There was a lot of excitement back in 2015 about the potential new production of Checker Cabs. The New York Daily News article reported the following?
“Revamped Checker Motors announces two new concepts including El Camino-style sport pickup”. The article reported “Checker Motor Cars, a Massachusetts-based company that recently secured the trademark rights for the famed brand, has released concept sketches for two new vehicles that it hopes to send into production in the fall of 2018. The first concept, dubbed the Sport Pick-up Crossover, is designed in the style of an El Camino or Ranchero. The original Checker Motors Corporation, which was based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, stopped producing its signature Marathon cab in 1982 and officially ceased to exist in 2010. Contario’s company has been providing parts and repairs services for Checker cars for more than a decade and recently acquired rights to sell cars under the brand’s name.”
Also in early October 2015 Hemmings Motor News Reported Steve “Contarino plans to build prototypes starting early next year (2016) and get into full production in 2018. He also intends to keep the Checker restoration business in operation even after production of the two new models begins.
Over the course of the next three years Checker fans were presented grand stories of how the new Checker would soon be produced. Checker fans would be teased with concept photos. Checker Motor Cars even offered two new re-pop parts, a plastic grille and hood emblem.
That said the Checker public never saw any prototypes, not even a running test chassis, nothing just artist renditions and a daily dose of Facebook posts on the Checker Motor Cars Facebook page. Over the course of three years, many Checker fans started to become skeptical.
In the fall of 2018 shortly after labor day, the ICTA received word that a fleet of Checkers were dumped in a Lawrence, Mass scrap yard. As you can imagine a this action would receive national attention in the old car hobby. Headlines in Hemmings Motor broadcast “Despite scrapping dozens of cars, Checker replica effort still in progress“.
Hemmings reported that “Steve Contarino, head of Checker Motor Cars in Haverhill, Massachusetts, said he disposed of as many as 40 vintage Checkers last month as part of a renovation of his building on Haverhill’s Research Drive, from which he also runs Adamson Industries, which outfits lighting and emergency equipment on public safety vehicles. “We’re deleting parts cars that are too far gone for restoration,” he said.”
Hemmings further reported “Contarino said his plans to reintroduce the Checker have not changed despite the delay caused by the NHTSA. The sign removal, he said, is part of the building renovation. Hemmings Motor News, further reported “Contarino initially expected to begin production sometime late this year. However, his plans hinged on the issuance of regulations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as mandated by the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers”
Happily we can report that progress has been made. The NHTSA has released the new regulations for the 2015 Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers act.
Here is a link to 120 page regulation.
Well now it’s put up or shut up time. Since the only issue reported in the fall of 2018 was the issuance of the new regulations, if this was not a scam or some cheap promotional stunt, we should expect to see a new Checker very soon. BTW, the building has not been renovated as described in the Hemmings 2019 article.
The regulations have been released and are currently in a 30 day “public comment”. The official rules will be release shortly after the public comment period. As always, we at the ICTA will report on progress. We expect our next update will be on April 1st.