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Tell me about black cabs


chris667
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Hello

Still not sure about whether or not to do the dirty on the Romahome.

I have been looking at eBay and I keep finding myself looking at former black cabs.

They all have astronomical mileages, obvs. But I don't mind paying extra to get a good one, and they are obviously good quality items. The sort of thing I could look after and own for a long time.

Anyone here ever owned one?

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I have one of the last FX4s. Whilst it is fun in a perverse way, they are not really practical. As standard, there is no front seat (they are available but expensive). There is a partition between the driver and any rear passengers, and the distance to the back seat means passengers are far away. Even if the intercom still works (mine does), conversation is strained at best. Mine has the 2.7 Nissan diesel (some would say the best engine) and it returns low 30s overall. They are undergeared, for city use, so long distances are hard work. Ride is poor, handling terrible. Some parts are getting expensive. I would have another one! :-) 

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@purplebargeken springs to mind, I’ve had a 1997 fairway and an 2005 TX2. IIRC @wuvvum has had a metrocab.

The tx is probably the most numerous ex black cab in the bargain basement price range- fx4s seem dear/ get blinded up for wedding hire, and later stuff can also still be a bit pricey. A line in the sand for me when looking at was 06 plate as from this date the road tax is £50 per month. Not the end of the world but for me, for an non essential extra vehicle that was too much; especially if said vehicle is only about £500 to buy, which is entirely possible for a running driving mot’d tx2 with a bit of looking around. Certainly with age limits and electric legislation kicking in I would Imagine it’s going to be a buyers market in the next few years. I paid £365 for one direct from a London fleet operator last autumn.

the tx1 is still a Nissan engine, the tx2 is a Ford duratorq 2.4. Each has their fans, including some old school operators who re- engined tx2s with the less complex 2.7 Nissan from the tx1. 

My tx2 was direct from London service (lots are autos from London- usually found with Lxxxx plates) Mine has rock hard Commercial city tyres that were “interesting“ in winter on country roads, sometimes reverse took a while to Engage from cold. Apparently this is not uncommon. Rebuilds are not too pricey as there are commercial outfitters in London who can do it for a reasonable price with competition keeping the price down. 
 

Usually an owner driver is a safer bet from a care point of view - mine had been Rented by the driver from a taxi firm, presumably 24/7  but still seemed to have been looked after ok. I bought mine after the first lockdown and , capturing the zeitgeist had appropriate livery on it.

095D707E-BBE4-4B84-88ED-8B9AE6310BDA.thumb.jpeg.e25417b6b011bb56f1224790955f2db3.jpeg

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More seriously, what's the deal with insurance on these? I've also heard it can be difficult to find a provider to insure them.

 

Seeing that these are taxis but no longer real taxis, is it possible to get some kind of "fake taxi" livery? 

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28 minutes ago, mintwth said:

More seriously, what's the deal with insurance on these? I've also heard it can be difficult to find a provider to insure them.

 

Seeing that these are taxis but no longer real taxis, is it possible to get some kind of "fake taxi" livery? 

You can have any livery you like really - only thing which legally singles out a taxi/private hire car is the plate on the back (or back and front in some areas) with the licence details on.  There may be some rules about not driving around with the for hire light on, but I honestly can't remember.

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8 hours ago, chris667 said:

Anyone here ever owned one?

never owned one, but I sure would love to some day! 

ideally an FX4 but I think I may have missed the boat on those sadly, but im hoping ill at least get a chance to perv over @Saabnut's some day :)

but I would not mind a TX or Metrocab, I did muse the idea of getting a cheap TX just to experience then punt/roffle on or such, but ULEZ (and parking fees) murdered that idea sadly

(but it does mean there are lots of cheap non ULEZ compliant ones showing up, also CV19 has really done a number on the black cab industry too sadly from what I understand so lots are being sold by cabbies switching trades)

 

they where very much a part of my childhood, so im quite fond/nostalgic about them :) especially as Black cabs where/are a lot of money for us, so we only ever hailed one as either a last ditch resort or we where going somewhere/doing somewhere public transport could not manage

so there always an element thrill/excitement  to them as well for me LOL  (and of course the banter with the cabby driver was always excellent) 

 

although as an aside Iv never actually ever been in a Metrocab, and im kind of disappointed in myself there

as on the rare occasions we would be haling cab id always made mum look out for/hail FX4's (or suicide door taxies as I knew them back then :) ) back then I never considered a Metrocab a proper London Taxi and TX's where too modern for my tastes back then LOL

but im sad now as there are no metrocabs left and so iv missed out on the opportunity to experience what one was like

 

anyways would be fun to see more on the forum! so I hope personally you end up getting one :) 

 

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3 minutes ago, dollywobbler said:

That was Stephen Fry.

Phil did have one, well not an FX4 but an FL2 hire car, which was the Private version of the FX4 more or less :) 

 

On 12/02/2019 at 16:40, Datsuncog said:
On 12/02/2019 at 16:16, quicksilver said:

The case of the privately-owned Invacars is certainly intriguing. I can't figure out what the target market was and why anybody would buy one though. Surely anybody disabled enough to need an invalid carriage would be eligible for a free one so how did they sell any?

I've kinda wondered that myself. Possibilities might include:

  • reasonably wealthy people who didn't want to join a waiting list for NHS assessment and provision to become independent/regain their independence (I've no idea what sort of timescales applied from application to assessment to receiving an Invacar in the 1970s, but I'd guess the process still took a while - whereas buying privately from the manufacturer would be 'off the shelf');
  • people who preferred the idea of owning their vehicle, rather than the 'owner' being the NHS (sounds weird, but I know some older people who have a massive aversion to feeling in debt/being dependent on others, to the point of pre-paying all their utilities up front so they never receive a bill);
  • people who weren't disabled but may have been able to expolit the no-licence nature of the vehicles - wild guess here, but did Invacars inadvertantly fall into a similar category to the French sans-permis vehicles, which were/are often used by people who lose their license through the courts?
  • people who really, really wanted to park at the touchline at football games (okay, probably not that one).
  • eccentric millionaires who liked to move about incognito - the same way you could buy an upmarket version of the Austin FX4 in non-taxi 'limousine' spec - the Austin FL2. Apparently a few high-profile people once used FL2s to get around London without being noticed, including Lawrence Olivier, various peers of the realm and (most famously) Phil The Greek. I mean, what are you more likely to think: "Wow, I just saw Howard Hughes drive past in an Invacar" or "Wow, that fella who just drove past in an Invacar is an absolute double for Howard Hughes" (ok, probably not that one either - but have a pic of an FL2 anyway).

Austin FL2 Limousine.jpg

 

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the Peugeot E7 conversions are getting very plentiful at the moment, and usually go for £600-£1000, plenty of room in the back too...they usually have the 8v Hdi fitted as Cabbies hated the 16v version, seen them on 600,000 but 3-400,000 is more common

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I heard someone who ran a rural B&B bought a second hand black cab to pick up & drive back customers to the local station.

It was at the local garage almost as much as it was in use, as one thing after another went wrong.

Even when it was working the hard suspension made it no fun to drive on rural roads, as did the low gearing.

 

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I've had three Metrocabs in total, two Series 2s and a Series 1.  They are a little dull compared to an FX4, or even a TX, but they have the advantage of fibreglass bodywork so there is a lot less to rot than on the LTI taxis.  They also have the Transit DI engine under the bonnet, which for me is a good thing - bullet proof and cheap for parts, although not exactly quick or refined.  The late Metrocabs got, if memory serves, a Toyota diesel from the Hilux.

They are roomier in the cab than an FX4, not that that's saying much.  They have the same fantastic turning circle and very high geared steering.  As with the other purpose-built taxis, ride isn't brilliant and handling is pants.  Also, as with most fibreglass-bodied cars, they can throw up some entertaining earthing faults with the lights.

 

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