Saturday, October 17, 2015


Letters We Get Letters


A Fleet of Checker A8's that serviced Parsippany and Newark New Jersey
 
Remember the old Perry Como jingle: Letters We Get Letters?  We do, but we don’t get letters at the Checker Cab Group Blog, all we get are emails and Facebook messages. At least Checker Cab Manufacturing did receive fan letters back from the 1956 through 1958 period.    These great letters can be found in the online club archive and library. A link can be found at the bottom of this blog.

All the letters are interesting as a read and when put into perspective provide better understanding of the transition going on at Checker and the taxi cab industry for 1958. 

Checker produced a brochure for the newly introduced Checker Model A9, as part of the sales campaign in 1958.  The published brochure reprinted about 60 letters Checker received from Checker Model A8 buyers and taxicab operators.  The following are excerpts of the letter published by Checker.


The Compton California Checker A8 Fleet of South East, Taxi.
 

Many letters when read collectively present key sales themes, for example the theme is the letter below indicates the new fresh styling of the Checker.

Quick Service Taxi Company Allentown, Penn.  Harold Burrows, August 9th 1957

"The Model A8 Checker with it’s advanced modern body styling has fulfilled every promise made for it.  We have 9 units in operation—with standard transmissions and power brakes. The 18 months we have run them we have run up mileages of about 75000 each.  Right now we have an average of about 15 miles per gallon gas in the city"

In the late 1950’s automatic transmission was not a proven concept in commercial service, the letter below says otherwise

Riva Cab, Bronx, NY. Irwin Goldberg, June 17th 1958

"We have 17 units—with automatic transmission. Delivered in January 1956, our cars have accumulated an average of 150,000 miles to date. Ring jobs were begun around 90,000 miles. automatic transmissions in taxicab service is no longer a questionable item—it has been proved in service."



Gulfport Checker A8s serving operated by Yellow Cab
 

The following letter is consistent with the Checker sales theme that drivers will be comfortable in Checker taxis and therefore would be able to run longer shifts which would result in more revenue.

Home Taxi Service, Corp. New York, New York. I. Fishman, April 24th 1956

"Drivers are particularly well pleased with the automatic features of the car; they insist that it is the most comfortable car; in short, it’s definitely a car constructed with the driver in mind."

 

Another key sales theme can be found in the various letters: Checkers are cost effective.

Independent Operator Louis Desverges, New York, New York. July 2nd 1958

"The Model A-8 Checker I bought in June 1956 is still good for another 2 years. And this after 130,000 miles—double—shifted. I’ve operated stock cars in the past and I’ve been in the red. The Checker car really has put me in the black."

Another new fleet of Checker A8s serving Yellow Cab Co, note the Checker logo on the door
 

In the following letter we can see that Checker trained professionals will be available to all cab operators via seminars at cab services locations.

Yellow Cab of Worcester, Mass. William Gerard, Feb 5th 1958

"I am pleased to have been invited to your maintenance clinic at the New England Service Center in Brooklyn………Your personnel, I found was extremely instructive and showed the upmost courtesy to myself and others. I was amazed at the frankness of some questions and answers given by your staff which to me connote good business."



William Gerard appreciated the frankness of staff in Brookline



Owen Kenny of Brooklyn loved his Checker Model G so much he bought a Checker Model A8 in 1956
 

Also in the various letters, Model A8’s were linked to Checker glory days. The following letters links the A8 to the 1927 Checker Model G. Interesting to note that Kenny's Checker Model G entered second hand service in 1933 and ran for another 300,000 miles. One can only imagine what that cab would have looked like after running 700,000 miles!

Owen Kenny, Brooklyn New York. June 26th 1958

"Having owned and operated Checker Cabs for the past 25 years, I am certainly in a good position to express a sound opinion on your present Model A-8.  We have good memory. We owned one of the original “iron horses” with the hand crank in the front. What a wonderful car that was! The Model “G” Checker already had 400,000 miles on it when we bought it and after a motor job, we ran it for another 300,000 miles. It was still a good car when we sold it. We can truthfully say that the present A-8 Checker stands up favorably when compared with the older models for durability and low cost maintenance."
 

Many of the letters discuss the limited maintenance required to operate a Checker, five words says it all in the letter below.

Benherb Taxi Corp. The Bronx, New York.  H. Hershkowitz  July 17, 1958              

"Our experience with the Model A-8 Checker Cab you sold us several months ago can be summed up in 5 words:  “In, Gas, Oil, Lube, Out”.  That’s it. The car is never in the shop."

Non Taxi Application of the A8
 

As discussed in previous Checker blogs, Checkers were sold to the Checker public in small numbers prior to the official Checker consumer car’s introduction in 1960. The letter below is from a private citizen not a taxi operator and references the Motor Trend Magazine article from April 1956 “Checking Out The Checker”.

J.R. Felmier Pittsburgh, Penn. December 20th 1957


"Now that I have driven my A-8 Checker Automobile for several months and 7500 miles, you may appreciate a report on its performance.

I was first attracted to investigate the Checker Automobile as a result of a feature article in a magazine which identified the Checker as “an ideal car for the large family………………………..since delivery last April, it has demonstrated again and again its utilitarian value………….After a most satisfactory trip to Minnesota we added an extra passenger upon our return to Pittsburgh in two days with luggage for eight in the trunk (no roof rack required). This demonstrated the points I have made to numerous curiosity seekers, “The Checker car gives the same seating capacity as a large station wagon and in addition gives normal truck space."

J.R. Felmier read the April 1956 issue of Motor Trend and then bought an A8


If you would like to read all the letters sent to Checker Cab Manufacturing just click on the link below for access


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