1956-1982 Checker Marathon (New York Taxi Cab)


The Checker Marathon, otherwise known as the New York Checker Cab, or just ‘Taxi!’, has one of the most recognizable shapes in automotive history, and has been seen and featured in countless – literally – movies and TV shows. Contrary to what I do on all my other posts, which is to specify a model year in the title, I’ve chosen to specify the entire production range for this car.

The reason is simple: aesthetically, the car almost didn’t change over its remarkable 26-year production run! All the changes, if you can call them that, were under the hood!

1956-1982 Checker Marathon 'Taxi Cab'
1956-1982 Checker Marathon ‘Taxi Cab’

These vehicles started their production runs with manual transmissions and a relatively anemic 80-horsepower straight-six engine, while later models came equipped with a three-speed automatic and Chevrolet V8 engine that gave them up to 155 horsepower. Zero-to-sixty acceleration was an adequate if slow 14 seconds, and the top speed 93 mph.

Funny, in the movies they always seem to be faster than that…

Besides the standard ‘taxi cab’ standard design, there were other models, including a 8-person limousine (the ‘Town Custom’) and even a station wagon. For obvious reasons, these  cars were built to last, with few luxuries, and were displaced from the consumer car market very quickly. They nonetheless had a nice, long life and will forever be remembered as the beloved New York Taxi.

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