Death of a Supercab

With its ungainly boxy shape the Checker taxicab has long been a distinctive part of the U.S. urban streetscape. Riders in New York, Aspen, Chicago and dozens of other cities stretched out their legs in limousine-like comfort. They could even offer a lift to friends on the tiny folding jump seats in the roomy passenger compartment.

Now the Checker is headed for extinction. Last week Checker Motors Corp., which has been producing the cabs in Kalamazoo, Mich., since 1922, announced that it would phase out production in July. In 1981 about 3,000 of the...

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