Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback


Cult taxi brand Checker is about to make a comeback

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-planning

Spacious: there shouldn’t be any new checker taxis. However, this design drawing shows that the next Checker could be some kind of reissue of the 1960s Aerobus, so definitelys suitable for passenger transport

Source: Checker

It was as typical of New York as the Statue of Liberty. But in 1999 the last Checker taxi retired. Now the estate administrators are planning a comeback. There shouldn’t be a yellow cab.

D.he July 26th, 1999 was a sad day for New Yorkers. On this sunny Monday, the taxi with license # 1N11 started its last business trip from Times Square, marking the end of an era that shaped the image of Manhattan as well as the skyscrapers, Central Park and Miss Liberty.

From that day on, the Checker Cabs, those uncomplicated and indestructible vehicles that had conquered major American cities from Kalamazoo in Michigan, were history. And the streets of Manhattan belonged to the Ford Crown Victorias from now on.

Checker had discontinued vehicle production a long time beforehand. The cars were just too good and too durable to find enough new customers that the only way the company could keep afloat in Detroit was to manufacture sheet metal parts to order for other manufacturers.

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-planning

The original: The Checker Motors Corporation equipped their vehicles with the “checkerboard”, the diamond ribbon on the side of the taxis. Hence the name checker taxi

Source: picture alliance / AA

But the limousines, named after their “checkered” belly band, were so popular all over the country, and especially in Manhattan, that Sotheby’s was even bidding for $ 134,000 for the last Yellow Cab from New York, and vintage cars are still highly traded today – if you can still find one.

That could soon become a little easier again: After Checker was finally bankrupt in 2009, Steve Contarino from near Boston secured the naming rights and is now planning a new start in Haverhill (Massachusetts). He told the American classic car magazine "Hemming’s" that there will soon be two new models – and that the fans will be plunged into the next crisis.

Four rows of seats for up to twelve passengers

Because Contarino doesn’t want to know anything about a taxi. "There are a number of manufacturers who build limousines for the taxi trade, so we don’t have to push ourselves back into business," he said on record. Instead, he prefers to ride the retro wave and bring vehicles onto the market that "combine nostalgia and suitability for everyday use".

Old military cars are cooler than classic cars

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-checker

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Philipp Fakin is the largest supplier of used expedition and military vehicles in Germany. In the scene he is only known as "the Philipp from the Hanfbachtal".

Source: Fabian Hoberg

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-yellow

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There are around 200 vehicles on his almost 9,000 square meter property in the Hanfbachtal near Bonn. At first glance it might seem chaotic, but it does …

Source: Fabian Hoberg

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-planning

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… Philipp is known nationwide as the best address for buying used military vehicles.

Source: Fabian Hoberg

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-yellow

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His love for expedition vehicles began at the end of the 1970s when he converted a Hanomag AL 28 for holiday tours. If something broke on the truck, he would lend a hand himselfd finally got into the trade in the large vehicles himself.

Source: Fabian Hoberg

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-comeback

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The off-road vehicles and trucks mostly come from old stocks and auctions where Fackin is bidding. No matter whether in Germany, Austria, Denmark, England, the SSwitzerland or the USA.

Source: Fabian Hoberg

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-checker

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In addition to world travelers who are looking for something special for their expeditions, well-off private individuals and collectors are also among his customers.

Source: Fabian Hoberg

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-comeback

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They don’t let themselves be deterred by a little moss on the bonnet. After the sale, Philipp checks the vehicle and brings it back into good technical condition.

Source: Fabian Hoberg

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-comeback

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One of his most loyal customers is a sheikh from Qatar who has been buying his trucks in the Hanfbachtal for 20 years so that his court can get through the desert safely when hunting for falcons.

Source: Fabian Hoberg

He wants to start with a concept that is as special as it is spectacular: a new edition of the Aerobus. In the sixties and seventies, when flying was still something special, these huge station wagons were often used at American airports for the shuttle service between the terminal and the jet plane and are now supposed to get going again with a model called the A888.

According to Contarino’s official design sketch, the new edition of the Aerobus, in which numerous New York hotels have already expressed great interest, has three full doors on each side and four rows of seats inside for up to twelve passengers, whereby the individual benches can also be folded down and folded up for more legroom can.

400 cars a year are to be built

If you don’t want to get into the passenger business, have no overnight guests to chauffeur or if the Aerobus is simply too big for you, Contarino lures you with a cross between limousine and pick-up, which was last known from Chevrolet as El Camino.

There are no historical models for this in the Checker archive, but it seems to Contarino that this was a logical addition to the range: “Checker was primarily famous for its robust construction. What could be more obvious than a new commercial vehicle. Especially if it is also suitable as an everyday car? "

Stylistically, the designs are actually based on the old models. And with a little yellow paint, it could certainly be turned into a retro taxi. Technically, Contarino promises state-of-the-art technology. It is true that it still makes a big secret of the exact data, also because the design is simply not that advanced yet.

Yellow Cab: Checker is planning an unusual comeback-checker

Sporty: Steve Contarino, owner of Checker Motors Corporation, is planning not only the spacious twelve-seater but also an everyday car that he calls "Sport Pick-up Crossover"

Source: Checker Motor Cars

But he speaks, for example, of a four-cylinder diesel and a V8 gasoline engine or of all-wheel drive from the shelves of General Motors, of a high-performance air conditioning system, LED headlights and a chassis with which one can finally rumble comfortably through the streets of Manhattan.

It is also still too early for Contarino to provide precise information on price and production. But American media reports that you have to reckon with 50,000 to 70,000 dollars and that a production partner in Salt Lake City probably wants to build around 400 cars a year – measured against the almost 1000 vehicles that rolled off the production line in Kalamazoo every day in good years , of course, that’s little more than a joke. But at least it would be a start.

The name Checker is on everyone’s lips again

However, it will take until 2018 before the new Checker is actually on the road, Contarino admits. In the next year he wants to have a few prototypes built and start testing. So there isn’t much more than a nice idea and a few neat sketches, and you need a lot of confidence if you want to bet on this project.

But Contarino has achieved at least one goal with its announcement: The name Checker is suddenly on everyone’s lips again – not only in the USA – and with it Contarino’s address, where discarded Checkers can be professionally refurbished. At least for the next two years, until the administrator may actually need space and staff for the new model.

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