Checker Aerobus

The Checker Aerobus is a seven- (including the tailgate) or nine-door station wagon, or a six- or eight-door sedan, manufactured on two different wheelbases by the Checker Motors Corporation from 1962 until 1977 (although none were built in 1975). Meant primarily to serve as an airport shuttle, as indicated by the name, it is an extended version of the iconic Checker Marathon. From its introduction through the 1964 model year, the Aerobus used Chrysler V8s, but when Checker Motors shifted from Continental to Chevrolet engines for 1965 the Aerobus line followed suit.

The early cars used Chrysler's A318 V8 (5,210 cc), originally with 190 hp and later 200 hp. During 1965 the Aerobus switched to Chevrolet's 327 cu in (5,354 cc) small-block engine, with 185 hp (138 kW) at 4,400 rpm. This was in a lesser state of tune than the 250 hp unit used in the regular Marathons, with lower 8:1 compression and twin rather than quadruple carburetors. Top speed was around 135 km/h (84 mph). For 1969 the bigger 350 engine (5,733 cc) took over, with 200 hp. Output climbed to 215 hp (160 kW) for 1971, or 155 hp SAE net. By 1974, intended to be the last year for the Aerobus as Checker ended production of the Station Wagons, the power inched up to 160 hp (119 kW), using a four-barrel carb instead of the twin-barrel seen in the Marathons. Available only with an automatic and with standard power steering, top speed for a 1974 is 160 km/h (99 mph). After none were built in 1975, 107 more eight-door sedans (the only ones built in this configuration) were built in 1976 and 1977. The engine output for 1977 again increased somewhat, to 170 hp. Called the Aerobus 15 since it could seat fifteen, it did not prove very successful as there was limited luggage space.

Production of the short wheelbase versions, always considerably lower than the longer ones, ended with the 1969 model year. They can seat nine, while the longer station wagon seated twelve people and their luggage. Marketing material makes mention of a special prisoner transport version of the Aerobus called the Convoy, but there is no evidence of any Convoys actually being sold. In total, 3,568 Checker Aerobuses of all versions were built.