June 18: The first Kalamazoo Checker Cab rolled off the line on this date in 1923

Justin Hyde

The Checker Cab Co. started building taxicabs outside of Chicago in 1921, but it was two years later when the company opened its dedicated factory in Kalamazoo, Mich., that Checker became the name for taxicabs. The final Checker cab would roll off the assembly line in 1982, but the car had become such a mainstay of New York taxi drivers that the last one wasn't retired from service until 1999. Here's Johann Struna, the driver of the last New York Checker cab, explaining how they became a streetside icon:

Photo from 1992: AP

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