The Checker Motor Corporation of Kalamazoo, Michigan, first began production in 1922, as makers of taxi-cabs. The first private cars were offered as an option in 1948, but official production did not start until 1959.
The Checker Marathon, which was one of the first private production cars available, remained in production until 1982 with basically the same body shell. Up until 1965, the cars used Continental engines, but from then on Chevrolet motors were used.
The Marathon was available as either a Sedan, a Sedan De Luxe Limousine or a Station Wagon, with a choice of straight-six or V8 engines. Also available, to special order, was an 8-door, twelve-seater Aerobus used mainly for hotel and airport work.
Although looking fairly antiquated and very much a 1959 model by then modern American standards, the Marathon scored very highly on durability and longevity. Some cars totalled almost half a million miles in a lifetime.
Automatic transmission is standard on all Marathon models. Among the options available were an oil cooler, limited-slip differential power steering (on in-line six only), tinted glass, air conditioning, auxiliary rear seats and a vinyl roof.
Checker Marathon Quick Specifications
- Engine: Chevrolet, front-mounted, in-line six or 900 V8. 98.5 mm (3.88 in) bore x 89.6 mm (3.53 in) stroke 4097 cc (250 cu in) (in-line six) or 101.6mm (4.00in) bore x 88.3 mm (3.48 in) stroke 5736cc (350cu in) (V8). Maximum power 105 bhp at 3800 rpm (in-line six) or 145 bhp at 3800 rpm (V8); maximum torque 1861b ft at 1200 rpm (in-line six) or 250 Ib ft at 2200 rpm (V8); maximum engine rpm: 4400 (in-line six) or 4600 (V8). Cast iron cylinder block and head (both engines); compression ratio: 8.22: 1 (in-line six), 8.2:1 (V8). 2 valves per cylinder operated via rockers by a single camshaft, side (in-line six) or at centre of V (V8). 1 Rochester 17056014 downdraught single barrel carburetor (in-line six) or 1 Rochester 17056114 downdraught twin-barrel carburetor (V8).
- Transmission: (for both engines) Hydra-Matic auto- matic transmission, hydraulic torque converter and planetary gears with 3 ratios. Maximum ratio of converter at stall 2.2:1, ratios 1 st 2.48, 2nd 1.48 3rd 1, reverse 2.07. Hypoidbevel final drive (ratio 3.310) driving rear wheels.
- Suspension: front-independent with wishbones, coil springs, an anti-roll bar and telescopic dampers; rear-live axle, semi- elliptic leaf springs and telescopic dampers.
- Steering: recirculating ball (servo assisted with V8). Turns from lock to lock-3.46.
- Brakes: Servo-assisted discs front and drums rear.
- Wheels: 15 in x 6'in steel. tires G78 x 15. (HR78 x 15 optional).
- Dimensions and Weight: (in-line six). Wheelbase 120 in (Sedan 'and S-W) or 129 in (Limousine); track, front 64.45 in (all models), rear 63.31 in (all models); length 204.75 in (Sedan and S-W) or 213.75 in (Limousine); width 76 in (all models); height 62.75 in (all models); ground clearance 7.50 in (all models); kerb weight 37721b (Sedan), 39751b (S-W) or 39741b (Limousine). Note for V8 add 110 Ib (Sedan and Station Wagon) and 100 Ib (Limousine) ; turning circle 42.3 ft (Sedan and S-W) or 43.3 ft (Limousine); fuel tank 17.8 gals.
- Body/chassis: saloon, estate or limousine; 4 doors. Box-type ladder frame with reinforcements.
- Performance: Maximum speed 88mph (in-line six) or 94mph (V8). ;Fuel consumption 21.4mpg (in-line six) or 19.8mpg.