Rare Checker Aerobus Restoration Project: A Limousine Gem Revived

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In the past, these utilitarian haulers were commonly used as airport shuttles. They were elongated versions of existing production models crafted by coachbuilding companies such as National Coaches and Ambruster Stageway. An example of this is the derelict seven-door Pontiac Catalina. Checker Motors Corporation also contributed to this market for over a decade.

Indeed, I’m referring to the company renowned for manufacturing America’s most iconic taxicab. Checker dominated the taxi market post-World War II with models A2/A3 through A11/A12. The latter, produced from 1963 to 1982, birthed the Marathon, one of Checker’s rare consumer passenger cars.

The Aerobus, in production from 1962 to 1977, was an extended iteration of the latter. Checker offered four variations of this limousine, including six- and eight-door sedans, and seven- and nine-door station wagons. It came in two wheelbases: 154.5 and 189 inches (3,924 and 4,801 mm). The latter, a massive 269.7 inches (6,852 mm) long, weighed 5,082 pounds (2,305 kg).

Unlike the standard Marathon, which used a Continental inline-six, the Aerobus was equipped with Chrysler’s 318-cubic-inch (5.2-liter) small-block V8. In 1965, Checker transitioned to the Chevrolet 327-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) V8 for the Aerobus. Four years later, it upgraded to the larger 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) unit. Output ranged from 160 to 215 horsepower, with a top speed of 99 mph (160 kph).

Despite its 15-year production span, the Aerobus remained relatively rare. Only 3,568 examples were built by the time the final limousine rolled off the assembly line. Due to many being neglected or scrapped after retirement, only a handful remain. This 1974 nine-door wagon, highlighted by YouTube’s “Mortske Repair,” is one such survivor.

Procured from Facebook Marketplace, this lengthy wagon had been idle for years, showing signs of extended disuse. Sporting weathered paint, scratches, dents, some rust, and a stubbornly silent Chevrolet engine, it still didn’t deter our host from reviving the limo.

Presently, the Aerobus is far from roadworthy, requiring a fuel tank, fuel pump, and new brakes, among other fixes. Nevertheless, this Checker, albeit an expensive restoration endeavor, stands as a rare gem sure to turn heads at any automotive event. Hopefully, it finds an enthusiast willing to lavish it with the care it deserves.

Dana Phio

By Dana Phio

From the sound of engines to the spin of wheels, I love the excitement of driving. I really enjoy cars and bikes, and I'm here to share that passion. Daxstreet helps me keep going, connecting me with people who feel the same way. It's like finding friends for life.

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Christopher Markin
Christopher Markin
1 month ago

I think it’s great that you’re taking the time and effort to restore that Aerobus. Should you need and parts, please reach out.