For $10,500, Gain A Checkered Past

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

If you've ever seen a toxicology report on the passenger seats of taxis (taxicology?) you'd probably spend a lot of time walking. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Checker Marathon Wagon and a bottle of bleach will take a load off your Hi-Tops, but will its price have you asking are you talking to me?

While yesterday's Datsun 260Z was a bit of a paradox - lovely to look at, and seemingly aspirational - its price most certainly wasn't. That was plainly evident in its narrow 63% Crack Pipe loss, a result I fully expected to be a far greater chasm. I guess a pretty face can make up for a multitude of sins.


Contrastingly, today's candidate lacks the recourse of a pleasing countenance, so it damn well better at least look like a bargain.

Call me a cab. Okay- you sir, are a cab. Today that lame-ass joke will probably get you a swift kick to the nards, and your humor-bereft assailant will likely make their getaway in a Toyota Sienna, Escape Hybrid, or - old school - a Crown Vic smelling of Eau De Humanity or Fabreze. Once however, there was a time that riding in a taxi was a magical experience akin to Unicorn love-making, and one not easily replicated by a private car. Back in the sixties and seventies, New York's restrictive Car for Hire standards meant that the capacious and iconic Checker Marathon pretty much owned the Taxi stands, and rarely did they stray far beyond there to suburban driveways and private ownership.

Of course rarly doesn't mean never and while its provenance is unknown, this Marathon Station Wagon is presently in the hands of a private owner, and they are offering it to all comers, regardless of whether you charge $2.50 for the first mile or not.


The Marathon, as you will recall, entered service in the early sixties and featured styling reminiscent of Chevy's ‘55 Shoebox in the way Rosie O'Donnell is reminiscent of Natalie Portman. That upright stance with wide welcoming doorways provided a step-in space in back roomy enough for five when a pair of folding post seats were employed. When stowed the space in front of the commodious bench could be used for games of squash or senate hearings.Or both!


This one is the hen's teeth-like station wagon version and while the ad fails to divulge the year we can divine from the annual styling changes Checker undertook that it's either a ‘63, or ‘64. . . or maybe a ‘65 -'70. Shoot, it could be damn-near any year- Checker changing the Marathon's styling with the same frequency a prison inmate rearranges his furniture. It can at least be probably narrowed down to the ‘68 - ‘74 time period as it sports the Federally mandated sidemarker lights and lacks the even huger battering ram 5-MPH bumpers. Phew, I'm glad we settled that.

Mechanically it's also an unknown commodity, but at that time Checker was sourcing straight sixes and V8s from Chevy, along with 3-on the tree manuals and similar count slushers. This one lacks a V8 emblem on the fender, but I don't know enough about these cars to say if that means conclusively it has the 250-cid six under the hood or not. Either way, parts availability should not be an issue. Keeping total strangers from popping in the back seat at stop lights while shouting follow that car! may, however.


Additional mystery surrounds the interior as the shade-topped windows are tinted beyond what's legal in my state, giving the car the appearance of a first call car for the morbidly obese. Externally however everything looks reasonably intact and without major aesthetic malfeasance, although the black-painted grille is a bit off putting. As a plus, while short on detail about the actual car, the ad does note that it comes with a passel of parts, including extra windshields. He also says that the car runs great, for what that's worth.


And now it's time for you to determine what this Checker is worth, or at least to weigh in on whether or not the seller's $10,500 price fits the bill. What do you think, is that a price that should have someone running this Marathon? Or, for that much is this a Checker that is unlikely to get kinged?

You decide!


New Hampshire Craigslist - Chowdah, say it right! or go here if the ad is off duty.

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