Dream Car Comparo: Zenvo ST1 and Checker Marathon

      Here are two cars purporting to be dream machines, but which one has more of that mystical fantasy magic, a $1.85 million Danish supercar, or a retired Checker Marathon?


The two cars are surprisingly evenly matched in the looks department. Both of them are very striking and have all kinds of presence on the road. Neither one is exactly pretty, but they each have their charm.

The Checker doesn’t pull as many camera phones out of pockets as the Zenvo, but then the Zenvo has the unfair advantage of the music of a 7.0l twincharged V8 to turn heads. In fact, I would say that the Zenvo drew several orders of magnitude more surprised glances, dropped jaws and other displays of wonderment in just one day here in Manhattan than this Checker did in several quiet months on the Upper West Side.

  The Zenvo ST1 also slaughters the old Checker when it comes to press attention. Its 1,104 horsepower engine gives weight to headlines without any trouble and its Danish passport is another perfect conversation starter. The days when Checker cabs filled up the background of every classic New York movie are long gone, and media attention to automotive “survivors” remains trained on Cuba. Again, the Checker cab falls behind as a lust object, as a point of fascination.

However I find it hard to believe that many people really love the Zenvo. I’ve spoken with the CEO and founder of the company and he is certainly passionate about the car and the whole wild venture of bringing it to market after over half a decade of work. He however, seems to be the exception to the rule. Others seemed amazed, intrigued, and captivated by its impressive styling and its incomprehensible price tag. Did they really love the car, would they remain thinking about it the next day, or just the staggering set of statistics it brings to the table?

Certainly the Checker has no great numbers on its side. It is a homely, slow, automobile and not objectively expensive. In relative terms, however, the buyers for the Zenvo will have little trouble putting down a deposit on its near two million dollar sticker. The Checker looks to be more of a stretch for its owner. The car is in great shape and bears the added accessory of a custom license plate with pride.

Still, I imagine that there are significantly more practical, rational automobiles that the owner could have sprung for, rather than choose to maintain a decades old car orphaned by a bankrupt manufacturer. Hell, this Checker’s owner could well be served just by public transport. Where the Zenvo will be just a drop in the pond for its billionaire purchaser, the Checker represents so much more dedication and commitment.

While the Zenvo gets great fondness from a great many, the Checker gets deep, strong connections from a choice few.

When it comes to dream cars, do we measure in terms of love, or infatuation? I see a dedication so visible in this Checker and I can’t help but view it as the more fantasized about, more dreamed about car.

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