Checker Thursday Finale: Vintage Checker Ads

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
checker thursday finale vintage checker ads

Someone has posted a treasure trove of Checker photos at Flickr, and I’ve pulled a few of the ads to share (thanks, whoever you are!) because they’re irresistible. Checker obviously couldn’t afford the big agencies and ad campaigns, but their quaint and home-baked ads are as compelling in telling the Checker story as the cars themselves.

Checkers were valued not just in the US, but were exported successfully for their rugged service and longevity. Those were the days, when American-built products still had the reputation of being exceptionally well made.

As we mentioned in our CC, Checker made the decision to sell their cars for retail customers beginning in 1959, and I vividly remember some of the ads extolling their virtues.

In 1962, Checker was celebrating its fortieth anniversary.

I don’t know how many dealers signed up at the NADA convention, but the “high gross (margin)” line probably didn’t hurt.

The Checker wagon could swallow 4×8 sheet goods as readily as haul the cake to a picnic.

In a stark sign of the times, in 1971 Checker offered the first bullet-proof taxi partition (“costs less than a nickle a day…pretty cheap when you consider it’s your life we’re trying to save”)

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  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Apr 16, 2010

    Love these ads. When I was a kid I sent away for their brochures.They were just so strange and retro for the time. Like something still being built from the 50s. Eggsalad> I used to see cars retrofitted with the water bumpers in the late 60s. Someone in the town where I was living in Utah had a couple of his cars converted to them and was part of a franchise that was promoting them. The car I remember best was a 67 Ford LTD. This is some aftermarket addition the cab company made I suspect, not factory. The 73s have similar bumpers as the former models, but more stout and suspended away from the body. They look awful, BTW. Check Google images. They look like they're simply hung onto a frame

  • Steve W. Crowell Steve W. Crowell on May 29, 2012

    I have always had a sneaking suspicion that the reason Checker closed its' factory was because of litigation involving the partition. There are two problems with "bullet-resistant" partitions. First, they never keep the driver from being shot... easily through the side window. Second, in collisions - people are injured and killed hitting illegal partition features. I admire Checker for everything they did except their overestimation of what a partition can do in an assault and underestimation of the need for safety law compliance. Shortly after Checker closed I innovated the partition design so that it moves with the seat, its' angled to eliminate reflections, no window edge, no coin tray protrusion. It is the only partition ever certified to comply with applicable federal standards. Bring back the Checker, without a partition.

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)