Judging by the number of Checker cars built and the fact, that the company ceased automobile production in 1982 there are quite a lot of different Checker model cars around. Just another proof that the Checker Motors Corporation did produce more than cars between 1922 and 1982. They created an American icon, just like Coca-Cola or Harley-Davidson. Especially when the car comes along in it’s yellow New York outfit – the reason why most of the Checker model cars are based on the Big Apple symbol.

Checker Pick-Up

My favourite Checker model car, a Checker pick-up, custom-made by Dirk Patschkowski www.xsdreams.de

Click here to view the Checker Pick-up gallery

1/18 Sunstar New York Checker Taxi

Based on the 1/18 Sunstar New York Checker taxi, wonderfully modified to look like a wreck by Junkyard Jewels. It will cost you 125 US-$. A fantastic investment and very special addition to any diecast collection. By the way Junkyard Jewels will transfer any new 1/18 diecast into a rust-bucket. Have a look at their wonderful website.

Click here to see more pics of my Junkyard Jewel New York taxis.

One-off 1/43 scale diecast models

1. New York Checker Taxicab

Three one-off 1/43 scale diecast models, which were handmade to order in Germany by VF-Americars (www.vf-americars.de), which turned out to be a very unpleasant experience. Instead of the promised eight weeks it took eight months for the models to be build and only after involving a lawyer they were delivered. Advise: If you order VF models don’t pay upfront. The quality of the finished resin models is quite good. As I said, I have got three: My very own New York Checker taxicab, including the dent in the front bumper and my personal South African NYTAXI-WP registration plates. The model is mounted in a Manhattan diorama. Watch the Taxi Driver and Out of Africa movie posters on the walls.

2. Nine Door Checker Aerobus Station Wagon

The second model is a “brand new” nine door Checker Aerobus station wagon in a two-tone colour scheme, light blue with an off-white roof. It is the combi version of the extended Marathon, fitted with a roof rack.

3. Eight-door Checker Aerobus in taxi yellow

The third model is a diorama again, with a completely “fucked up”, eight-door Checker Aerobus in taxi yellow. A typical restoration project in a workshop environment, featuring “rust, repaired putty patches, wrong wheels, painted fender”. Watch the details, such as Coca Cola soda machine, the replacement fenders, the oil cabinet and the Checker posters. The model is not based on the Mini Marque 43!

limited editions

Probably the most expensive stock Checker model-cars are the limited editions of the three 1/43 Aerobus models from Mini-Marque 43, which are no longer in production. They did build a yellow, eight-door Checker Aerobus with Budweiser logo (edition 500 units), one with a Coca-Cola logo (edition 100 units), and one without any logos, also yellow, but with a set of white wall tyres (250 units). Apparently there were also several one-offs and protoypes, a white and two blue ones (click here for pics).

All the MM43 Checker Aerobus models were modelled after the original white Checker Aerobus, once owned by the deceased company owner Richard Biggs. He originally purchased the car from a hospital.

And I have seen pictures of several other MiniMarque 43 Checker Aerobus taxis in different colours for different American cities.

Currently prices for Mini-Marque 43 Checker Aerobuses range from 250 to 450 US-$ per model. The models are very detailed, heavy white-metal quality. Only the rear wheel arches don’t seem to be right, they are too high up above the wheels. Very rare.

Western Models

Western Models are also “made in the United Kingdom” and the company is still in business. They currently offer three Checker models (1/43). A yellow¬† New York taxi (WMS 055 T), a green-beige Chicago taxi (WMS 055 TC) and a white police cruiser (Checker Police WMS 055 P). Rare to not so rare. They are planning on producing a Checker Marathon (WMS 086) in the near future. Prices are around 130 US-$. Used models are sometimes a little bit cheaper at E-Bay (www.ebay.com). My New York taxi is from Ebay, the Chicago one from “Toys for Collectors” (www.toysforcollectors.com) and the police version directly from Western Models in Great Britain. The models are very heavy quality, but not really well detailed.

limited edition Spanish Altaya models

The relatively affordable, limited edition Spanish Altaya models (1/43) are very well done, but no longer produced. There have a New York and a San Francisco Checker taxi. Between 30 and 50 US-$ at Ebay (www.ebay.com & www.ebay.de). Sometimes on offer.

IXO produces a brilliant 1/43 New York Taxi. Very good details. Sometimes on offer at Ebay (www.ebay.com & www.ebay.de). Around 30 US-$.

1/43 Checker taxi model with roof advertisement

Flea markets and souvenir outlets in New York are selling a not accurate 1/43 Checker taxi model with roof advertisement “Welcome to New York”. Available at Ebay (www.ebay.com & www.ebay.de). Between 5 and 10 US-$. Sometimes on offer.

No longer in production is the 1/43 New York taxi from Ertl, which is easily available at Ebay (between 4 and 8 US-$; www.ebay.com & www.ebay.de). It is not very accurate. Not rare, even mint in box.

Sunnyside New York Checker 1/34, available under 10 US-$ (www.ebay.com & www.ebay.de). Very nice model. Frequently offered.

Franklin Mint

You don’t have to say a lot about Franklin Mint. Excellent quality in a 1/24 scale. Extremely detailed New York Taxi. Heavy metal/resin model. Prices between 100 and 120 US-$ at Ebay (www.ebay.com & www.ebay.de). Easy available.

Sun Star is producing four low-price, detailed Checker taxi models in a 1/18 scale: a New York, a Chicago, an Atlanta and a Los Angeles taxi version. Between 20 and 30 US-$ per taxi (www.ebay.com & www.ebay.de). Easy available.


Matchbox started with a yellow New York Checker taxi (1/62) in 2003. Under 5 US-$ at Ebay. Easy available.

Than the scale is getting smaller. Golden Wheels has some 1/64 Checker models, of which I have two: the New York taxi version and a fire chief car. Between 5 and 10 US-$ per model. www.goldenwheelsdiecast.com . Rare.

Italian sweet’s manufacturer Ferrero offered for a limited period several taxis in their chocolate surprise eggs. One of them a yellow New York Checker. At Ebay between 4 and 10 US-$. Quite rare.

The German company BS Design has three 1/87 plastic model kits of Checkers: a yellow New York Checker taxi with decals and rubber tyres (42) from 1989, which I have got and another one in white plastic (No. 297) as well as an Aerobus (No. 264). All three models have to painted and assembled. On German Ebay between 15 and 20 US-$. Quite rare.

Definitely the smallest Checker cab diecast model is the N scale 1/160 one from Road Master Series. The tiny car is unpainted, made of 100 % Britannia pewter. It does com with tiny decals and can be painted in any taxi colour or just left silver like mine. A rare find at Ebay for around 5 US-$. Very rare.

other models

There are several fun Checkers around, mostly not to scale, like Christmas decorations, pedal cars, mini-pedal cars, tin boxes, cups etc.

© Dieter Losskarn - words & images | travel - motoring - lifestyle