Copyright 2017 - Checker Car Club of America, Inc.
From pretty much the start of car production around the world in the late 1800's, manufacturers knew that it was important to give every car a unique ID number. Today, we know that number as the VIN or Vehicle ID Number.
Checker Motors also assigned such ID numbers right from the start in 1922. They realized that giving each new chassis a unique number could be incorporated into the VIN number. Perhaps more important, the chassis number could provide a great way for Checker and their customers to find out what parts were used in or could be reinstalled in a specific car. So, the VIN and the incorporated chassis number can be used to unlock the secrets of every car made.
Over the years, Checker Motors, the Checker Car Club and many others have created tables that show the chassis numbers as a starting guide for repairing your Checker. We felt that it was time to create a new table that lines up the chassis numbers with the models and engines that were manufactured/used in every year between 1947 and the end of production in 1982.
Here is the result:
The first column lists the Model. We have not included names like Superba, Marathon or Aerobus, since you most likely know how to match the model name with the badge of your car. For example, A12W is also known as the Marathon Stationwagon while A12W8 is an 8-door Aerobus.
The Engine column shows which engines were available in any given year. Even some minor uses are listed such as the Plymouth, Chrysler and AMC engines. The Perkins and Oldsmobile engines were strictly diesel models.
The "Year-From", "Mo-Start" and "Year-To" columns are important when paired with the "Chassis Range" column.
The first important point is that Checker did not use the calendar year (January to December) as start and end Chassis number ranges. As the table shows, new ranges were started in May, September or October (among others). In other words, production runs could run across several years. So, if the table says that production started in October, it also means that the prior production run ended just before the new production run.
Second, the assignment of chassis numbers are inconsistent through the years. For example, it's not until 1969 that the ranges are assigned in October and are incremented by 10000 every 12 months. Also, between 1962 and 1972, the A12W6 and A12W8 models were given their own chassis ranges. You can see other inconsistencies like these if you look at the table carefully.
The "Mo-Start" column is related to the "Year-Start" column. As an example, the 1962 A12W6 and A12W8 cars started on the production line in March of 1962. While we do not show when production ended, you can normally assume that it is just before the next chassis range of the same model started its production. For example, the A2 and A3 models were produced between February 1947 and May 1950 since the A4 and A5 models started up in June of 1950. Is it possible that there was a gap between the A2 and A4 runs? Of course, but this is not so important.
What is important is comparing the VIN number of your own Checker to see where it falls within this table. You can then move on to use the Chassis Number to look up the parts that are appropriate for your car. That, however, will be the subject of future articles.