We’ve discussed the merger proposal of Checker and International Harvester in the past. The proposal was penned by Robert H. Eppler Vice President for Foote Cone & Belding. The IH acquisition never happened, it’s not clear that the idea was discussed beyond the Foote Cone & Belding proposal. Was this proposal taken seriously by Checker Motors Corp?
Upon reviewing the letter some 50 years later there are several points of interest. Six key points/ideas were put forward. Point 4 stated “With International Harvester’s large rural dealer population, this highly practical passenger car line with local parts and service might be offered to rural families for the first time.”
This was not the first time that Checker and farming were seen as a perfect match. In 1963 Checker distributed a brochure titled: Checker Marathon Farm & Ranch brochure. The brochure was packed full of reasons why Checker made sense for farming. The brochure was also full of photos of farm setting and Checkers doing farming work. Take a look at the header of this blog, Checkers can haul sheep!
CMC pitched “Most of your farm manchinery 1s built to last – build to withstand tremendous workloads and hours…..why not consider the one car that is built the same way? The brochure also pitched high ground clearance “higher road clearance and bigger 15” wheels let you wheel your Checker Marathon with ease – where roads exist and where they do not – and without fear of “bottoming out”.
Other key features promoted to farmers was Checker short overhang that allowed for greater maneuverability. The brochure also promotes the ability for Checker to carry loads (even sheep) in the cargo area supported by Checker’s strong frame and suspension.
Based on known survivor data, it’s pretty clear that Checkers are still largely found in urban areas. In the end Checker’s never became a prominent feature on the farm as envisioned in the Checker brochure and Eppler letter.
As a post script, he have heard from former Checker employees that have told us that the Checker wagon used in the photo shoot, lost its new car smell during the photo shoot! Apparently an executive car, it smelled of sheep for years!
If you would like to see the full brochure, just click on the cover below and you’ll be able to see the entire brochure in the ICTA archive.