Over the last year the Facebook Checker Cab Group has undergone a major transformation. A little over a year ago the Facebook Group was just that: a group where Checker fans engaged in daily dialog on Facebook, but there was a desire from its members to be more than just a Facebook group.
The results of a Facebook poll indicated that members wanted more content, so we launched a Facebook Checker Cab Group Newsletter in April. Feedback from the first newsletters was fantastic, some members actually suggested that is was better than the other Checker newsletters available to collectors.
About a year ago, yet another Checker group was created on Facebook, a challenger to the Facebook Checker Cab Group. Our group had to look to new ways to be relevant in the Checker hobby world. We had to take action in order that to survive in the small world of Checker fans and we had to increase our group membership so we could remain viable, we could not just maintain the status que, while under attack by the new Facebook group.
We had to create and maintain more content, in July of last year we launched a new Checker Cab Group Blog. Again a great success, over 85 blogs were written by our members and shared on our Facebook page.
The blogs were leveraged and via targeted promotion the blogs effectively doubled the size of our Facebook group, over 300 new members were added, the Facebook group is just short of 700 members!
The Checker History Blogs were instrumental in introducing Checker’s to many automobile collectors who knew little of our favorite independent automobile brand.
By the end of the Summer there was significant fallout from the other Checker club, it was swift and it was harsh. As we all know, necessity is the mother of invention, it became clear that a new Checker experience had to be created for those members summarily tossed out of the old club. The Facebook Internet Checker Taxicab Archive launched its own website on Labor Day of 2015.
Since its launch, the focus of the new website has been to create the world’s largest free Checker Archive. Additionally, the website serves as a gateway to the Facebook page, the group blog, the group Newsletter and now the world’s largest Checker web archive.
The contents of the archive are amazing. Within the library you’ll find Newsletters, not just our Facebook newsletter, but a number of different Checker related Newsletters: CCCofA (1984 – Present), The Big Apple, and Midwest Newsletters.
Thanks to former CMC employees Jack Fritz Jr. and Rick Burgen, we now have 24 copies of the CMC Checker Headlight newsletter. The inventory spans a period of 1983 thru 2008.
The CMC Checker Headlight is a fantastic addition: because it presents the true facts of Checker, perspectives by Checker employees and management. No half-baked opinions, just the facts from the company who made our favorite car.
The mother load of Checker content can be found in the Archive: Brochures and Manuals Covering a span of 1920 to 1982. We have archived virtually every Commonwealth and Checker brochure. Manuals, the archive has content covering a span of 1947 thru 1982.
Service Bulletins, we have hundreds of CCM and CMC bulletins covering a span of 1956 thru 1962. Service Manuals, Operator Manuals, Assembly Manuals covering a span of 1947 thru 1982. The majority of these manuals come from the collections of Checker authors Ben Merkel and Joe Fay.
Perhaps the most significant donation of documents comes from John Logan, former Checker Motors Plant Superintendent. John first started at Checker in 1958, left during a strike period, then rejoined Checker in 1962 to stayed with Checker until retirement in 1998. John is actually responsible for the creation of the 1976 Checker 15 passenger Aerobus.
John has made three major contributions: Checker Production Reports 1966 thru 1980. Engineering Memoranda 1962 thru 1982 and Checker Illustration Manuals 1964 thru 1982. This donation has established our club as the foremost authority on Checker.
Production Reports: In the past visibility of Checker production data was limited to total production per model based on a serial number range, but now utilizing the production reports donated by Logan, we can drill down into Checker production.
For example, we can now determine that of the 5534 Checkers produced in 1969, 579 went to Chicago Yellow Cab and 460 went to Checker of Chicago. We can see that 104 Aerobuses were equipped with a bucket seat while 17 had dual bucket seats. We can even see breakdowns of trim, 67 A11’s were equipped with the optional “Checker” nameplate.
The club now has access to all these reports. All production reports have been loaded to Facebook and will soon be loaded to the web archive.
Engineering Memoranda: The Checker A11 and A12 were introduced for 1962. John Logan has donated a complete set of engineering memos that documents every change on these two models produced from the beginning in 1962 thru end of production in 1982!
We can now see how and when every change took place. We can also see the names of those responsible for the change: whether it was from Jim Stout, who started at Checker in 1922, Sab Hori who started in 1947 or Steve Wilson who started in 1955 all the key leadership has touched the memos!
Changes can be as simple as adding a reflector to a taillight door, to the introduction of a new model, like the Super Cab of 1964. How many times has a question been raised regarding the first use of Chevrolet 350 engine? We can now present the facts: dates, models, and chassis numbers impacted. The entre collection represents 484 memos. To date about 315 (1962 – 1971) have been scanned and will be add to the web site shortly.
Checker Illustration Manuals: The Logan donation included volumes of Checker illustration, 1964 – 1982. The manual are big and thick, it will take years to scan and load, that said we’ll tackle them all over the next 12 months.
Each manual presents illustrations and parts breakdown for every Checker sub-assembly. CMC Parts Manuals are always a good source for illustrations, but these documents illustrate everything and each illustration includes a part bill of materials. In all John has provided fourteen 3 inch thick loose leaf binders, that’s a lot of paper.
Thanks to all the contributions from Logan, Merkel, Fay, Fritz and Burgen: we have been able to build a world class website. To put this into perspective, if a Checker fan is on the group website and pulls up the 1972 Archive, they will find the following: Brochures, Parts Manuals, Advertising, Production Reports, Illustration Manuals and Engineering Memos. There are some gaps in years, we are actively trying to fill those gaps.
1965 is a great example of available Checker FREE content!
Thanks to all have made this great club the premier Checker experience and a special thanks to John Logan for his tremendous donation of Checker documentation.