Checker Motor Makes Comeback after 33-Year Hiatus

Oct 02, 2015 04:52 PM EDT | Sonja Killebrew

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After 33 years, Checker Motor Cars has announced two new car concepts that depart from it's iconic yellow cabs and will come with a complete mechanical update.

"A lot of auto manufacturers already offer four-door taxis, so no, we're not trying to bring back the taxi," said Steve Contarino, owner of Checker Motor Cars, in an interview with Hemmings Motor News

The Massachusetts-based company is rolling out two new niche concepts. The first model targets the market for sightseeing buses and hotel limousines. Contarino calls the six-door sedan the A-888. "We've already spoken with a lot of hotels in New York City and elsewhere that are interested in one of our restored cars, but they want something with modern braking and steering that they can just put a driver in," noted Hemmings Motor News.

The American carmaker's second new model revamps the famous style of the Chevrolet El Camino in a sedan pickup body style. Contarino calls it the Sport Pick-up Crossover, according to Daily News Autos.

"We feel there's a need for that type of vehicle. Not everyone wants a high vehicle or a full-size truck, but still wants something with that kind of cargo space," Contarino said.

Classic car fans will not see the return of the yellow taxis that filled New York City's streets from the 1920s through the 1970s, reported The New York Daily News. Instead, they will be treated to retro-style designs with new features: modern drivetrains, large-displacement V-8 engines and Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel from General Motors, noted Digital Trends.

When exactly the cars will go to market depends on when Congressional bill H.R. 2675 is passed. The bill known as the Low Volume Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 aims to exempt low-volume manufacturers from federal regulations and allow them to sell turnkey cars, Hemmings Motor News reported.

Checker Motor Cars plans to build a few hundred vehicles each year. While the first prototypes will be available in 2016, production will not begin until 2018. The cost hasn't been revealed yet.

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