25 October 2022
Automodello 1940 Checker Model A Taxi - Chicago & New York versions
PRICE: US$119.00 each
REF NO: 43C401 (Chicago - green) & 43C400 (New York - yellow)
Automodello's latest 1/43 creation is the unusual-looking, but iconic in its day, Checker Model A Taxicab. Commonplace in US cities, Checker cabs were renowned for their style and reliability.
The Model A made its debut in 1939, and its design combined a revolutionary degree of practicality with style and comfort. The cutaway front wings and inset headlights were designed to minimise damage to front tyres and to the lights themselves in the event of minor 'fender-bender' accidents, as well as making for easy – therefore quick and economical – replacement.
The other main feature of the new Checker was the power-retractable rear roof section, landaulette-style. This added to the comfort and spaciousness of the passenger compartment in warm weather.
There was a heater installed in the centre partition, to keep both passengers and the driver warm on cold days, a full-width opening air vent above the windscreen for the driver, and a glass roof panel to the rear, for a more airy feel to the cabin when the roof was closed.
The engine was a Continental straight-six, designed for easy maintenance. Virtually unburstable, stories of these engines powering the cabs for upwards of a million miles are commonplace.
In all, some 1,250 examples of the Model A were built, and it remained in production until it was replaced in 1946 by the more streamlined-looking A-2. However, the new car retained the platform of the Model A, and in fact, this same platform was used for every succeeding Checker, right up to the company’s final vehicle in 1982.
Automodello’s new release is well up to its usual top-class standards of moulding, finish and detail. That retractable roof is replicated by a neat-fitting separate panel – and the open ledge, behind the rear seats, is authentic.
The unique front-end styling, with those inset headlights and protective trim, is all neatly-modelled, as are the cutaway wings and the plated radiator mascot.
Other plated and photo-etched details include the hubcaps, bumpers, door handles, bonnet centre hinge and side vent trim, the filler cap, roof fittings, windscreen wipers and rear number-plate light. Even the tiny hinges to that slim roof front vent are there. The roof light is worthy of mention, incorporating twin clear lenses, and the painted, photo-etched luggage rack at the rear is very neat.
Inside, the detail is all there once again. In the rear, the jump seats are in place, and there are the internal door and window handles, set into the contrasting door panels. Naturally, the upholstery is correctly-pleated.
The model is available in two liveries. One version is in New York's famous yellow, with light olive wings, roof and waist trim, with a brown interior. The other is in the green livery of the Checker Cab company itself, as seen around Chicago and other cities, notably Checker’s home town of Kalamazoo, Michigan. This version has a darker olive roof and wings, chequered waist trim, and a grey interior.
Only 143 examples of each are to be made and, as one would imagine, they are already popular in the USA. The price includes free shipping for UK buyers. If you like taxis, working vehicles, or just historic American cars, this is definitely one for you.