Checker's founder, Morris Markin, was a Russian immigrant
who in 1922 built the company into one of the dominant
producers and operators in the taxi industry, employing
about 1,000 people and producing about 5,000 cars a
year at its peak.
For years the vehicles enjoyed a near monopoly in New
York where Mr. Markin held about 4,000 taxi medallions
and the cars were dominant in Chicago, Pittsburgh
and Minneapolis, as well. But when New York authorized
the use of smaller cars as taxis in 1954, Checker steadily
lost ground as drivers shifted to cheaper, fuel-efficient
vehicles, and Mr. Markin sold his taxi medallions.
When the last cab rolled off the line on July 12, 1982,
the headline in The New York Times read, ''Checker Taxi,
60, Dies of Bulk in Kalamazoo.'' All that bulk provided
sturdiness, though, and the last Checker cab in New
York did not retire until 17 years later, on July 26,
A. G. Sulzerber, The New York Times
Checker has an amazing following of collectors. In my
hometown Houston, Texas there is one that
drives the streets daily, not in search of a fare, but
as daily transportation. They refuse to die. As a tribute
to that car and all the other Checkers that roam the
streets, we present a selection of Checker literature.