Arvi Hänninen's 1949 Checker

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Arvi's son Erkki with the Checker.

1949 Checker Cab owned by Arvi Hänninen of Suonenjoki, Finland. Arvi owned a bus body fabricating company called "Suonenjoen Autoasennus" and had the employees restyle his Checker when they didn't have anything else to do. The car was restyled between 1953 and 1956 and is one of the first, if not THE first custom car of Finland. While the car's frame was roughly built using torch and stick welders, the bodywork was finely crafted by hammer welding and lead. The car was converted from a four door sedan to a two door coupe by welding shut the rear doors, and by shortening the roof and remodeling the trunk. The body was channeled over the frame and the front fenders were reshaped. Many parts on the car were built from scratch, while others were taken from various donor cars. As an example, the bumpers were from a Kaiser and the taillights were from a 1952 Chevrolet. Jaska Miettinen, one of the guys who worked on the car in the 1950s, said that he didn't know where the inspiration for the car came from.

The car was last registered in 1961. After that it was parked outside for several years becoming a victim of kids breaking the windshields and kicking in some body panels.The current owner believes that the car changed hands during the early 1960s, and that it again swapped hands a couple of times in the 1980s. One of the guys that bought the car in the 1980s was a novice Finnish enthusiast who tried to restore the car, but ended up cutting off and loosing vital parts on the car. He gave up on the car and it changed hands a couple more times in the early 2000s. In 2005 the car was sold really cheap. The current owner is in the middle of a restoration of the car. He has collected a lot of vital parts, and restored some of the body panels.


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