The Checker has always been considered and oddball car by the public at large. Quirky, and out of style even when produced, that Checker is now a true automotive American icon.
As we are all aware, the Checker did not receive any significant styling changes between 1958-1959, given this most, Checkers all kinda looks the same, its very rare to find unique Checkers. Well folks, here we have a very different Checker.
This vehicle has recently been discussed in two Automotive blogs. According to Silodrome.com and writer Ben Branch “This is the Champer, and as its portmanteau name implies it’s a Checker Camper, it was first converted into a camper by Lynds Camper Service in 1977 and features a slew of changes over a regular Checker including an uprated engine, transmission, and rear axle to better cope with the additional weight and drag.”
The ICTA featured this vehicle in our Checker For Sale section of this website about a year ago. Little was known at the time of its sale. According to the Solidrome blog “The Champer was built by a company in California, the rear bodywork was removed to accommodate the camper shell.”
More has been learned from another blog. According to Motor1.com, during the conversion into a camper, this Champer received a 6.56-liter V8 out of a 1977 GMC van. The improvements also included a heavy-duty rear axle and an upgraded braking system. Additionally, there a kitchenette with a gas stove, oven, and refrigerator was installed at the time of the camper conversion.
The header picture appears to indicate the correct and original appearance of the Champer when it was built in the 70’s. It is currently painted in typical NYC regulated taxicab livery. Personally, this writer likes the original paint job versus the glitche taxicab paint job.
So their you have it, a truly unique Checker.