Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1976-1978 Checker Marathon – How To Do 5-Mile Bumpers The Right Way

Checker Motors, the builder of the iconic Checker Marathon, was not exempted from the increasing federal rules governing new automobiles. That meant a full complement of 5-mile bumpers, starting in 1974. Checker complied, and with a vigor. The only question is why Checker didn’t put bumpers like this on the taxis years earlier. It seems so obvious, if you’ve ever been in New York traffic, especially back in the day when taxi drivers seemed to be a bit less inhibited.

William Rubano found and posted this immaculate Marathon sedan. He’s labeled it “1976-1978”, presumably because he knows some tell-tale about this one to narrow it down to those years. I’m in no position to second guess him, but given the bumpers, it’s clearly a 1974 or later.

This is how they looked before the big bumpers arrived. And this little clip is full of superb pimpmobiles, so don’t miss it.

And with the new big bumpers, it’s invincible.

This one is sporting bumper over-riders, even. No wonder it’s in such pristine condition.

Well before the mandated bashers, in the late ’60s some Checkers were sporting water bumpers. I saw quite a few of them with those big puffy water-filled bumpers in NYC when I was there in 1973. They were a hot fad, for a few years. I’ve long wanted to do a post on them, but finding some good info on them is a bit iffy.

Quite a few city transit buses sported them too. Seems like just yesterday when these were a common sight.

Is it that steering column and steering wheel that dates this to 1976-1978? Our next door neighbor in Towson owned a civilian Marathon like this. He was an exceptionally large man, for back then in the mid ’60s, weighing some 400lbs. The Marathon made it easier to get in and out, unlike the low cars of the times. Not everyone was a fan of Detroit’s longer, lower, wider mantra. Most of all taxi riders, who all lamented the passing of the Checkers, as they were so roomy and easy to get in and out of.

Yes, the Checker is essentially a four door sedan SUV.


Related reading:

Checker Motors History  PN

CC Checker 1967 Marathon: The Ultimate Long-Life Vehicle  PN

CC Checker Marathon: The Brooklyn Bruiser   W. Stopford