Between 1907 and 1910, this Bedford company offered taxicabs with a choice of 2 or 4 cylinder engines.
In 1906 a unique cab over engine taxicab only ten feet long was introduced with a Glasgow-London demonstration drive. It was replaced by a conventional design with 12/14 HP engine in 1908. In 1910 the Argyll cab received the new Argyll 2.4 litre cast pair 4 cylinder engine. Production was never resumed after the First World War.
The new Asquith Retro-cab embodies the form and flavour of the Austin High Lot with modern Ford running gear. Production seems only to have totalled 10. A modern cab design is believed to be in development.
Austin’s first cab was presented to the Public Carriage Office in 1906, but failed to get approval. A newer version with the driver sitting beside the engine was presented in 1907 and was accepted. Ten of these cabs were run by the Taxi DeLuxe Company of Kensington. One surviving example can be seen at the British Motor Industry Heritage Centre at Gaydon, Warwickshire. A 15hp cab with a more conventional layout superseded the 1907 model a year later.
LTI Carbodies, London Taxis International
When Carbodies owner, Manganese Bronze plc, bought Mann and Overton, a new company, London Taxis International, was formed with two divisions: LTI Carbodies, to make the cabs; and LTI Mann and Overton, to sell them, principally in London.
Bedford produced several a taxi prototypes based on its small CA van.
In 1907 Belsize introduced a 14/16 HP taxicab. Taxis became, and remained, a major part of the company’s commercial output. When postwar production was resumed only the taxi and vans based on the 20 HP 4 cylinder engine were offered. Production was discontinued in 1925.
Between September, 1897 and December, 1898 70 Bersey electric storage battery cabs, nicknamed “Hummingbirds”, were put on London streets by the London Electrical Cab Company, Walter C. Bersey, General Manager. Berseys were built by the Great Horseless Carriage Company, fitted with Mulliner bodies and powered by 3-1/2 horse power Lundell type motors with a range of 30 miles, and a top speed of 9 mph. An improved version with larger batteries was constructed by the Gloucester Railway Waggon Company. Breakdowns, coupled with the high cost of batteries and tyres made operations unprofitable, and the company was closed down in August, 1899. A single Bersey is preserved at Beaulieu.
In 1954, cab operator Birch Brothers, Ltd. developed a prototype cab (SJJ 111) based on Standard running gear with body by Park Royal Vehicles. It was the first cab to be licensed in London with four doors. However, the layout was unconventional in that three passengers sat on the rear seat, and the fourth sat alongside the driver, facing rearwards. Luggage was carried in a rear compartment, which was accessed by a full height door on the nearside quarter of the body. Only the one prototype was made.
The Brasier 10/12 HP vertical twin engined car with 3 speed transmission was marketed as a cab from 1908 to 1913.
This unique body style with transverse sliding passenger door appeared in 1929, the design of Mr. W. Gowan of Cape Town, South Africa – hence the name. The first prototype was fitted to a Morris Commercial chassis, later versions, some by Arthur Mulliner, rode Austin running gear. Some bodies were constructed by New Avon Body Company. In all, over 100 were built during 1929-1936.
This name was given to Austins fitted from 1933 with bodies taken from London General’s retired Citroen 11/4 cabs. [From Chinese Puzzle]
Andre Citroen offered a 1.5 litre taxicab from 1923, and four wheel braking was standardised from 1926, when British assembly was commenced at Slough. In 1929, Citroen provided the mechanical components for a series of taxicabs built by the London General Cab Company.
Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA)
This well known commercial vehicle builder constructed a few taxis in its early years before car production was discontinued in 1913.
In an project to further research into hybrid fuel vehicles, International Automotive Design of Worthing, Sussex, produced the Eurotaxi. Of van/MPV appearance, it was driven by a 50kw AC electric motor, which received its power via an onboard generator driven by a small diesel engine. Top speed was 65mph, and the range was 100 miles.
In 1920 a few Fiat IT cabs were introduced in London, powered by a 1.8 litre engine
Hillman offered a taxicab version of its 12/15 car with a 2.4 litre 4 cylinder L-head engine during 1909-1910.
In 1907, Britain’s taxicab boom began, and Humber offered an Argyll-like cab-over design with seven foot wheelbase and 4 cylinder, 15 HP engines with coil ignition. In 1908, both cab- over and conventional designs were offered using the 10/12 HP engine, and a 2-1/2 litre Beeston-Humber with magneto ignition. In 1910, only the conventional 10/12 HP design was offered. Humber, Ltd. operated a fleet of 40 Humber cabs in London.
London Coach was formed in May, 1984 to fill the need for purpose built cabs left by the 1982 decision by Checker Motors (USA) to discontinue cab production. EPA prototype testing was completed in August, 1985. These specialty vehicles were assembled in the US, using glider kits provided by Carbodies and fitted with 2.3 litre Ford engines and transmissions. Two models were available: The London Taxi and the London Sterling. The Sterling was a limousine version of the taxi. Both were available with or without air conditioning. Production for 1985-1986 was reported as 75 to the NHTSA, and estimated production for 1987 – 75. With the introduction of the Rover Sterling by ARCONA in 1987, London Coach was pressured to discontinue use of the Sterling name. Total production is estimated at 80-100.
London Taxis International
This subsidiary of Carbodies, Ltd. of Coventry was formed to produce the FX-4 when British Leyland discontinued taxi production in 1987. See discussion under Austin.
Electrical equipment manufacturers Joseph Lucas introduced a prototype electric cab in October 1975. Several feet shorter than the FX4, it was powered by a 50bhp CAV motor, which gave it a top speed of 55mph. Its 100 mile range was somewhat limited by the battery technology of the day.
The 1922 Mepward by Mepstead and Hayward of London was a truly bad cab. It had an all-wood body, which made the already inadequate 2178 cc engine work even harder. The late Simon Kogan, writing in Taxi
The Metrocab design was based on models and early work for the Beardmore Mark VIII by Metro-Cammell-Weymann in conjunction with the London General Cab Company.
The Mitsubishi MMT taxi was a conversion on the L300 forward control van. It was powered by the standard 1600cc petrol engine, converted to run on LPG. The cab trade did not at the time consider a van conversion, even though 25% cheaper than an FX4, a suitable vehicle for London taxi use. The vehicle did not meet the PCO 25ft turning circle requirement and was not approved for use in London
Lord Nuffield’s organisation produced a line of taxicabs under the Morris Commercial name during the late 1920s and 1930’s.
Type G “International”
D. Napier & Son, Ltd., of Acton, produced a taxi which from 1908-1911 was their primary commercial vehicle offering and which very substantially exceeded car production. These cabs featured an L-head engine, 3 forward speeds and shaft drive. They were offered in either a 1.3 liter 2 cylinder form, or 2.7 litre 15 HP 4 cylinder form. The 4 cylinder taxi was extensively exported.
The French built Prunel had the distinction, in 1903, of being the first motor cab to be licensed to work in London. Operated by the Express Motor Service Company, it had a two-seat Hansom body, a 12hp Aster engine and chain drive.
This old French maker supplied taxis to Paris. In 1907 the General Motor Cab Company of Brixton bought 500 2-cylinder Renault cabs. With a 2-cylinder engine of 8-9hp they were somewhat underpowered. They ran until the General began replacing them with Unics.
This fibreglass taxi was developed and built by Winchester Automobiles (West End) Ltd., a subsidiary of the Westminster Insurance Group, after consultation with cabmen. The result was a conservatively styled low maintenance vehicle, which was manufactured in several models from 1963-1972.
Mk I (1963)
This French cab was extremely popular with London operators for 25 years (1907-1932). It started life in London in 1907, powered by a 2-cylinder engine. Post war versions were little different from their Edwardian predecessors, although now fitted with four-cylinder engines. High import duties and the sheer antiquity of the cab prompted Unic’s dealers, Mann and Overton, to seek a replacement, which they found in the Austin 12/4.
A new model from Unic, built in Britain by United Motors, the 1930 KF1 was heavy and expensive. Few were sold.
In 1905, Vauxhall offered a 3-cylinder Motor Hansom for taxi service.
In 1990 a taxi conversion of the Midi van was produced for the NEC Motor Show. Whilst its interior complied with the PCO specifications, it did not have the mandatory 25ft turning circle
In 1922 Vulcan introduced a 2.6 litre, T-head taxicab. In 1928, car production was abandoned, and by 1931 Vulcan was in receivership.