Markin: financier, industrial manufacturer, world class corporate taxicab monopolizer…………….and pitch man!

Morris Markin was not only a great financier, industrial manufacturer and world class corporate monopolizer, he was also a corporate pitchman. Much like Lee Iacocca at Ford and Chrysler, Markin consistently found his way into the press limelight sharing his thoughts and perspective as Checker expanded into the consumer market.
Let’s take a look at some of his commentary. What I find interesting is that much of what was published is exaggerated, wrong or just plain crazy. To be fair, you can’t blame a guy for pitching, a true pitchman will get you excited about their products, so excited, you want to buy it.

A great read is a New York Times story reported in July 1959. Times writer Joseph C. Ingraham presented an extensive article on the new Checker about to be introduced for consumer purchase in the Summer of 59. Let’s review his commentary and separate fact from fiction. We won’t review the technical aspects which are largely correct, let’s look more at the color commentary.

Checker Claim One

The new Checker Cab consumer car will have a new spring and suspension system that provides far more comfortable riding.

Accuracy, pretty much a false claim.  In 1959 right up till 1983, Checker Superbas and Marathons used the same suspension at the Model A9 and A11 taxicab found in commercial cabs in city taxicab service. The suspension itself was the same design found in the Checker Model A8 introduced in 1956.  A parts bin design, the Checker utilizes Ford OEM parts found on the standard Ford for 1956.

Checker Claim Two

Markin says that the Superba has been designed to perform like a passenger car and take punishment like a taxicab.

Absolutely true! No questions asked.

Checker Claim Three

In their quest for a car that stresses comfort and convenience more than high style the Superbas’s designers have produced an automobile that bears a passing resemblance to an old London taxicab.

Well take a look at a picture of a 1958 London Cab, really? The slab sided modern for 1956 design compared to the London cab with 30’s era styling looks nothing like a Checker.

The only item that reminds us of a Checker is the checkerboard strip on the side of this period Austin

Checker Claim Four

According to Mr. Markin, the windshield does not wrap around.

Well there is a true curve in the windshield, not a compound curve as found in Fords, Chevys and Plymouths of the day. but the windshield is wrap around.

Looks like a wrap-around to me

Checker Claim Five

There isn’t any intention of following the standard industry practice of annual model changes. The car’s silhouette and trim probably will remain unaltered for at least three years.

This claim is funny, in that the first half of the comment is true, three years later in 1961 Checker altered the styling by putting a center dip in the bumper. However, the comment is totally incorrect as the style from 1962 did not change until 1974 when there was another bumper change!  More importantly, the silhouette never changed! In the end the total statement is incorrect.

 The 1960 Checker Superba, note the straight bumper………bumpers were the only stylized change that spanned three decades not years!

Checker Claim Six

Checker will sell 30,000 Superba per year to a family-type trade that wants comfort and ease of driving for more than the high-style featured by the rest of the industry.

Checker never produced more than about 5000 cars a year, this perspective is totally wrong.

Markin thought 30,000 family would switch to Checker for value, but buyers wanted excess for the next decade



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