Like Gibson guitars and Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, Checker Motors was one of Kalamazoo, Michigan’s leading employers. And like the other two companies, Checker eventually disappeared as well. For decades, however, the Checker name was synonymous with brawny, solidly-manufactured automobiles, inextricably linked with the taxicabs that also bore their name. Starting in the 1930’s, Commonwealth Motors began building cars for the Checker Taxi Co. of Chicago. Eventually, the two entities merged, and for many years and in many cities, you could hail a Checker taxi, and be picked up in a cab built by Checker Motors. In 1960, Checker decided to offer their vehicles to the public, and while they were ruggedly built and reliable, their homely, utilitarian lines never allowed for mainstream popularity. The company stopped manufacturing automobiles in the 1980’s, and while the remnants of the corporation survived into the early 21st century, the last assets were liquidated in 2010. Built like tanks, you’ll still see the occasional old Checker Marathon still on the road.