The Michigan factory where the iconic American taxicab had been built since forever, is being demolished. As a one-time cabbie myself, I have a bit of sentimentality attached to this one.
The company is Checker Motors...
|Not my photo.|
[UPDATE: David Kohrman has informed me that this was in fact an Albert Kahn building, built in 1929 as the body plant. David recently authored an article on Checker Motors for the Kalamazoo Public Library.]
I worked on one built in the '80s, and it was basically just like a Chevy truck under that 1950s skin. Even though production of the Checker taxicab ended in 1982, they remained in use on the streets of Manhattan for almost another three decades, attesting to their durability...the U.S. Army probably could have stormed Bastogne with a couple Checker cabs just as easily as with the Willys jeeps they adopted.
This never came to fruition however, because Ed Cole died when his private plane crashed during a storm near Kalamazoo in 1977.
In the early 1980s, New York City loosened its taxi regulations, allowing standard production sedans to operate as taxis, which basically meant that the Big Three automakers could start selling Crown Vics and Caprices to the taxi companies. Checker Motors was unable to compete in that kind of market, and in 1981 posted their first fiscal loss since going into production in 1922.
The last Checker Motors taxicab used in New York City was retired in 2010.
David Markin passed away in 2013.
This is Louieland. You want America, go outside!
How Detroit Became the Automotive Capitol, by Robert Szudarek