Last year we were just a little Checker Facebook page, yup for the seven prior years we, interacted daily doing what you do on Facebook…….post stuff. Over the last year we have transformed in a big way, we’re more than just a Facebook page now, we are now the largest Checker Cab club in the world.
What did this plucky little club do to transform? We launched a world class newsletter, 5 issues a year. We launched a new blog and published 90 blogs over the last year. We built a new world class Checker Cab website and on that site we have loaded over 1400 downloadable PDF historical Checker documents.
So when we were challenged that we were not a true club because we did not have a national show, we launched a show! Not just any show, we had a fun filled three day moving interstate show! Day one Auburn, Indiana and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. Day two the National Automobile and Truck Museum of the United States (NATMUS). Day three, we packed up our Checkers and moved them across state lines to Kalamazoo, Michigan to the Great Checker Garage Sale, we Checker folk do things in a big way.
In summary the three day event presented Checker fans with access to view twenty-five Checkers. Thirteen Checkers were on display at the Auburn Cord Duesneberg Museum outdoor plaza. On Sunday eight Checkers left Auburn and drove to Kalamazoo and Chris Markin’s storage facility to meet up with seven more Checkers. In Auburn five additional Checkers were on displayed in the two Museums. Members drove to Auburn from six states, two members flew in from Georgia and Pennsylvania. The oldest Checker at the event was a 1933 Model T. The newest displayed was the 1982 Model A12 with only sixteen miles on the odometer!
Day one turned out to be a very nice sunny day. The first official entry to arrive was the NATMUS Aerobus, followed by Joe Fay with his two Checkers, a 1950 A4 and 1957 A8. The threesome was soon joined by the ACD 1933 Checker Model T, pulled by a club cadet tractor! Later in the morning Tim and Zandra Bower arrived in a stunning Model A11 Winkoff Marathon. Andy Taylor made the long drive from the Joplin, Missouri area in his 1967 A12w. Jeff Friedman arrived in “Big Red”, a bright red Checker, making the trip from Atlanta in very good time.
The Checker fans were soon joined by Ben Merkel and Peter Talanca with his family in tow from Ohio. Arriving from Wisconsin at about 12 pm, Emerson Zentz and his wife Rachel with not one but two Checkers! Former CMC employees Rick Burgen and his friend Pete Anderson joined up later in Rick’s spotless Midnight blue A12 making a showing on Saturday of twelve rare Checkers.
Also joining the group was former CMC plant superintendent John Logan and his wife Lola. All the Checker fans tried to suck all the knowledge out of John Logan’s head, it was a rare treat. A week earlier Bruce Uhrich showed his Checker Model A8 at Macungie Park, for this event Bruce left the A8 at home and flew to Auburn with his son Patrick Uhrich.
The tour of the ACD Museum allowed Checker Car Club members to see some of the most luxurious automobiles produced in the US at the height of the depression. The group toured the executive offices of E.L. Cord and former Checker head of Engineering Herbert Snow’s office and viewed various exposed X-braced frames. It’s amazing how similar the Auburn frame is when compared to a Checker frame.
Day two started out slow due to the rain, but that did not stop the Checker faithful from showing up to enjoy Checkers mid-morning. David Veenstra and Richard Garrison came down from Kalamazoo in David’s working Checker used in his real estate business. A number of Checkerless Facebook fans also participated on Saturday. First in was Steve Yorks, followed by Bob Maly and auto writer Bill McGuire. Ben Risdon stopped by and spent the day with his wife and children. A special thank you to Ben Risdon for his club donation or rare Checker documentation.
The tour of the NATMUS covered three floors of the museum. Consistent with many Checker owners encouragement of touching Checkers, NATMUS tour guides encourage all of our member to climb aboard the GM Futureliner and sit in the capitan’s seat, a mere ten feet off the ground. The Checker group also viewed five NATMUS Checkers donated by friend Bill Welsh. Checker fans also had a chance to view the restoration shop, the area is typically not open to NATMUS guests, but because we were so nice, they let us in to see the current projects.
On Sunday the static show became a moving show, eight Checker were driven approximately 100 miles to Kalamazoo. First stop, the hollow ground of the old CMC factory. The Checker revelers, stop for about 10 minutes to pay their respects and take photographs of the place where our Checker were produced. The Checker then went on to meet up with other Checker fans at Chris Markin’s place.
Checker founder Morris Markin’s grandson Chris Markin’s storage facility was transformed into the Great Checker Garage Sale. Chris and Joy Faust Markin were kind enough to put out a big spread for the hard charging Checker drivers who arrived looking for parts. Bill Beurkens and Jim Garrison arrived in their Checkers to pick up some parts earlier in the day.
Also at the Markin facility was Jake Wilson and Cindy Hartson from Iowa, they were Checkerless, but hopefully the parts they purchased will get their Checker back on the road. On display were four of Chris Markin’s mint Checkers. All great cars, two stood out, one with only 16 miles on the odometer and one a factory prototype and sedan back Aerobus.
The Markin’s kind gesture was well received by all who participated. Key for Chris was the idea that these parts were going to help keep Checkers on the road. All parts were sold with the understanding that the parts should not be sold for profit. It’s very important for Chris and his family that the true Checker and its history lives on.
Former CMC employees participated in the event including new member Jan Kapper. Jack Fritz Jr. also stopped by for parts. The next day Jack posted on Facebook “Drove my Checker home from the repair shop today. Next thing to do is get shocks, tires and mirrors” hopefully parts from Chris will help Jack get his Checker back on the road. CCC member Ed Fox also stopped by with wife and child, Ed managed to perfectly time his arrival just when the Checker from Auburn were pulling in. Special thanks to Rick Burgen for coordinating and helping Chris inventory and price all items.
Considering that this was the Internet Checker Taxicab Archives first event, the results were well received. Well over 50 Checker fans participated in the three day event. Seven former CMC employees participated in the event including John Logan. Both John Logan and Chris Markin have made significant donations to the Internet Checker Taxicab Archive. It was nice to personally thank them for their contributions.
Will there be another show? You bet, where and when is unclear right now, but expect an announcement sometime in the October time frame. We’ll keep you posted.
For a full video of the weekend events check out