It may have been dumb luck that a marketing theme would position the Commonwealth as the perfect vehicle for the development of a purpose built taxi, but In 1918, Commonwealth initiated an advertising campaign that touted the strength of the Commonwealth automobile: The car with the foundation, believe it or not, this campaign would ultimately lead to the world renown Checker cab.




This slogan was far better than the truly odd slogan: Girdle the World, used by Commonwealth at the same time. A rather strange way of describing a global car, the Commonwealth was indeed sold globally. In 1917 Commonwealths exported from the US were being put into cab service across various European countries, apparently the Europeans saw something special in Commonwealths.

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What was so special?  The Commonwealth was built on a frame that was unusually strong and extra reinforced. A great base of strength that was built for hard use for many years of service. Most likely due to the success of European taxi service, Commonwealth added a new model to the lineup, the Commonwealth Mogul Taxi.

Commonwealth sales had been sluggish, the Mogal taxi was the perfect vehicle to launch into a niche market. The Mogul was essentially a Commonwealth Four-Forty with a purpose build taxi cab body.

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City streets today are still tough on purpose built taxis, one can only imagine how rough the streets would have been in NYC on taxis back in the twenties, the early days of automotive history. The Commonwealth was ready for the NYC streets, its chassis was equipped with features that clearly gave it an advantage over other potential automobiles that could be put is service.

  • The Commonwealth was equipped with extra heavy cold rolled steel based chassis made of chrome nickel alloy
  • Oversized construction overall
  • Four cross members versus three on most cars of the day
  • Extra depth of channeled sections, hot riveted to improve strength and rigidity.
  • Wide flanges that give extra surface for body mounting, preventing warps, rattles and squeaks.
  • Solid bronze front end spring hangers for added protection against rust and breakage from frontend crashes

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According to the 1920 Commonwealth brochure, the chassis rode on a 117 inch wheelbase. It possessed 5 inch channels and flanges varied from 1 ½ to 3 inches. The chassis was also lined with felt to further reduce noise.

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As most Checker fans are aware, Morris Markin was the supplier of taxi bodies for Commonwealth Mogul taxi. He was also the largest customer as he had acquired control of Checker Cab of Chicago. By 1921 Commonwealth badged the taxi model as the Commonwealth Mogul Checker for use in Chicago and New York.

When the company ran into trouble, in order to protect his business interests, Markin purchased and reorganized Commonwealth into Checker Cab Manufacturing and the rest as the say on television is history.

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