Sad news, we lost John Logan today. John was the former plant superintendent for Checker Motors Corp. and a great friend and fan of Checker. Condolences to John’s wife Lola and his daughter Ronda. John started at Checker Motors Corp in 1958 but soon left during a strike.  He rejoined Checker in 1962 and remained at Checker until his retirement as Plant Superintendent in 1998.  His impact was significant.

A charter member of the ICTA, John has been a friend of the Facebook group and club for 12 years.  John’s involvement and donations to the ICTA were perhaps the most significant additions to our archive that we have ever received.

In 2016 John donated a significant stash of Checker production and manufacturing files to our ICTA library found on this website.   He had stashed years of CMC documentations and stored them in massive rubber tubs in his basement.  All the documents were organized and bound in Ford Motors binders.

He made three major contributions:  Checker Production Reports 1966 thru 1980.  Engineering Memoranda 1962 thru 1982 and Checker Illustration Manuals 1964 thru 1982.  This donation represented over 10,000 pages of Checker content and has established our club and website as the foremost authority on Checker..

If you ever spoke to John about his days a Checker, he would always mention, that he was responsible for the creation of the Checker Aerobus 15.  In his honor, the ICTA is reposting John’s story of the Checker Aerobus 15.  Please enjoy.

We will post memorial information once John’s family finalizes the process.

John Logan’s Checker Aerobus 15 

From 1961 through 1974, the Aerobus produced by Checker, was essentially a Checker wagon on steroids.  Available in 6 and 8 door configuration these mammoths shuttled passengers to and from airports and hotels until the gas crisis of 1973 forced operators to look for other more efficient options in moving people from point A to point B.

Holiday Inn Aerobus
                                                    The original wagon based Aerobus produced from 1961 through 1974

In 1975-1976 Checker started to look into new options too, the Aerobus being cancelled did not stop demand, many operators looked to Checker to come up with a replacement model.  The second generation Aerobus was officially called the Aerobus 15. The prototype looked like any other post 1958 Checker and like the Aerobus, it had eight doors, but there is a major difference from the first generation Aerobus.

According to form CMC Plant Superintendent John Logan:  A year after the Checker wagon & the Aerobus was cancelled, John Love, VP of CMC, stated in a staff meeting one morning, we need, a 15 passenger Aerobus. No one commented, except yours truly. I said “why don’t we build one?”.  This caught David’s (CEO David Markin) attention and he asked, how are we going to do that?  I explained we can build a 8 door Aerobus with a standard rear end with the extended, 9 inch rear door and export auxiliary jump seats. After some discussion, David says, Build one. I  with help of some key union people built a prototype. David approved it and we built 46 more that year and  60 the next year.

The Aerobus 15 was designed based off of a long wheel base A12E platform, not a A12W wagon platform.  From an overall size perspective, the Aerobus 15 is slightly larger than th original Aerobus,  but the extra foot in length allowed for three additional passenger capacity for the new Aerobus.  The Aerobus 15 was technically a more efficient vehicles from a passenger cost standpoint, the new Aerobus could carry more passengers with marginal impact on gas mileage.

Note the rear door is longer than the Generation 1 Aerobus allowing for the added jump seat row

The increase in passenger capacity was possible by utilizing the long wheelbase sedan configuration.  It allowed Checker to add an extra row of jump seats.  On the downside, the use of the sedan based body did not have the same cargo space as the wagon based Aerobus but extra space could be leveraged by adding a wooden cargo carrier on the roof.

Prototype under restore
                                    The original CMC prototype being restored at Checker Cab Services Unit in Kalamazoo in 2002

The outward appearance is slightly different when compared to other Checkers.  The wheel openings front and rear were modified to allow for truck type eight lug wheels. On the inside floors and interior walls were also modified to allow for the larger truck wheel clearance.  As always with Checker,  the Areobus 15 was a specialty vehicle as accordingly production numbers would be low, sixty were produced for 1976 and 47 units were produced for 1977, the last year of production.

Survival rates are presumed to be low as these vehicles were put into commercial service.  Today these monster Checkers are highly sought after in the collector car and limo market.   The Aerobus 15 is the ultimate party wagon with room for an entire wedding or tailgating party.