It seems very apparent that the old car hobby is in the midst of change. Attend any vintage car or truck event and its clear that the demographics of those attending are shifting to an older crowd. The hobby is clearly in decline.
We’ve seen some other recent developments in the hobby that indicate that groups and clubs are shifting. As the groups get smaller, we can see like-minded individuals forming new alliances, case in point, the Tucker Club and the AACA.
Our friend Dan Strohl of Hemming’s News recently wrote of 12/17/18, “With just a fraction of its peak membership and dwindling engagement, The Tucker Automobile Club of America has reached an existential moment; the official partnership it announced this week with the AACA Museum proposes not only to save the club but also to serve as a prototype for other car clubs nearing their own ends.” Note the reference “other clubs”, could that mean the various Checker clubs? Probably yes.
The Checker fan base has shrunk over the years, getting more than ten Checkers to an event is a challenge. Kalamazoo will always generate more cars given the strong local bond, that said, getting more than twenty cars has been a challenge for Kazoo for over ten years.
So where is the Checker hobby going? Perhaps Checker fans will start to migrate to the mass transit hobby. Checker A11 taxicabs are very much like mini buses. The standard Checker Taxicab model, like a bus will have rubber or linoleum floors, heavy duty grade bus upholstery and even chrome grab rails. Checker introduced the Aerobus in the 60’s. Checker even produced a full size transit bus in the early 50’s. Maybe we share some common bounds with bus fans?
If you’re a regular on the ICTA Facebook page, you may have notice that lately we have seen some bus talk. Several members have recently posted pictures of their buses and their Checkers.
The cover header is of ICTA member Scott Richard’s Checker, depicted in the photo, one of his recently purchased Checker A11 taxicabs and several New Look buses. Scott’s friend, new ICTA member Tiago Castro also owns a bus, a former a 1969 GMC Fish Bowl bus. Scott and Tiaga plan on restoring a recently acquired Checker and will add it too the transit bus fleet.
ICTA member Emerson Zentz also is the proud owner of a GMC “New Look” bus as well as a west coast built Crown and Gillig bus. Emerson showed up to an ICTA event last year in his Crown bus, so it’s pretty clear there is some synergy between Checker and Bus fans.
Last year the ICTA held its show at the Union Illinois Rail Museum, it was great to see our Checker alongside buses, trolleys and trains. Dan Diamond, grounds keeper of the museum made it very clear, “We’re all like-minded people, we need to stick together”. As we watch the hobby shrink, let’s be open minded and think about ways to partner with other groups or clubs.
If you’re interested in learning more about buses or even joining the dialog in a Facebook bus page, please check out the following link.
Friends of Transit Buses
Transit Bus Fan Depot
If you’re interested in a joint Bus/Checker Taxicab show, contact us and let’s see what we can do to unit Bus and Checker fans.