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Movie Cab: 1982 Checker Marathon


While a lot of the cars we feature on here are naturally aged, there are the occasional oddballs that fall outside those lines yet look strikingly similar to barn-kept vehicles. This 1982 Checker Marathon cab found here on eBay is a former movie car that’s been made to resemble a livery vehicle still wearing every year of its history. 


Personally, the movie this car starred in rang no bells with me. The interior is clearly done to look like its been through years of different drivers (and passengers) adding their personal touches, some of which are in bad taste. I certainly hope this wasn’t a survivor grade Checker before the Hollywood set people got to it.


The engine bay looks surprisingly clean. This may be because as part of the prep work for filming, the car received a full tune up and all vital systems were “gone through”, according to the seller. I’m not sure what that means, but he at least indicates the brakes, Posi rear end and exhaust were all components that received some level of attention before being put into stunt duty.


The body on this particular Checker was, believe it or not, purposefully rusted. I find this ironic, considering how often collectors of these former taxi cabs strive to find one in good condition. At first, I was hoping it was just painted on, but it looks like actual corrosion has taken hold all over the body. If you were a fan of the movie Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, this rust likely won’t impact your bid if you desire to own a genuine prop. What do you think it’s good for?


  1. Avatar photo Joe

    Interesting, making a car look ultra used, it is usually the opposite. Here’s the car in action. If I am decoding VIN correctly, should have a 229 V6. But does it matter?


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  2. Avatar photo MH

    What is behind this car? Looks like a taxi cut in half or something.

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    • Avatar photo Joe

      Maybe for a special effect in the movie???

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  3. Avatar photo RayT

    I’ve seen a lot of rusty Checkers, so wouldn’t be surprised if this one had rotted all on its own. The V8 might have been dropped in for “stunt work,” who knows?

    Never heard of this movie. The car would have been perfect for “Escape From New York,” though!

    Over the years, I’ve looked longingly at a few Checkers in civilian livery. This one doesn’t move me.

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  4. Avatar photo DanaPointJohn

    Interior filming is done in cars cut in half, either a front or rear clip. Here are some shots of a taxi front clip. The actors sit in the seats and then green screen projects the background scenery. Sometimes the cut car is on a platform that simulates movement. Movie magic!

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    • Avatar photo Steve B.

      To be clear, they don’t actually project the background onto a greenscreen and film it all together anymore, that hasn’t been done in decades . Rather, the green is taken out digitally and the background inserted (digitally) in post production. Well, maybe Tarantino still shoots everything live but that’s about it.

      That said, this cab looks very purposefully aged, an Art Director did a good job with it.

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  5. Avatar photo Steve

    What do you do with this thing?

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    • Avatar photo PaulieB

      After you buy it you make it available to ComicCons. Promoters will spend pretty serious cash to have your vehicle at their show. And the interior was overdone because you never know what part of the shoot the director and editor wind up using in the film. This Summer’s Ghostbusters film has some interesting cars in it..from the 60s and 70s.

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  6. Avatar photo DanaPointJohn

    Here are the photos.

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  7. Avatar photo DanaPointJohn

    One more. Sorry, Bar Finds does not allow posting multiple photos.

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  8. Avatar photo Andy Taylor

    IMO this car has been butchered, and is parts. I dont think this “movie” car has any more value, simply because this movie was lame, and unremarkable. someday when you mention the movie, people will say “gee I dont remember that one” and this car will be worthless. now with a popular movie, thats a bit different. and Ive drove these Checkers for 30 years…..its such a shame to see a classic treated with so little regard.

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    • Avatar photo streamliner

      I agree with Andy Taylor, the value of any film prop is based on who starred in the production, and/or who handled the prop on film and how successful the production was. This film stars unknowns, was shot in British Columbia 4 years ago and was a flop. As for the Checker, the “Marathon” was the civilian, non-taxi version. Although the Checker taxi and Marathon are largely the same car, people often wrongly refer to the taxi as a “Marathon”. Steve B.’s explanation of greenscreen is correct, films are not shot with projected backgrounds anymore. Despite DanaPointJohn’s photos of cars cut in half for filming, the vast majority of film cars are shot whole, as is. TV soap operas and SNL skits will use cut up cars, but less common to cut up cars for filming angles. (Yes, I work in film…)

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  9. Avatar photo Chebby

    That does not look like my type of film.

    But now I am all in the mood to watch DC CAB again….


    So many good lines in this movie!

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  10. Avatar photo piper62j

    Don’t laugh, but I remember seeing these cabs on the streets of Brooklyn when I visited my grandparents as a child.. The checkered sides always fascinated me along with the color.. They were called “yellow cabs” back then..Very roomy back seat and they were all over the city..

    Those were the days..

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    • Avatar photo George

      Interesting. I always heard them referred to as Checker Cabs on my trips to visit the grandparents in Brooklyn.

      They were THE NYC taxi cab. Well, at least the most recognized although I saw Dodges too….

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  11. Avatar photo Walter Joy

    Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters? Only movie I remember having a rusted Checker in

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    • Avatar photo cameron barta

      i was going to say that to but wasint the cab gray

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  12. Avatar photo JayGryph

    It runs and drives, and has a hell of a look to it, seems reasonable that the only option is to drive the heck out of the thing just as it is.

    I would absolutely drive this car everywhere I got the chance. Car shows would be fun. Promise you’d get more pictures taken of it than a brand new corvette or restored muscle car.

    I’ll for sure take that cup of tea if y’all don’t want it. :)

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  13. Avatar photo Jimmy Apples

    I actually drove a Checker cab in NYC all through college. They rode pretty poorly, but were far better than my ohter option, a Dodge — could fit more people in them, hence more fares. They had a tendency to break front axles, or maybe I just never missed a pothole. Plenty of those around in 1970s NYC.

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  14. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    Now this is THE movie cab to have:

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    • Avatar photo Joe

      Escape from NYC?

      How about this cab?

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      • Avatar photo PRA4SNW


        And that’s another good one.

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  15. Avatar photo van

    Need bill Murray in back seat

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  16. Avatar photo Will

    I could tell this Checker was artificially rusted, because Checkers don’t usually rust in those spots. At least not before developing gaping holes in the tops of the fenders! This car was the only reason I watched the movie, and I remember liking the Roman-key striping in place of the checkered stripes. I’d love to park it next to my other 2 Checkers.

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  17. Avatar photo piper62j

    Here are the movies & shows that used Checker Cabs.

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  18. Avatar photo Dustin

    I wish that Hollywood didn’t have to do this to this cab. You dont find em in good condition often.

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