180 Years Of Purpose Built Taxis: A Pictorial History Of London's
The first Hackney carriage licences were issued for horse-drawn carriages in 1662. The hansom cab was patented in 1834 and was widely used until the introduction of motorised cabs in the early 20th century.
Two early Rational motor taxis (built by Heatly-Gresham Engineering) parked outside the Savoy Theatre in The Strand. Registration numbers on taxis show the photo was taken after 1904. The Rational, built by Heatly-Gresham Engineering of Letchworth, was the first taxi to afford some protection to the driver and to be fitted with doors.
A Knightsbridge motor taxi rank in 1907 with vehicles believed to be of Renault and/or Unic manufacture.
Taxis outside Paddington Underground station in Praed Street in 1932.
(Hanging it up: something's never change)
The Austin London Taxicab, introduced in 1930, used a modified Austin Heavy 12/4 chassis.
An Austin LL (Low-Loader) taxicab, which was introduced in 1934. The rear portion of its roof could be folded down.
The Austin FX3 was introduced in 1949.
The Beardmore was an alternative taxi design used in London during the 1960s and 1970s
In 1963, the Winchester MkI was the first taxicab to feature fibreglass bodywork. It was the brainchild of the managing director of Winchester Automobiles (West End) Ltd (a subsidiary of a specialist insurance group which had been formed in the late 1940s specifically to cater for the insurance needs of owner-drivers).
The iconic FX4 London Taxicab. More than 75,000 FX4s were built between 1958-1997.
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.
Introduced in 1987, this fibreglass-bodied cab was powered by a 2.5 litre- four cylinder Ford Transit direct injection diesel engine coupled to a Ford four-speed automatic or a five- speed manual gearbox. It was the first London cab to fully wheelchair accessible and to be licensed by the Public Carriage Office to carry four passengers.
Reliant bought the Metrocab from MCW in 1989, and moved the plant to Tamworth, Staffordshire.
When Reliant suffered financial trouble, Hooper bought Metrocab and began a steady programme of improvement. In late 1992 the Metrocab became the first London cab to be fitted with disc brakes as standard. Six- and seven seat versions followed.
The popular FX4 was replaced in 1997 by the TX1, made by London Taxis International.
Series 11 and TTT Metrocab.
The restyled Series II was introduced in 1997 and featured a great many detail improvements. In 2000 a turbocharged Toyota engine replaced the Ford in the TTT model.
The LTI TXII was produced between 2002 and 2006. Many TX type taxis have been modified for private use.
In 2006, LTI introduced the TX4. Following extensive problems including steering faults and engine fires, the company went into administration in 2913 and was rescued later the same year by China's Geely Motors. Geely intend to produce the next generation TX5 hybrid and are also looking at entering the Private Hire market.
Mercedes-Benz, launched itsVito Taxi in June 2008. Since the launch the vehicle has been plagued with trouble from the rear wheel steering.
Nissan's new kid on the block, the controversial NV200, to be launched December 2014.
The New Electric Metro from Frazer Nash: but will the trade buy a vehicle with limited range. Is this just another foolish folly from Mayor Boris Johnson to rank alongside the Cable Car and Barclay Bike scheme?