The iconic taxi cab company is back on the market.
The Checker Motor Car Company kicked off production in 1922 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Founder Morris Markin had a dream to make a taxicab that was durable, affordable, and able to be used for decades. And that dream was realized... at least until the company closed its doors in 1982.
But now it looks like the iconic Checker marque could be back on the market. According to Hemmings, production on "new" Checker products could begin as early as 2018. A Sport Pick-up Crossover, a sedan pickup, and a 12-passenger six-door sedan will be the first vehicles the company plans to manufacture, as well as continuing to update and retrofit kits to existing Checkers.
"Our challenge is taking a recognized shape and using off-the-shelf components to assemble a finished automobile," said Steve Contarino, head of the new Checker company. "We may not have the legacy of the original Checker Motors Corporation, but the DNA we are building on here will form a very strong future."
The new Checkers will ride on a steel frame and use GM’s LS-series V8 engines with an available diesel option. Thanks to the low-volume replica law, the company is able to avoid costly crash testing as long as it offers vehicles powered by current EPA-certified engines, which the LS is.
Each car will come with four-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, LED lighting, a first-aid kit, and an on-board air compressor, just to name a few features. The design will resemble the iconic A12, though no existing Checker parts will be part of the new construction.
All of the cars will be built in the U.S., and CEO Steve Contarino hopes to hire between 50 and 100 employees to assemble each vehicle by hand. Pricing for the new Checkers will range from $40,000 to $50,000, depending NHTSA regulations.