As discussed
in past Checker Facebook Group blogs, it’s very clear that CMC was a true
specialty car manufacturer.  Checker was forced into
the consumer car business by changes made in New York City taxicab law in 1954. The new laws allowed operators to buy non purposed built taxis in order to improve automotive
competition and reduce operator costs.  With the new law, Checker was now competing with Ford, Chevy and Plymouth and the results was that Checker started to lose market share.  Checker was forced to look for other ways
to fill plant capacity and generate revenue outside of the taxicab market.


The consumer
car market was Checker’s first entry into a new market outside of the taxicab
business. Checker started entry in the market in 1956 with the introduction of
the A8 Drive-r-matic Special. Over the next five years Checker would slowly
build out a national dealer and service network base large enough to support
the different requirements needed to support retail consumers versus limited
requirements to support an established fleet based taxicab companies.


established in the consumer car market in 1960, Checker was poised to enter another
new market. Checker has produced six and eight door wagons as far back as in
the 1930’s starting with the Model T.  Previous
production appeared to be for Checker’s own taxi operating company “Parmalee”.  The entry into the mass transportation market
would be Checker next new market and was a market the Checker understood.

1935 Checker Model Y Six door limo operated by Checker owned company Parmalee


1950 Checker Model A2 Six door wagon operated by Checker owned company Parmalee
companies Armbruster and Stageway companies were active in the production of
the 8 door limos since the 1930’s.
Additionally these two companies were producing Checker eight door limos
for export to Saudi Arabia based on A8’s. It would appear that Checker looked
at Stageway-Armbruster and said to themselves “hey we can do that”.

Hey, we can do that. Was Stageway and inspiration to Checker?



interesting photo appeared in the February 1960 of the American Taxicab
Association magazine.  Hosting a group of
Boston based taxicab operators, center photo Checker CEO Morris Markin stands
in front of a Checker eight door sedan. Was this an Armbruster-Stageway? Was it
a Checker prototype? We’ll never know, but what we do know is that Checker
introduced the Checker Aerobus for 1961 months later.



In the Fall 1960 two models were introduced: a six door 9 passengers Aerobus wagon and a 12
passenger Aerobus wagon, the A12w9 and A12w12.
Being based on a Checker A12w wagon with additional doors and seats, the
Aerobus was not equipped with jump seats.
Each unit had one  or two rows of
standard bench style seating added to the standard wagon. Each model was
equipped with a roof rack as well as window guards.  A heavy duty vehicle, the Aerobus was also
equipped with 8 lug truck wheels, this was one big Checker.



Modified Checker Aerobus for……………..any ideas?



The Aerobus
was clearly the largest auto produced by any manufacture in the US at the time.
The six door road on a 154.5 inch wheelbase with a total length of 235.5 inches
and weighing in at 4330 LBS. The eight door road on a 189 inch wheelbase with a
total length of 269.75 inches and weighing in at 4788 LBS. 35 and 70 inches
longer than a standard Checker Model A11 respectively.


Now those
sound like big cars, but by today’s standards in the 21st century,
believe it or not, the Aerobus is not so big.
Consider that in 2015, the Ford F150 Supercrew weighs in at 4686 LBS,
yet only holds five passengers! One could make a compelling argument that the
Aerobus was quite an economical in the mass transit business.



Checker would
produce the Aerobus until 1974.  The
major customers were airport transport companies, hotels, the military and
corporate accounts that had a need to move a high number of people quickly and


For thirteen
years the Aerobus served Checker well, like the consumer car, it allowed
Checker to expand beyond the taxicab business.


Coming up in
the next blog, Aerobus variation and its larger replacement.  Please don’t forget to like us on Facebook.