Thinking Checker Cabs of Michigan

Historic Checker Cars of Kalamazoo

DETROIT – For the Obama inauguration, two Detroit News staffers, Charlie LeDuff and Max Ortiz, drove a 1973 Checker cab from Michigan to D.C. Thanks to our buddy Peter Hubbel, a native of Michigan, for pointing the article out to us. He’s a Checker Cab fan.

Checker Cab Article Detroit News

The article is called “Rust Belt in a Rusty Checker Cab” and it traces them from Detroit through Toledo, Cleveland, New Brighton, Pittsburgh, Bedford, Gettysburg and Baltimore. It’s got some video of the trip, and the car; particularly poignant is their reading of the Gettysburg Address.

It’s a great idea, and points up a number of facts:

  1. The Checker was a cool car. Very cool. Cult appeal. Pity it didn’t survive. There is still something there.
  2. The Checker was made in Kalamazoo. I need learn more about this.
  3. There is untapped industrial energy in America. Where the heck did it go? And why can’t we get it back.
  4. Americans need to make things again.
  5. This is a great country. Says LeDuff, when a car repair mechanic says it is a deathtrap and it won’t make it the whole way to Washington, “American Ends in I-Can.”

The Checker Cab appears on:


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

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  1. my grandfather died before i was born and all i know about him is his name was percy wilkins and he had something to do with a car made of two front halves of cars and he worked for checker cab co before 1954 any info or a picture of the car would be cool my grandma showed me a picture of the car once and it was cool.

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