About 6 months ago, my father and I went for a drive up to Maine to go pick up this 1968 Checker Marathon. He had noticed this beautiful classic sitting in someone’s driveway on his way through Wells, and he had always wanted a Checker since he was a kid. We were looking for a new project at the time, so we knocked on the owner’s door to ask if he wanted to sell it.
It was like something straight out of Count’s Kustoms. The previous owner, Beau, is a motorcycle enthusiast. We talked to him about him the car for a while, and it turns out he didn’t even own this car for more than a few months. Once he started to tear it down, he realized that the car would be impossible to restore back to mint condition like he wanted to do, and was afraid that he may have wasted his money. He used to own a Hudson Super Wasp as well, but it ended up in a junkyard after he sold it to a friend. He was hesitant to let go of the Checker in fear of a similar fate, but we promised him that we were going to do whatever it takes to keep this beautiful piece of automotive history on the road.
Beau asked us to let him keep it until after Halloween so he could scare the kids, and then he would gladly sell it to us. We were worried that we were taking away his project, but he assured us he would rather have his Harley on the road with some money in his pocket, than an unfinished car that needs hundreds of hours of work. Within two weeks, we were on our way back home with the Checker, and Beau was on his way to purchase a new set of handlebars for his Harley. Beau doubled his money on the car, and still got to enjoy it without having to deal with all of the headaches involved with a full restoration.
Beau had also spray painted the words “Local Uber Driver” across the entire driver’s side of the car, which sparked quite a bit of interest during our ride home. Apparently the car was very well known by many of the locals.
As we started to drive back through Kennebunkport, large pieces of the subframe started falling out of the bottom of the Checker, and I noticed a large trail of fluids and smoke following behind us. After I barely dodged a flying wrench that dislodged itself from the engine bay, we decided that it would be best to pull over and call a tow truck to avoid any more hidden surprises. We pulled the cars over to the side of the road, and had lunch at a local sandwich shop while we waited for the tow truck driver. Within a few hours, we were headed southbound in the Subaru, following our new project down the highway.