Contributing to the dependability of the 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 Checker was the 226-cid Continental six-cylinder engine, offered in either L-head (80 horsepower) or overhead-valve (122 bhp) form. Sizable torque peaked at only 1,400 or 1,800 rpm, permitting smooth acceleration without constant downshifts.
Longer in wheelbase than the typical American sedan, Checkers were shorter overall, measuring just 199.5 inches. As many as eight passengers could ride in reasonable comfort inside a Superba, through use of optional twin jump seats in the back, enjoying a hump-free floor. Wide doors made it easy to climb in and out.
For 1961, a new Marathon sedan replaced the initial Superba Special, and all sedans switched from 15-inch to 14-inch tires. Wagons adopted the ohv engine as standard.
Prices ranged from $2,542 for a Superba sedan to $3,004 for a Marathon wagon. Checker customers had a growing option list, including air conditioning, power steering, and an automatic transmission. By the end of the 1960s, the choices included bucket seats, a vinyl roof, two-tone paint, and Powr-Lok rear axle.
Sedans reverted to 15-inch tires in 1962. New that year was a Town Custom Limousine on a 129-inch wheelbase (nine inches longer than normal), carrying a hefty $7,500 price tag along with its vinyl top and glassed-in driver's compartment.
Overhead-valve engine output got a boost for 1963, to 141 horsepower. In 1964 the Superba name was dropped, so all standard-size Checkers were called Marathons.
Probably the most significant change was a switch from Continental to Chevrolet engines for 1965. The initial list included a 230-cid six (140 bhp), a 283-cid V-8 (195 bhp) for $110 extra, and 327 V-8 (250 bhp).
Either an automatic transmission or overdrive was available, at $248 and $108 (respectively). "No other car looks like ... is built like ... rides like ... The Checker Marathon," trumpeted the mid-1960s sales literature.
A Marathon Deluxe sedan came in 1966, as well as a lower-priced ($4,541) limousine. Both dropped out the following year, but soon returned. A 307-cid V-8 became available in 1968, and a 350-cid in 1969.
By that time, the basic Marathon was selling for $3,290, a long-wheelbase Deluxe for $3,983, and the limo went for $4,957. At the end of 1968, a 327 V-8 cost an extra $108, and the 350 V-8 brought $194. Perkins diesel power also was available, at an eye-opening $1,279.
Checker production slumped in the 1970s when Morris Markin died and his son David took over. By mid-1982, the final Checker rolled off the assembly line.
The fact that so many Checkers remain on the street, both in taxi and privately owned form, attests to the practical design and rugged build quality of this unyielding and unusual automobile.
For 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 Checker specifications, continue on to the next page.