Arizona 8-Seater: 1972 Checker Marathon A11

 

Taxi!! Do people even yell for taxis anymore? I would think that it’s mostly done by phone or app now, or maybe by waving a hand in the air or being in the right place at the right time. The most famous line of taxis at one time, at least in the US, was the Checker and this 1972 Checker Marathon is taxi spec but was never used as a taxi. This big, beautiful Checker can be found here on craigslist in big, beautiful Tucson, Arizona where I should be living by now. The seller is asking $7,500. Thanks to Ikey H. for submitting this one!

The Checker company is so well known for making taxis, or making cars that taxi companies used as taxis, that it’s easy to forget that they actually sold cars to the general public. The seller says that this one is an A11 model which is taxi spec in being a little more bare-bones and it appears to show A 11 on the VIN. It sure looks like a nice one.

It isn’t perfect, though. There are various dings but the seller says that it has zero rust and it has had one repaint in the original color, or tone. A year or two later, Checker would start to cut back on the rugged materials used in their tough cars and thinner metal would rust a little quicker and aluminum bumpers showed up. The company would go out of business a decade after this car was made, in 1982.

The interior is really where it’s at with a Checker. You can see that this isn’t a luxury car in the least. The Checker Marathon was a big, tough, pragmatic vehicle for giving rides in and that’s really what their magic was. They were almost too tough and it caused many owners to beat the H out of them and nothing can take that much abuse. They’re rare to find today. The back seat is wicked huge and perfect in this car and you can see the two extra jump seats making it an eight-seater. The gauges are all business and you can see one of the few flaws inside, an issue with the padded dash.

The engine in this workhorse is a Chevrolet 350 cubic-inch V8 which would have had around 245 hp. It has a new water pump, timing chain, a fresh carb rebuild, new radiator hoses, and all sorts of other items. The AC is ice-cold and this one is ready to go. Are there any Checker fans out there?

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Comments

  1. CJinSD

    Checker stopped making cabs in 1982, but they remained in business as an automotive supplier until 2010. This looks like a pretty sound Marathon for a fairly sane price. I suspect the engine had around 165 net horsepower in 1972 though.

    Like 3
    • Bob C.

      Correct, 245 was 1971 gross ratings. IMO there wasn’t any loss of power for a lot of engines between these two years, except on paper.

      Like 1
  2. Fred W

    If you ordered this car for your own personal use in 1972, you were definitely marching to the beat of your own drummer.

    Like 17
  3. RATTLEHEAD

    Ed Cole’s last go around. i am pretty sure he died in a plane crash on his way to checker. but i think that piece came from a documentary called “the hot one” about the ’55 chevy and the 265ci small block which he was instrumental in creating.

    Like 2
  4. chrlsful

    twins in their mid 60s drove one around the town I grew up in (1960s & ’70s). That was odd, so were they, wore boler hats and a lill bit different style suits & ties for daily wear. Did they have lill brit’s moustaches? Yeah, think so – like Hitler’s…

    Wouldn’t mind this exactly as it is – in their wagon (takes a full sheet plywood).

    Like 2
  5. Seth

    Does anyone else see the styling similarities to a late 50’s Mercedes Benz?

    Like 4
  6. Howard A Member

    Ha! Yelling taxi,,,THAT dates the author some. The Checker, world’s only generic automobile. It’s even white, all that’s missing is a bar code. I’d have to say, the Checker has to be the best American car made. The amount of miles these cars were driven more than qualifies as being the best. I think I rode in 1 taxi my whole life, and it wasn’t a Checker. Come to think of it, I don’t recall ever being in a Checker, but doesn’t matter, it’s record speaks for itself. And Checkers moment in the sun? Hands down, the movie Taxi driver. “You talkin’ to me”?

    Like 8
  7. Pat

    A friend had a checker wagon back in the early 70’s. Painted it silver blue, with a matching mirrored film on the side and back windows. It was pretty cool looking. It rode nice, and seemed to be super wide compared to my parents LTD. He was into really unique rides. He built a Honda 305 chopper, custom hard tail frame, springer extended forks….

    Like 5
  8. CCFisher

    Can we talk about the ’60 Buick wagon in the background?

    Like 1
    • RGSmith1 Member

      Was just about to say I’d be more interested in the Buick long roof myself.

      Like 2
    • GERARD k LAPIERRE

      ’59 buick

  9. Major Thom

    A vintage Stewart-Warner temperature gauge would be a big improvement over the cheap SunPro one that somebody stuck in there. Not that hard to find.

    Like 2
  10. luke arnott Member

    An attempt was made in WW2 by Bantam to tie up with Checker to produce Jeeps – sadly didn’t happen.

    Like 2
  11. 1Ronald

    Taxi? How about limosine? When I was at The Pentagon there were several Checker limos in their fleet. I was always chauffered to my eveing graduate class at George Washington University in one. Love those Checkers. Even if painted Army green.

    Like 4
  12. Steve Bush Member

    Cool car! I remember riding in Checker taxis a few times yearly growing up here in Cleveland. Occasionally, even with our family of six, perhaps going to the airport. I think most of them had the jump seats removed, I only remember how much leg room there was in the back. Howard; just curious; how did you get to age 65 without taking at least a few dozen taxi rides?

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Steve, you know, that’s a good question. I suppose it’s because I always carried a toolbox with me, and always “got ‘er home”.

  13. Richard M Gaskill

    There is a Checker Motor Company in Massachusetts that bought the brand name. They restore and sell Checkers. They have a Facebook page

    Like 4
  14. Mountainwoodie

    As a youngun in the Big City , and this was before the Taxis went all yellow, it seemed every other cab was a Checker. These round jump seats were the biggest treat a little kid could have! The grey interior had a certain feel and smell to it. I also knew a family that only drove Checkers! Wagons at that! We thought they were kinda weird :)
    This looks like a really good oddball to own,

    Like 2

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