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The Checker Cab is an easy Metal Earth model with just 11 unique pieces on one sheet of metal. All of the instructions fit in one picture. A shrunken-down picture of the instructions is provided here so you can see what you're getting into. Checker cabs are history now, but in their day they were a New York icon.
Each Metal Earth model is laser etched in meticulous detail on one, two, or three 11 cm (4.33") metal sheets. Pop out the pieces by hand (or use wire cutters to get especially crisp lines), bend the tabs using needle-nose pliers, and fit them together as shown in the simple pictorial instructions. Metal Earth models are a little less challenging than our 3D wooden puzzles, but you do need some patience and dexterity because they're also much smaller. For maximum dramatic effect, display your model on the LED Display Base or the Solar Spinner (sold separately, see the Related Products tab).
Please note that Metal Earth models have sharp edges and are not suitable for children under 14.
Are you curious...?
Taxi cabs started appearing in American cities in the 1900s. With numerous railroad terminals, Chicago in particular needed point-to-point transportation on demand. By 1920 two companies dominated the market: Yellow Cab and Checker Taxi. Yellow started making its own cars in 1917, but Checker bought their "Mogul" models from Commonwealth Motors in Joliet, Ill. Some fancy financial maneuvering prevented Commonwealth from going bankrupt and transformed it into Checker Cab Manufacturing. The new company kept making taxis in Jolliet for two more years, then shifted production to Kalamazoo, Mich., after cutthroat competition in Chicago led to the owner's home being firebombed. Checker put its drivers in uniforms, hired African-American drivers, and required its cabs to pick up all fares, not just white people.
Meanwhile, more fancy financing led Yellow Manufacturing to be sold to General Motors. Rather than eliminate its capacity, GM entered the taxi wars in New York City as Terminal Taxi Cab. Checker and Terminal went head-to-head until New York's mayor created a taxi commission that invented the medallion system of licensing cabs. The rule that cabs needed five seats in the rear favored Checker's cars, and Checker went on to become the iconic New York taxi, a position that it would hold until New York changed its specifications in the mid 1950s.
Checker had been introducing new models throughout its history, leading up to the Model A in 1939. Checker was pressed into wartime manufacturing during WW2. Checker's cars got their distinctive 1940s styling when peace returned and didn't change much until the model went out of production in 1956. By 1959, Checker was making a version for public sale. Checker kept up with increasing safety standards through the 1960s and 70s while clinging to their instantly recognizable styling; in fact, Checker fans can tell a particular car's model year by what safety equipment it has. By the 1970s Checker was making luxury versions with vinyl roofs with opera windows, power-assisted accessories, and luxurious upholstery. Checker finally stopped making cars in 1982 and continued as a parts manufacturer until it finally went bankrupt in 2009.
Checkers were produced in the thousands before 1960, but thanks to their rough histories only a few cars from that era still exist. Worn-out Checkers were usually scrapped when finally retired from service. Afficionados scrambled to save as many as possible when production ended in 1982. A few hundred post-1960 Checkers still exist in various conditions. If you've ever thought about collecting classic cars, Checker is a good place to start since the market for huge old taxis is small and their prices are comparatively low.