6 Doors Too Many? 1966 Checker Aerobus

Based on observation, it appears that two doors are preferred over four doors. If that’s the case are four doors then preferred over eight? Looking like something that would have been at home in the Beatles movie Help, is this 1966 Checker Aerobus, a vehicle commonly referred to as an airport limousine. At 270 inches (22.5 feet) in length, you have to hope that the rear will follow the front when trying to negotiate tight turns. I haven’t seen one of these in the steel in years but I clearly remember their time, so let’s look this example over. It is located in Wauseon, Ohio and is available, here on Facebook Marketplace for $12,500. Thanks to Russell G. for this most unusual tip!

If the eight-door thing doesn’t work for you, the Aerobus was also offered in a six-door version and both sedan and station wagon body styles were available regardless of the door count. Produced between 1962 and 1977, Checker Motors Corporation built just a few over 3,500 examples. The last time that I saw one of these in daily use was in the early ’80s and a rock band employed it to haul their equipment, and themselves, around.

Having a mileage recording of 14K miles, this Aerobus looks like it’s in pretty decent condition. The body panels, and my word there’s enough of them, look to be straight and unmarred by crash damage or rust though there could be a slight dent in the driver’s side quarter. I’d rate the finish as reasonable and the chrome to be fair. Interesting to see are the fore and aft cab lights, just a preferred add-on or a necessity due to vehicle size? Other examples found are wearing the outboard lights but not the triple set positioned in the center.

Under the hood is a Chevrolet 327 CI V8 engine that research indicates is a special order 185 HP version. Supposedly the motor started life as a 250 HP version and then had the compression ratio reduced and its four-barrel carburetor traded in for a two-holer. The seller claims that it “runs and drives good“; it utilizes an automatic transmission of unknown provenance (a Powerglide?). It appears as if an aluminum radiator is now in place, and of note, is the two circuit master brake cylinder – an encouraging upgrade over the single-cylinder version that was still widely in use in ’66.

The interior, and there is plenty of it, is as expected, utilitarian. The heavy-duty looking vinyl upholstery is starting to separate in places and the instrument panel, as clean and straightforward as it is, looks like all business and no-frills. From what can be spied, the door panels check out and there appears to be a rubber mat covering the floor. There is an image or two that would indicate that the headliner may need some attention and that’s a lot of headliner!

OK, once again, it’s what to do with it time. Well for starters, probably keep it outside unless the owner has a genuine barn, or something similar in size to accommodate all of this Checker’s extensive real estate. Taking a cruise could be a challenging outing – of course, the rear will follow the front, but think about how many wide turns one would have to make, especially trying to negotiate tight inner-city streets. It makes for quite a visual, and it is certainly a throwback to another time, but really, what would you do with this Aerobus?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Maybe a nice Mormon family will buy it.

    Like 24
    • Bill Member

      Ha. As a Latter Day Saint that’s a good line. Growing up, my Dad had a donut shop. I remember a Mormon family of about 12 kids who actually had one of these. My dad was excited to see them come because he knew he was gonna sell at least a dozen donuts right then and there.

      Like 18
  2. Gary

    I love these old airport shuttles. I saw a photo of a 57 150 Chevy shuttle in a wrecking yard recently, I’d love to have it if I could find the yard.

    Like 1
  3. Robert E. McKasson

    What kind of miles per gallon do you anticipate, if there are only two people in the 1966 Checker Aerobus, with very little cargo?

  4. Mike

    First one I’ve seen that isn’t rusted out, trashed or missing a ton of parts. Might be the only one.

    Like 8
    • Peter

      I looked at it. It has some bad rust. It’s salvageable, but would be a frame off proposition. The rockers and pillars are all badly rusted, the roof above the tailgate is gone, just the paint holds it together. The supports from the frame to the body are so rusted I could have pulled them off. The spare tire well is rusted out completely.

      It’s salvagable and complete, but it will be a big job to stabilize it and put it back together.

      Like 5
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Good job! Thx for your effort and report.

        JO

        Like 3
  5. Sam Shive

    Load up the neighborhood and head over to the nearest CARS and COFFEE for a nice LITTLE CAR Show. The Hotel I worked at had a 6 door one that was used as a shuttle to get guest to and from the Airport, Train and Bus Station. It took some getting use to to learn how to drive it. It run great and in the mid 70’s gas mileage wasn’t a Big deal. GREAT PIECE OF AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY.

    Like 7
  6. Tom c

    Paint it black and auction it off in mennonite country , you probably make a killing .

    Like 2
  7. John

    long? my Silverado is 266 inches. what’s another 4 inches ? a small price to pay for this much cool!

    Like 6
  8. Bob C.

    The transmission is likely a Borg Warner. Checker used an adapter kit to mate the Chevy engines. Checker also made them available to Studebaker when, they too, switched to Chevy power.

    Like 5
  9. Harvey Member

    Yellow marker lights to rear not legal:-)

    Like 2
    • Doug McCausland

      The amber lights could be turn signals? If so, OK.

      Like 4
      • BR

        That type of lamp would not meet luminescent requirements for turn signals, hence illegal on two counts. The ICC three light ID cluster, front and rear, are also illegal (just added for bling) because the vehicle is not over 80 inches wide. Only the two F&R top corner lamps are required, and are called clearance lamps because of vehicles size, re: 49 CFR DOT § 393.11.

        You’re welcome.

        Like 5
  10. Ken Carney

    My girls would definitely try to talk me out
    of buying it, but I want it!! What an Uber mobile this thing would make! All ya’ gotta
    do is keep it full of people to meet your
    driving expenses. I’ve always liked Checker
    cars and I’m still looking for one. Would
    rather have a sedan though. That way my
    SIL wouldn’t protest as much by saying
    “It’s too big!”

    Like 2
  11. Summitrunner Member

    I drove a 6 door version, dark green with a black roof. Picked up skiers at Shawnee Inn and drove them up to the mountain. Sometimes they weren’t the nicest of people. But, there was that one curve in the road, if I hit it just right the tail end of that thing would whip around and those skiers slide into a heap of skis, poles and down booties and curses.
    Miss that thing…

    Like 6
  12. DeeBee

    Long ago, when I was in the R.O.T.C. in high school, for the summer session, the instructor picked up one of these in stunning O.D. green to transport us to various activities! No arguments over who got a window seat, for sure!

    Like 2
  13. Howie Mueler

    Finding parking in the city might be hard, i would guess the odometer has flipped over.

    Like 1
  14. Tracy

    Saw one of these in Waynesboro,VA a few months back. Couldn’t locate the owner. Needed restoration but still made stop and look.

    Like 1
  15. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    My father bought my mother a used 1967 Checker Marathon in 1968. It was army green, 3 on the floor and a tank! I hated that car, especially since my aunt next door had a new Cadillac Sedan de Ville.
    In late 1969 she totalled it by hitting a mountain and trying to climb it. Rolled it several times. Climbed out of the rear window.
    It was replaced with a new 1970 Marathon in black with a blue interior. P/S, P/B, auto, am/fm, and a/c. The old man was finally loosening the purse strings. Still no power windows or locks, but, we’re making progress.
    Hated both those cars then, but wish I had one now. They were factory built tanks.

    Like 2
  16. MarkO

    Imagine: someone driving 24 of their friends through a McDonbalds Drive Thru window and in this, placing 8 orders for food,(with 3 individual meals in each order… due to the bench seats!)
    Each order would be different than the others, and each customized as much as possible: “no pickle, extra ketchup” etc. Lots of milkshakes!
    Of course, stopping and paying at each of the 8 doors!
    “would you like fries with that??? Damn right I would! “No Salt” please!
    The line would likely back up over state lines!
    It would probably make the 10:00 news ( especially if the people on line begin to riot” )at the very least, It would certainly go viral!
    With my luck, I’d be in the car behind them, unable to get off the line.

    Like 5
    • BR

      Epic post!

      Like 1
    • Mike

      Going through Micky D’s would epic, but most drive-thrus have a sharp turn to get around the building and this car probably won’t make the turn.

      Like 4
  17. Kenn

    In 1957 I had a 1948 Chevrolet with the same number of doors! I bought it from a church that had used it as their bus. I used it to haul friends to parties while in college. Left it at the frat house upon graduation.

    Like 2
  18. Terrry

    I believe the engines that were sourced from GM were all balanced and blueprinted, per Checker’s order. Hence they were longer-lived motors.

    Like 1
  19. chrlsful

    just visiting.

    Love da standard wagon – this 1? wouldn’t know what to do w/it but start lookin for work (4 it, not me, too busy now).

  20. Bill McCoskey

    Last night my girlfriends and I were watching a YouTube video about the recent antique car event in a small town in central France. The name of the event is Embouteillage Lapalisse [English translation: Traffic jam in Lapalisse.

    Well hundreds of vintage vehicles descend on the town one Sunday every October and parade all over the town, causing a huge traffic jam, along with hundreds of visitors joining in. The reason I mention this event a few weeks ago is because we saw, rounding a corner in this French town, a Checker 8 door Aerobus!

    I lived in central Europe 40 years ago and drove a big 1956 Chrysler Imperial as my everyday car. That vehicle was always a challenge when navigating European towns of all sizes. I cringe at the thought of driving one of these 8 door Checkers in Europe!

    Like 2

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