The 1960-1969 Checker was an opportunity for the general public to own a solid, dependable, no-frills Checker -- a car that they'd trusted for years as a taxi cab.
Morris Markin, a Russian immigrant who founded Checker Motors in 1922, had one trait in common with Henry Ford: a distaste for change. Once you get the right design, Markin figured, it made sense to stick with it. Apart from the Model T Ford, then, few automobiles have exhibited less year-to-year revision than the Checker.
Checkers were built tough and driven tough. When Markin entered the business in Chicago, competition from rival John Hertz's Yellow Taxi was anything but genteel.
Drivers who were handy with their fists were far more useful than those who merely knew the city streets. Through all those years, Checker cabs rolled regularly out of the plant at Kalamazoo, Michigan.
But wait; what are taxicabs doing in this article? They're here because Checker decided to give the general public an opportunity to drive one of the tough and dependable (if unfashionable) super-square sedans themselves.
So for the 1960 model year, Checker took its A8 taxi series, introduced four years earlier, spiffed up the interior, and placed it on sale as the Superba with a $2,542 price tag.
A heavier four-door station wagon also went on the market. Except for their interiors and lack of commercial markings, they were virtually identical to the taxis that prowled the streets of nearly every American city.
Those who thought the basic model a tad too austere could choose a Special; but even that wasn't quite plush inside.
Customers didn't exactly wait in frenzied lines, checkbooks in hand, for a chance to take home a Checker. Still, a few hundred practical souls yearly saw the merits of a tested, down-to-earth, no-frills design, billed as "the common-sense car America asked for."
If Checker taxis could hold up under the rigors of day-and-night operation, buyers reasoned, surely their non-commercial counterparts would also experience impressive longevity.
Go to the next page to find out about the styling of the 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 Checker.
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