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Thursday, June 18, 2015

92 Years Ago Today, Checker Produced its First Taxi Cab in Michigan


Checker Cab

The Checker cab company is an American icon. Rising to fame in the early 1920s, the lovable taxis still warms of the hearts of true enthusiasts even today. And in June of 1923, Checker produced its very first taxi.
The first Checker cab was produced in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on June 18th, 1923, by founder and Russian immigrant Morris Markin. In 1921, he got a $15,000 loan to help a friend with his struggling car business, Commonwealth Motors.

Checker Taxi 3

Markin took over Commonwealth, merged it with his own body shop, Markin Automobile Body, and called it Checker Taxi as an agreement with the already existing cab business in Chicago. Initially, the business was located in Joliet, Illinois.
After two years, Markin had shifted to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and begun buying up the already existing Checker cab operators in the Chicago area and producing new taxis of his own. By 1937, Markin was in complete control of all Checker taxis in Chicago and New York, and began turning the formerly small taxi company into a nationwide monopoly.

Checker Taxi 4

The company experienced much success throughout the decade, and in 1939 introduced the Model A, which would brand every following vehicle with the same designation from there on. In 1956, the iconic A8 (pictured above) cemented the Checker cab as a thing of beauty in the eyes of enthusiasts, and continue to be the most recognizable today.

In 1982, after nearly 60 years of successful taxi manufacturing, Checker produced it last taxi, the Model A12. The brand continued to work closely with General Motors in parts production until 2009 when it was officially declared bankrupt.