In the early 1960’s the City of Zurich Switzerland determined that they needed to replace several ambulances in the cities fleet of thirteen ambulances.  They needed to replace two Cadillac ambulances that had been in service the late 1930s!. Between them, the Cadillac ambulances had covered over464,000 miles over close to 30 years.

Ancient Fleet in 1963

Checker Motors had been a longtime exporter of commercial Cowl/Chassis combinations and automobiles since the postwar period.  In considering a replacement for the Cadillacs the idea to build two new city ambulances utilizing a Checker was approved.   The Checkers were purchased from the local Checker dealer, Settelen AG of Basel.

The city purchased two six door Aerobus chassis/cowl combinations. The package would be comprised of a full chassis, a front clip including the cowl, dashboard and windshield. The chassis for the six door configuration was 189 inches in length with a width of 76 inches and ground clearance of one foot.

Once the city had the received the Checkers skeletons,  a coach builder would be required to build the new Ambulance body.  The first two Checker Ambulances were built by the coach builder De Giorgi.  The resulting car is interesting to say the least.  The front clip is a uniquely American Checker clip mated to a very European ambulance body.  The standard windshield seems to have doubled in height.   Some members of the Professional Car Society have commented on Facebook that Checker looks more like an ice cream truck than a Ambulance.

The two Checker put into service were so successful,  that another order was placed for two more Checkers in 1965 and 1966.   Additionally,  the city purchased two Checker 12Es, one limo and one ambulance sedan  (a medi-car without the expanded roof) .  The city put the body fabrication to bid,  two firms bid,  De Giorgi and H. Brunner.  H. Brunner won the bid and built to two Checkers to spec.

All of the Checker served the city well until 1976, in that year they were all removed from service.  One of these Ambulance has survived.  Its one of the earlier units built by De Giorgi.  It was found and rescured in a junk yard near Zurich in 2005. Apparently it sat at the junkyard for over twenty years!

the firm, ACT Special Car Center of Gretzenbach, a car dealer that specializes in ambulances, fire engines, police cars and specialty vehicles purchased and performed a full restoration.  Its still owned by ACT in 2020.

This vehicle is now for sale, for those interest, ACT Specialty Cars can be emailed at info@act-specialcar.ch