As Checker fans, we are all aware of the tremendous amount of room that can be found in the back of a standard Checker A12 Marathon or A11 Taxicab. Over the course of the 60 plus years of Checker production, the company was prone to promoting the idea of room via the use of farm and circus animals. Yes, that’s right farm and circus animals.
Probably the most famous the well remembered promotional photo that used a horse was released in the early 1960’s. It was published as follows:
ROOM TO SPARE The Checker Motors Corp., Kalamazoo, Michigan, hasn’t forgotten about people looking for vase interior roominess and walk-in, walk-out door openings. The Marathon 4-door sedan seats 8 adults in limousine luxury with the help of Checker’s famous auxiliary jump seats. A truly flat rear floor adds to the over-all passenger comfort and the already exceptional legroom.
Checker’s Double Channel X-Brace Frame provides extra comfort and safety – and while the Checker is big enough even for a horse on the inside, its short wheelbase, 120’, and elimination of useless overhang make the Checker an ideal car for busy city driving. ’65 Marathon sedans and station wagons are available in a variety of decorator interior-exterior color combinations and with a complete range of power options. Buyers can take their choice of two new engines designed and built for Checker General Motors –a 140 h.p. 6-cyclinder engine and a 196 h-.p V-8.
From: Herbert Baker Advertising, Inc.
919 North Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Ironically, the promotional copy did not mention why a horse was in a Checker! We guess its normal to carry horses in Checkers.
Horses were used again in a Checker brochure, again from the early 1960’s. However, this time there was an explanation, Checkers serve well as farm vehicles. Not only does the Checker carry horses, but you can haul sheep in Checkers too! Yes, depicted in several photos is a small herd of sheep!
Now if you find the idea of carry a horse ridiculous, we have actual proof of ICTA members carrying horses in their Checkers! ICTA member Mike Fricano recently posted a photograph of his horse in a Checker! According to Mike “it’s a mini horse I owned until last summer in the back of my 1981 A11. The new owner was anxious about getting her so I sent it as a joke to her that she’s loaded up and ready to go.”
In 1966 the Chicago Tribune ran a UPI syndicated photo of a CMC owned Checker Taxi from Chicago, Illinois with a photo of gigantic Great Dane show dog being escorted by a Checker Checker Cab Taxi driver. According to the UPI copy, the owner worked during the day and was unable to care for the dog during normal work hours. The solution to the problem was to hire a Checker Cab and driver to take the dog out for regular walks in the park. Now we’re sure that the owner call for a Checker as clearly a Checker was the only working cab in Chicago that could fit a full size great dane.
Ok, so its clear the horses, sheep and even great danes can be found in Checker Cabs, but are there bigger animals that can be fit in Checkers? How about super big animals? How about an elephant?
Believe it or not the answer is yes!
We have photographic evidence of at least two photos of Checker being used to carry elephants. Granted one photo appears to show an elephant trying to get into a Checker Model H. Its not clear if the elephant actually was able to get into the vintage cab.
A photo taken in the early 60’s serves as proof that an elephant could actually fit into a NYC Checker A9. In this photo the elephant is actually in the A9. In the background of both photos is evidence of Circus Trains or Tents.
So, if you ever wondered if you could put your horse, sheep, great dane or elephant into you Checker, rest assure, you can. It may be noteworthy to also mentions that the elephant on the right is from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. What was that famous quote from P.T. Barnum about suckers?