Home | Explore | Kalamazoo: The Other Motor City

Yes, Michigan had two Motor Cities.


Nearby Kalamazoo was once home to 17 independent automobile manufacturers. Motown’s smaller cousin produced now-forgotten brands like Barley, Michigan, Handley-Knight, and Roamer. But its real claim to fame was as the home of the iconic Checker Cab Company. From 1928 until 1982, every one of the familiar taxis—which were popular around the globe—was made in Kalamazoo.

Walk right up to the car that ended an era.
Our Kalamazoo collection features an array of cars built in the city between 1903 and 1982. Among the must-sees: the very last of the Checker cabs to roll off the assembly line. With its traditional green and checkerboard trim, it's a beautiful, must-see example of a distinctly American brand.

See the Checker and all the other great Kalamazoo cars at the Gilmore and check out our library’s archive of Checker corporate documents, blueprints and other memorabilia. You may just find yourself humming a different kind of Motown tune.