I don’t quite believe this just yet, but the idea tickles me something fierce:
If this looks to you like half an old Checker Marathon, the definitive 1960s taxi, with a truck bed attached, well, that’s kind of what it is:
Checker Motor Cars, based in Haverhill, Massachusetts, is the indirect descendant of the Kalamazoo, Michigan company that cranked out odd but iconic Marathons from 1961 until 1982. Those boxy vehicles, which looked old even when the model debuted, populated taxi fleets from coast to coast and earned the Marathon a cult following. The original company officially bit the dust in 2010 after leaving the auto manufacturing business in 1982. Now, a reborn Checker services and restores those earlier vehicles.
With fingers crossed, Checker plans to take advantage of the recent Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act and build two models — a two-door pickup version of its classic sedan (called the Sport Pickup Cross-over), and a six-door, 12-passenger version, similar to the old Aerobus airport hauler. The company says it’s making headway, with a host of suppliers lined up.
“Low volume” is defined in the law as 325 per year, and Checker doesn’t expect to bump up against that ceiling. The pick-em-up will be powered by a GM crate engine, which makes sense, inasmuch as the original Checker cars, after a few years with the same Continental inline-six that powered Kaiser/Frazer cars, were equipped with Chevrolet mills.
Production target date: sometime in late 2018.