As an owner of one of the three restored A8s, I have a passion for collecting any literature or photos I can on these rare cars. It’s hard to believe there were almost 10,000 A8s made from January 1956 to September 1958.
Did you know there were once 5, 6, and 8 door A8s roaming about? They were stretched by Armbruster and Company (as they were known then) in Ft Smith Arkansas, in cooperation with Checker Cab Manufacturing Corp. The cost for Armbruster to stretch a $2200 A8 was $1295 for a 5 or 6 door, and $1750 for an 8 door. The weight of the 6 door A8 was 4430 pounds compared to about 3600 for the 120” wheelbase factory model. The 5-6 door added 35 inches.
Checker added 8 ply tires instead of 6, heavy duty shocks and springs, and oversized spindles and wheel bearings before shipping the cars to Ft Smith. Checker also provided the extra parts needed, such as doors and arm rests.
The A8 Standard in the November 1957 photo was taken at the time of delivery to Airlines Transportation Service in Memphis. Dan Lyons, the local Checker agent, picked up the stretch from FT Smith and delivered it to Memphis. The car is solid black. A Checker official from Kalamazoo was on hand in Memphis to inspect. The engine is a stock F226 Continental.
In 1958, Airlines Transportation Service had two additional A8-B Standards turned into 6 door models but switched colors to Duco Imperial Green.
On November 26 of 1957 Armbruster announced they were building their first 12 passenger (8 door) for Continental Air Transport Company in Chicago. Perhaps the only one since the A8s days were numbered.
Armbruster went on and built some A9 stretches for Airlines Transportation Service.
© 2022 Doug Klauck