Everyone was on the right track but a few of you went the wrong way at the switch. It was a good day to split hairs as Mike W did, this bus is a 1951 Checker. I never knew that Checker built buses until I was sent these pictures. Thanks to Bill White for the photos, and also for the brief history below which explains the relationship between Ford, Transit, & Checker.
In 1948 Checker started producing bus chassis for the Dearborn, Michigan based bus distributor, Transit Buses Inc. The firm had been organized in 1941 as a selling organization for the rear-engine Ford Transit Bus, whose bodies were built by the Union City Body Company of Union City, Indiana.
When the war ended, Transit and the Ford Motor Company couldn’t reach an agreement on the vehicle’s future, so Transit designed an updated 31-passenger model and hired Checker to produce the pusher chassis which was powered by a transverse-mounted Continental Red-Seal engine.
The buses were assembled at the Union City plant and sold through Transit’s Dearborn-based distribution network. Sales started off well, over 500 of the vehicles were built during 1948 and 1949, 300 of which were purchased by the City of Detroit. However sales of the new vehicles were far-below Transit Buses expectations so they sold the entire operation to Checker early in 1950.
Checker introduced their Series E Buses in the summer 1951 and although the firm was now owned by Checker, the bodies continued to be built by Union City and marketed by Transit Buses Inc. The City of Detroit ordered 450 units in 1950, however sales fell off dramatically in 1951 and 1952. Between 1950and 1953 less than 500 are thought to have been built, and that number included the 450 units purchased by Detroit. In the meantime Checker engineers had designed a new series of 28 to 42 passenger buses, however the entire project was scrapped and all bus production ended in September of 1953