What's to Become of This Immaculate Checker A12E?

If you have read my blog post about the Swiss Checker Ambulances, I need to admit that I did not mention the discovery of yet another Checker owned by the City of Zurich. This is a low-mileage 1964 Checker A12E limousine that will be put out of service at the end of 2015. It will then be sold via an on-line auction to the highest bidder. In 2012, it was estimated to be worth $17,000. It is my fervent hope that the car stays in Switzerland, preferably at a public transportation museum. It is, after all, a part of Swiss history.

Photo by Christoph Ruckstuhl / NZZ

Below is my transliteration of an article by Adi Kaelin about this car that appeared on June 25, 2015 in the most respected newspaper of Zurich, the New Zurich Paper. A link to the original article is available. Just click on the article title. A link to a prior article is also available at the end of this post. If you do not speak German, just use Google Translate to get a passable translation.

The “Checker” Must Go

by Adi Kaelin

Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ)

June 25, 2015

City council members now drive around less and less in company cars. Now the cars are sold - including a handsome "Checker" oldtimer from 1964.

Articles in the NZZ often come only after a long time and follow winding paths to their destination. More than two and a half years have gone by, for example, to report on an exceptional vintage official car of the Zurich City Council which came from the United States - and the corresponding Club, which deals exclusively with there cars branded "Checker". These vehicles became famous mainly as taxis.

“Checker” Club Interested

The [CCCoA] club members were impressed by the image of the "Checkers" type Marathon A12E in the NZZ and announced its desire that the company “Checker” car operation would continue for the benefit of the City Council, the legal advisors and the town clerk.

They inquired about the condition of the car and were willing to research its history. The city council under Stapi Emil Landolt had purchased the "Checker" in 1965 as a used car. VBZ [the City] considered the cost of doing research about the car too great, especially as the car is to be sold soon said Andreas Uhl of the ITR [City Public Relations department].

The official operation of the car has been set for the end of the year [2015]. The decision to this effect was made a few days ago by the city council. Until 1982 the city still maintained a specialized company car department with two full-time employees chauffeurs. Then the ITR took over the service - with staff who also drove around in addition to their normal duties in the service of public transport for the city council members.

The number of trips have been greatly reduced in recent years. In 2008 there were still 90; in 2014 finally only 28. These individual trips were - because of the high fixed costs - increasingly expensive. In 2014 the cost a single trip was 1,514 [Swiss] francs, as it is stated in the city council decision. The company car operation, therefore, now moves to the City firm that will continue to muster private limousine service for trips fo the city councils.

Not a “Green” Car

These limousines are sold according to the rules of the "used car recycling process". The last sales were of Mercedes and Audi limousines that were earlier in regular use. The "Checker," however, was practically no longer in use and did not even have a license plate. It will most likely be sold via an online [auction] platform.

The stately vintage, which was gladly used by the Mayors Emil Landolt and Sigmund Widmer, was becoming ever more forgotten in recent years. It is most likely also true that it did not sit very well (with its V8 engine and 170 horse powers) for the Red-Green [environmental] councilor.

Earlier Article in NZZ:

“Checker” is Available as a Service Vehicle

October 17, 2012

Copyright 2015 - Checker Car Club of America

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