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Checker Motors Corp. (Kalamazoo, Mich.)



Checker Motors Corp. has operated as a family business in Kalamazoo since 1922; originally founded in Chicago.


Founded by Morris Markin, a Russian born immigrant to Chicago. He later began running a fleet of taxicabs and an auto body shop. The two main cab companies at the time were Yellow Cab Company and Checker Cab Company. Checker did not own a cab manufacturing company in 192 like Yellow Cab Company did. Instead, they partnered with Lomberg Auto Body Manufacturing Co. and Commonwealth Motors to produce the Mogul Taxi for Checker Cab Co. Markin loaned money to Lomberg and he later took possession of the company, renaming it Markin Automobile Body and bought Commonwealth Motors in October 1921 and merged them to form Checker Cab Manufacturing Co. in 1922. The company moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1923.

Morris Markin died July 8, 1970 and his son took over Checker. The last Checker Cab made in Kalamazoo was made July 12, 1982, though they continued making parts until 2009. The Kalamazoo Plant was sold January 14, 2010 to the Jones Group, marking the end of the company.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Ralph E. Oakland Collection

Identifier: RH-A-4354

The collection is composed of 2 boxes filled with 21 folders of books, magazines, newspapers, brochures, correspondences, history, and other papers regarding the Checker Cab Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan from its start in 1921 to its bankruptcy in 2010.

Dates: approximately 1921-2010

The Checker Cab Manufacturing Corporation Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3645
Scope and Contents The booklet is an advertisement for Checker Cab Manufacturing Company’s 6 and 8 passenger “Drive-Er-Matic” special sedans, appealing to a large family instead of cabs. The booklet describes the car in depth, from detailed pictures and illustrations of mechanical components to its reputation on the road. The “Drive-Er-Matic” is described as “Beauty and Comfort with Checker Economy” (pages 8-9). The reader can enjoy its colored illustrations and grayscale photographs of the interior, exterior,...
Dates: 1922