wagon. It was equiped with a 230 Continental flat head six cylinder engine as standard equipment. A overhead valve 230 Continental was also available as an option for a little extra power. In 1961 Checker also introduced an new higher end wagon, the A12W Marathon. Now offering two models, the Superba wagon was essentially the “Standard” model while the Marathon wagon was a “Deluxe” model with higher end trim and a luxurious simulated woodgrain dashboard. Other available options for the wagon included: Power rear window and power rear fold down seats
Perhaps the biggest drawback for the Checker wagon was the six cyclinder engine, a lower power engine, it would limit the Checker ability to offer all the benefits of a typical wagon when compared to its competition. Without a available V8 engine, Checker wagons were most likely limited to supermarket service. Checker competitors, Studebaker and the big three offered multiple V8 options and clearly provided better towing options.
In 1965 Checker would switch engine offerings from Continental to General Motors produced Chevrolet power. Over the years wagons could be purchased with 283, 327 and 350 cubic inch application. The addition of the Chevy engines allowed Checker to expand beyond a grocery getter to a trailer hauling professional. For this reason the ICTA suggests that if you want a great tow car, the post 1964 Checker wagon is a great option. Built on Checkers massive X-brace frame, the Checker wagon equipped with a GM power train is very attractive for any car hobbiest
The analysis performed by the ICTA indicates that twenty five Checker wagons have been put up for sale. The average asking price for these Checker less any listed as best offer was $7120 a unit. The pricing ranges from zero, literally a gift to a high price of $33,000.
Generally speaking it appears that if you are looking to buy a Checker wagon, they are available and more importantly there is a wide range of pricing.
Checker Sold or Offered over $9500
On the high side at $33,000 we present the highest priced Checker wagon ever sold.
This 1969 Checker Marathon is one of 286 A12W wagons produced for the model year. It was sold new by Crain-Hillis Checker Motor Sales in Portland, Oregon, and has reportedly stayed in-state ever since. Power comes from a factory-optional GM-sourced 327ci V8 paired to a dual-range automatic transmission. Within the past four years and 7k miles, this Checker has received a full tune-up and extensive mechanical servicing as detailed below. It is now being offered by Cascadia Classic with recent service records and a clean Washington state title.
According to the seller, this vehicle was optioned with tinted glass all around and is one of just 17 Checkers ordered with bucket seats across all body styles in 1969. The Fulton Blue paint (code 62) has been touched-up in several areas. Multiple filled-in chips, light scrapes, and dings commensurate with age are present, and the exterior is comprehensively detailed in the photo gallery below.
These Marathon wagons feature unique tail light housings with three reflectors on each side as shown above. A new set of Firestone Affinity thin whitewall tires were mounted on the factory wheels roughly 8,400 miles ago.
According to the seller, this Checker retains a a high degree of originality including factory upholstery, carpeting, and trim throughout. The front and rear seats have a few splits as highlighted in the photo gallery, and the seller states there are some stains in the rear carpet.
This Checker is equipped with power steering and brakes. It was also optioned with A/C and the compressor turns on, though the seller states it is hard to tell how cold it blows with the current low temperatures in Portland. A working aftermarket cruise control system is controlled via a module on the far left side of the dashboard. Current flaws are listed as a filled-in star in the windshield, a low-reading temperature gauge, an optimistic fuel gauge, a stuck fresh air vent selector, and a heater fan that squeaks for the fist minute or so. The five-digit odometer currently shows 92,694 miles and total mileage is unknown.
The optional General Motors 327ci V8 has been kept stock to the seller’s knowledge, and puts power down through a 3.31:1 rear axle. The oil was most recently changed ~100 miles ago, and the following work was completed within the past four years and 7k miles:
- Full tune up (wires, plugs, cap, rotor, air filter, fuel filter)
- Fuel tank boiled out and sealed
- New fuel pump
- Rebuilt carburetor
- Ignition replaced with Pertronix kit and coil
- New valve cover gaskets
- Rear diff drained and refilled
- Coolant flushed
- Wheel bearings repacked
- Brake fluid flushed
The seller claims that the engine is stamped with #V06176BT, which matches the factory data plate located on the cowl as shown above.Some surface rust has been found in the spare tire well, and additional undercarriage pictures are displayed in the photo gallery below. Maintenance records from the third owner will accompany the sale. They document all aforementioned recent servicing.
At 22,000 this wagon is also in the high price territory. This 1964 Checker Station wagon is available. According to its owner Larry Parson, its very rare station wagon made by Checker Motors, has been updated with a 1985 Impala front clip, has an early rebuilt 350 V8, rebuilt auto 700R4 trans, 9 ” rear axle, 4 wheel disc brakes, stainless steel hardware, true dual exhaust, everything new or rebuilt, VERY reliable car, comes with many extra used and NOS parts. Seller Larry Parsons can be contacted 705-489-4562
At $12000,00 this Checker is also still available. The current owner claims that it only has 16,000 original miles. A very clean looking red car, its interesting to note that the wagon has some rust bubbling on top of its fenders. Its hard for this writer to reconcile rust, low miles and the high price.
The stunning white 1969 Checker Marathon Wagon,, according to the seller it runs great and was formally his father’s daily driver. Equipped with a Chevy 350, the wagon has a recently rebuilt carburetor, new tires, and needs the air conditioner recharged. Body is in decent shape. the seller claimed that there was no body damage and I didn’t recall seeing any rust on the wagon.
The next wagon was placed on EBAY and like the above wagon, is a nice red color. The Marathon is powered by a General Motors 350 cubic in V-8 engine. The wagon is equipped with air conditioning, power steering, and power brakes. The exterior of the car is finished in a handsome red with chrome bumpers and trim. The interior is a combination of red and black and displays quite well. All the glass and trim are in good condition for the cars age and show use but not abuse! The motor runs and drives out well and the transmission shifts effortlessly. The brakes are adequate for the car and stop the vehicle very reliably. The paint shows areas that have bubbled over time and are noted, and photographed.
There are also areas of minor touch up to the paint throughout that has been done to preserve and protect the metal. The under carriage is very good for its age and shows very minimal areas of corrosion. Overall this automobile presents quite well, has a sharp appearance, and stance. Don’t miss this opportunity to own a very desirable sought after classic with very limited production. This wagon is perfect for any collection or would make a fantastic car to load the family up in and cruise the open road! As a postscript on this advertisement, Checker made 521 wagons in 1966.
Unlike the other high end Checker wagons for sale, this Checker is not stock but is a customized ride. The seller and ICTA member posted the following. “I’ve decided to sell my 63 since I don’t have time to finish it. It’s all done except the interior. The body is on a 1992 caprice wagon on a 12” lift. With s 350 under the hood. Great car. Excellent shape. I have about 12,000 in it. Finish the interior and make it…”
Checker Sold or Offered under $9500 and Over $4501
The next range presents a wide range of wagons in varying condition. The first example of a Californian wagon repatriated to the state of Maine. According to the advertisment, the 1968 Checker Station Wagon, was equipped with 350 Chevy engine, equipped with automatic the seller claims that it runs good, has no rust and the interior is very good. The seller also claims that it drives well too. This car has not been sold, it has sat on the market for some time. This writer suspects that the wagon may be a nice original and has not been restored.
This Checker has been for sale for close to three years. It appears that this Checker is still available. It’s a 1969 Checker Marathon Wagon with 46,000 original Mile. The seller claims that this Checker was bought new for a School teacher. The seller was told that the engine was rebuild(327) but he does not have any paper work. The main rust on the driver floorboard and the seller claims that he has had it professionally redone. The original color was blue. There is still rust on the rear fenders, rocker panels, and some surface.
At $7500, this 1965 Checker Wagon is getting closer to the average Checker wagon price seen over the last 15 months or $7120. Equipped with a Chevy Straight 6. 3 speed manual (3 on the tree), the ICTA member claims it runs, drives, and stops well and is fully functional. A slightly customized unit, this unique wagon sports a custom paint job and and interior. Well maintained and clean the wagon needs tires and rear shocks. The owner reports that the Marathon has some rust but is quite repairable. Pn the down side the transmission pops out of third gear occasionally. This wagon is still avaible and located in Roanoke, Va.
Below is a very original 1967 Checker Marathon Wagon. The owner claimed its has an original small block Chevy V8 with a BorgWarner automatic transmission as originally equipped. The seller reports engine and transmission have been well maintained and the Marathon has been serviced regularly over the years. The owner claims that he is the second owner and that the wagon is driven regularly and is currently California registration with clean title in hand. The owner also reports that the wagon starts right up and runs smooth and quietly with no smoking or major issues whatsoever with any of the mechanics. Power steering is tight and the brakes are power. The wagon as some rust on the passenger pillar and lower front passenger rocker but otherwise the body is very straight and solid overall as shown. For the price of $4500 the wagon comes with the factory manual, 3 sets of keys, and a couple small boxes of spare lenses, handles, and rubber gaskets. Located in San Diego
Checker Sold or Offered under $4500 and Over $501
This is the range of bargain price Checker wagons. They all appear to runnable and have great potential for Checker fun.
Regarding his fleet of Checker taxis, ICTA member John Didomizio, reports “our classic antique Checker collection is one of the largest in the world! NY Cab & Limo Co. now is also the largest operating Checker Cab fleet in North America. Today, tourists will find NY cabs everywhere, and never more then 5 minutes away on the northern Gulf Beaches or City of Clearwater. That is our History and we are proud of it, and where we are going”. Despite this great endorsement in 2017 Didomizio announced that he was leaving the Checker taxi business. Within his fleet one Checker wagon was put up for sale. Priced at $4000.00 the vehicle is nice, but did serve as a taxi.
On Ebay this unique and rare and original condition wagon has been on the block several times over the last year. Its owner claims the baby blue interior is nice. Equipped with a manual transmission three speed with overdrive and the smaller small Chevy inline six this Checker wagon is an economy minded Checker. That said the Checker does air conditioning and is equipped with the rare electric rear window. The wagon comes with four new tires, needs brake work as the master cylinder is leaking. The window has a cracked windshield, replacement windshields run at about five hundred dollars. This Checker seems to need a lot of work to bring back to show condition.
Another economy minded 1965 Marathon wagon became available this past September. Quipped has a 230 straight six engine, Borg Warner automatic transmission, and Dana rear end this car sold fast. A runners the ICTA member reported that it drives great. Recent repairs included new bearings put in the rear end, new brakes installed, and fuel pump. This wagon also had the rare rear window is powered by an electric motor. The car had new tires but one has cracked after sitting for a year. The owner reported that the wagon had no rust. The only issue with the vehicle was that it did not have the rear seats. Priced at $2700, this unit was sold very quickly.
Rawhide Motors listed this 1972 Checker wagon on Ebay. Very little was disclosed in the auction with only this brief line: Vehicle mileage shows 10108 based on 5 digit odometer. Vehicle is exempt from odometer disclosure as vehicle is 10 or more model years old. Based on the picture that vehicle appears solid with typical Checker rust in the front fenders. Final sale price on Ebay was $2176.00.
An interesting Checker became available on the Facebook marketplace this past sprin. A 1973 Checker Marathon wagon with an asking price of $2000.00. The wagon has rust in the floors and needs rear cargo area glass. To be perfectly franks based on a review of some of the recent survivors sold in Lawrence, Mass, this wagon seems very overpriced.
Via insurance auctions the following Checker became available. The seller’s description presents: 1965 Checker Marathon A12W410722539 for sale. Primary damage: Front & rear, Sale document: Clear – dealer only, Sale status: Ready for sale, Loss: Other, Start code: Won’t start, Odometer status: Not required/exempt, Fuel: Other, Transmission: Unknown. The end selling price was $1085.00.
The bargains of the year on Checker wagons popped up in September with the mass dumping of Checkers by Checker Motor Cars of Haverhill, Mass. The Checker were dumped in Lawrence, Mass. According to the management of 495 Auto Salvagers, who worked with ICTA members to find new homes for the wayward Checkers. Five wagons were sold by 495 Auto Salvagers and one was crushed. The 1960 Superba wagon was sold for $400.00, stripped and crushed. The remaining Checker found new homes and were all sold for $500.00 a unit. This mass dumping did have an impact on the overall average price calculation.
Checker priced with only Best Offer
All fine cars these Checkers were listed only with a “Best Offer” or “Make Offer” tag.
David Coward listed his 1973 Checker Model A12W Station Wagon whose odometer now reads 176710 miles. According to Coward, he purchased the car at the Checker factory in Kalamazoo in August, 1973. Mr. Coward claimed the car had been kept in a garage when not in use throughout its life. With respect to mechanics, Coward claimed that in the fall of 1973, at about 7500 miles, he onverted the car to run solely on propane, but I kept all of the equipment removed in the conversion in case a reconversion back to gasoline would be desired. The Checker had an engine was overhauled at about 125000 miles when the number seven cylinder decided to drink oil. It is in a very restorable condition as it has never been in an accident and has spent most of its life in a garage. This writer has seen this car I person, it’s a very solid and great example of rare LPG wagon.
In July of a2017 a fleet of Checker became available in Midland, Texas. Little is known regarding the cars as the seller did not return any calls. Four Checkers were listed, two were wagons, both appeared to be very solid southwest cars.
Based on limited production reports for the Wagon, the ICTA estimates that about 4000 Checker wagons were produced between 1960 and 1974. Within the registry of the ICTA we have accounted for 39 Checker wagons held by ICTA or CCCofA members. Based on the tracking of Checker wagons for sale over the last 18 months, we have identified another 24 Checkers for a total of 63 identified Checker wagons currently in the Checker car hobby.
In summary, it appears the nice wagons can be found for under $10,000.00. iI you’re looking for a fun project a decent restorable wagons can be had between $2500 and $7000. The dumping of 6 wagons by Checker Motor Cars has impacted the average price calculation by $2200.00. Overall the Checker wagons are the most rare and appear to be the “hot” item that Checker collectors are looking for today. The wagons can be used as show cars and if equipped with V8’s could serve as tow units or camping vehicles.