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Check Out This Checker Wagon!


I love Checkers, and I love the wagons the most of all! Some day I’ll own one, and I only hope it will be as nice as this one looks to be. It’s located in Ventura, California and is listed for sale here on eBay, where the seller is asking $7,500 or best offer.


I would be surprised if this two-tone color scheme were original, but it suits the car well and would allow you to camouflage rust repairs in the lower panels–perhaps that’s why it’s painted this way in the first place?


I’m always struck by the sheer massiveness of these vehicles, especially the bumpers and general proportions. And look at all the glass! With the classic robustness of a taxi and unique styling touches, the Marathon is really a one of one when it comes to looks and class.


All that and it’s practical too; look at all the loading room back here! The seller mentions that the car needs seats, I wonder if they are referring to upholstery or if there’s something actually wrong with the seats themselves? There’s certainly enough room for a third seat in the rear if you wanted to put one there. If you don’t mind deviating from stock, you could always find a late model three row SUV interior from your local junkyard, perhaps in leather? That would work for me!


Here’s what you’d be seeing as the driver. Unusually, this wagon has a three speed transmission on the floor; most Checkers are automatics. This is one car where I’d be ok either way, but I think I might consider swapping in a more modern transmission for more relaxed cruising. Would you?


A Chevrolet small block V8 will have plenty of oomph for this car. With a blue inner fender on one side, but black on the other and the firewall has me wondering if this car has some previous accident damage. The auction house that has listed the car for the second owner doesn’t add much to our knowledge, although they do tell us it runs and drives well. Would you like to be driving it next?


  1. Howard A Member

    I’ve always thought of the Checker as a “generic” car. Nothing fancy, dated styling, year after year, but a more dependable car from the US, I doubt you will find. These racked up millions ( billions?) of taxi miles, but a little plain for me as a DD. I like the wagon part, though. Big following for these. Won’t be around long.

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  2. Dave Wright

    The GMC dealer in Spokane my dad bought trucks at was also a Checker dealer. Along with the typical taxi’s they sold some very nice high end cars for personal use. They were all custom built and like an international, had a huge option list including Diesel engines. There was one on the showroom with leather interior, lots of chrome, deep wool carpet. It really reminded me of a high quality Mercedes of the time. This car looks like it might have been one of these cars that never saw commercial taxi service. Very nice car. They were quite expensve as well.

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  3. geezerglide85

    I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that the 3-speed floor shift was an option so taxi operators didn’t have to worry about shift linkage wearing out or needing adjustment. I was always a fan of these. It was said that in 1983 (last year of prod?) that it was the best 1955 car you could buy. The last Checker cab in NYC was retired with just shy of 1 million miles on it.

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    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      I would not want to be a cabbie in any large city driving a manual tranny. I have not been to a large city in a long time. What is the cab of choice now? Thanks, Mike.

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      • RichS

        Has been the Ford Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car for years but since the last of those rolled off the line about 5 years ago Priuses (Priuii?), Ford Escapes/Toyota Camrys and a handful of others seem to have taken their place. New York City has selected the Nissan NV200 minivan as the official NYC taxi


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      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Thanks RichS. That Nissan is cool. I would have still been looking to flag down a Checker! Take care, Mike.

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  4. Val

    We use to have a 8 door Checker cab Limo /Prison Transport vehicle .The pass side seat was facing backward’s and had a shotgun holder right next to the cage that blocked the front off from the back . Only 1 door was able to open on the back so we had to get the other’s to unlock but My Brother used it as a Car Pool Car hauled great .

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  5. Walter Joy

    I’ve only seen one. It was a sedan model with a diesel that is used at the NRAO radio telescope site in Green Bank, WV. Fun fact: spark plugs give off radio frequencies that screw with the signal on the telescope. So they all use Cummins Rams (but there are 2 Scouts (one a pickup), a Suburban (1967-72), and a few VW Rabbit P/Us too) with special detectors to drive off and find broken household appliances in a huge radius (and no digital cameras on sight).

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  6. David Miraglia

    Back in the1970’s and 1980’s my parents owned two Checker cabs ,then some Impala’s. They were roomy as hell. Loved the fold down rear seats. What we really need is a updated version of the Checker built to 21st century standards. With a fuel
    efficient engine and a updated body style.

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    • Dave Wright

      The English have, the modern UK Taxies look retro but are new built with incredible room. Most have Diesel engines but are also mostly built in the Orient. They are not really big overall, just make great use of the space inside.

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