Over ten years ago, this writer ran across one of the strangest auctions on Ebay. A listing for a Rolls Royce Checker!
At first glance, the listing appeared to be just an error, but the car in the photo was a Rolls Royce? Upon closer review, yes the car was indeed a Checker that was cobbled together to look like a Rolls Royce. Upon further review it almost looked like it was one of the proposed Checker Summits designed by Richard Thomas back in the late 1970s.
This writer prides himself as knowing the various Checkers out on the market and their respective backstories, but this one was different? The only known information was that the seller was a guy with at EBAY user name: Mad Dog Vegas.
I sent and email to Mad Dog and surprisingly, he sent me the story. According to Mad Dog, the Checker was purchased in 1982 from a cab driver who could never keep it running. After running it for four years, Mad Dog wanted a little more power, so he put in a Ford 390 motor with a Ford FMX transmission.
Mad Dog added “there was a noise in the rear end so I put in a Chysler New Yorker rear end to replace the old one. Driving down the street in Los Angeles one day another Checker pulled up by me. At that time, I visualized a Rolls Royce, and I then decided I was going to make my Checker look like one!”
Mad Dog also wrote, “I started off with the front end, adding the Rolls Royce grille, then the roof didn’t look right so I chopped the roof so it would look like a limo! The bumpers did not match so I put 1976 Ford Granada bumpers on the front and rear. The modified tail lights were installed and were sources from a 1964 Sunbeam Alpine.
I put in a sunroof in, and then added a vinyl roof. Had the interior done all in red, then the dash didn’t look right…….so I cut up some oak and custom made my own dashboard, and added clocks as wells.
Used it to drive it to Los Vegas from Los Angeles in the early 1990s. and didn’t want it to overheat so I put in an oversized radiator, which let me climb the mountains at 100 mph plus with no problem at all. Didn’t want to stop for gas so I added an extra gas tank near the trunk, and added an extra battery in the front!”
The end result: a Rolls Royce clone built off of a Checker.
Its unclear what ever happened to this Checker? The auction was removed from ebay, perhaps the listing was reported as a fake Rolls Royce fraud. This auction was executed in 2009, I was never able to reconnect with Mad Dog Vegas so I never learned where this Checker landed. If you ever see this Checker crossing the southwest desserts, give’m a wave, it might me “Mad Dog”.