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Ex Private Hire Taxi... Would you?


sierraman
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Yes, they lead a hard life with some unusual wear characteristics, but they usually are tested to a higher standard than other cars.

The strange thing is that they don't seem to manage retirement well. I've known many ex PH cars that have given many years or reliable service die within a year or so of being pensioned off.

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One car that bucked the trend was a P reg 306 Sedan. It was a 1.4 petrol and probably the last real basic car plated in my area. No PAS/CL/EW. I bought it when it was 7 years old and when it hit retirement age at its 8th birthday I managed to blag a beggars plate on it, meaning a six month extention based on it being inspected by the licencing panel. I saw it knocking about for a few years after.

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I think my longest post retirement survivor was a V reg Mk2 Mondeo 2.0LX auto. I bought it for Mutha_Claim to use as a PH car as she wasn't in the slightest bit "backwards compatible" when it came to work cars and demanded something automatic with aircon. The Mondy was about six and a half years when first pressed into PH service and only needed a front hub and very expensive exhaust (autos have a unique exhaust with a flexi pipe) before being retired on its 8th birthday. It was still knocking around locally until five years ago.

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40 years ago I bought 1300 quids worth of 5 year old Audi 80, showing 45,000 miles.

Only after I had got it home did I notice the registration document said “Hackney Carriage” 

Lots of evidence of many miles but none of it’s being clocked.  Oh well, live and learn. After fixing the immediate charging problem and the inevitable HGF I began to twig that I had been had. Worn-out front dampers, autobox that went into neutral if cornering left vigorously, paper thin discs, rear door locks that wouldnt. Maybe the newly fitted glass sunroof was to obscure scars from the TAXI sign?

Anyway I got 5 or 6 years of use out of it.

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3 minutes ago, Asimo said:

40 years ago I bought 1300 quids worth of 5 year old Audi 80, showing 45,000 miles.

Only after I had got it home did I notice the registration document said “Hackney Carriage” 

Lots of evidence of many miles but none of it’s being clocked.  Oh well, live and learn. After fixing the immediate charging problem and the inevitable HGF I began to twig that I had been had. Worn-out front dampers, autobox that went into neutral if cornering left vigorously, paper thin discs, rear door locks that wouldnt. Maybe the newly fitted glass sunroof was to obscure scars from the TAXI sign?

Anyway I got 5 or 6 years of use out of it.

If it was a hackney then due to the fitment it may have had the speedo bypassed, rather like a police traffic car.

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In Glasgow they get pensioned off after 7 years, and I know a couple of folk who've bought a 7 year old 300k mile Octavia for a 3 figure sum that's done them well.

Probably more so in years gone by where the cars were Mk1s fitted with either the glacial but everlasting SDi or a 1.9TDi that never exceeded 2100rpm in its life.

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1 minute ago, Spiny Norman said:

In Glasgow they get pensioned off after 7 years, and I know a couple of folk who've bought a 7 year old 300k mile Octavia for a 3 figure sum that's done them well.

Probably more so in years gone by where the cars were Mk1s fitted with either the glacial but everlasting SDi or a 1.9TDi that never exceeded 2100rpm in its life.

I know a Liverpool plated 04 reg SDI with half a million on the clock. The problem is their testing policy, £20 in the ashtray will see it passed.

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My view on vehicles with huge miles is that they were presumably one of the good ones. I’m much more suspicious of low mileage especially when the car is knocking on a bit or has had loads of previous owners.

As I understand it taxis are usually artificially pensioned off when they reach a certain age, so they may well have plenty of life left in them, especially if certain wear items have recently been replaced. That said modern cars are much less robust in many respects especially gearboxes than they used to be. 
 

I’d be much more suspicious of a vehicle off a farm or something which are usually offloaded literally minutes before imminent massive mechanical failure. 

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I’ve had two - 88 Sierra which had (in 2009) an odometer reading of 96k, which I’m sure would have been 196k - and a facelift mk3 Cav on about 165k. Paid nothing for the Sierra and the Cavalier was effectively free as I swapped it for a Volvo 745 that was given to me. There might still be some pictures on old threads here depending on whether Photobucket has locked my account yet. 
 

Both surprisingly tidy inside and outside, though the Cavalier had some strange patches of carpet glued over the original in the rear footwells, and the Sierra had been used as tip run van/dog transporter for a while by its ex cabbie owner between coming off the rank and the car passing to me.  They both ran and drove ok, but I had to sort out various mechanical issues with the Sierra (overheating, brakes, carb etc) and the Cav had no heater with slightly clicky CV joints as well. 
 

Neither lasted long after me. I’m pretty sure the Sierra donated its 205 block Pinto to the next owners mk2 Escort rally car, and the Cav knocked about for a year or so looking increasingly battered then disappeared, probably fragged rather than exported anywhere. 

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Remember in '92 taking a very early MK3 Cav 1.6D in on part exchange against a new Cav 1.7TD, one off the rank to make way for its' replacement. The old one had racked up 330,000 miles in about four years, triple/quadruple shifted 7 days a week. Absolutely hanging, utterly reliable. Bargain buy, but only another cabbie would buy it, because it wouldn't last much longer 'out of its' groove'. Same theory for ex Motability cars, and I saw that one in effect more than once: the low mileage runabout that had never been over 30mph (except for garage visit times...😇) turned into a nightmare when driven properly. 

Machines wear into their own groove, take them out of it and bad things happen. Always figure in six months random repairs til it settles into its' new life.

Saying that, I absolutely would. Worse still, I absolutely would buy a smoll minibus type thing, cos that would do me fine: grebo camper, bike carrier, mobile skip... I had a quick glance at a 16 plate Pugrot Expert 'Independence' earlier, but at a smidge under £12k it was a very quick glance! Don't think my feet actually stopped. 

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6 hours ago, sheffcortinacentre said:

Early 00's mate had a sapphire GLS I (91) ex mini cab looked good & drove nice was black err well 2/3 was as it turned out the rear was blue!

It had been cut at the top of rear screen & across rear foot well/seat base mounting area!

Eng/box ended up in a HC Viva est.

When I was about 19 i visited a scrappers in Rainham to get some pop-out window rubbers for my MG Metro as mine leaked. I got what i needed from a car on top of the pile, as usual,  then ventured off to find someone to pay. The front desk was deserted so i wandered into a shed where they were busy welding two halves of two Sapphires together. 
 

I learned some new words and got the window rubbers free.

 

 

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9 hours ago, mk2_craig said:

Both surprisingly tidy inside and outside, though the Cavalier had some strange patches of carpet glued over the original in the rear footwells. 
 

 

High heel damage from rear seat passengers. All my old V70s had similar holes in the rear carpets.

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A mate of mine takes care of loads of taxis in Rotherham/Sheffield and they are all modern VAG stuff and given haircuts every few months to keep the miles down. It's so easy to do nowadays all the cabbies have a mate who does the rounds with his Quentin Willson machine, or TBH nowadays most have got a £50 CAN filter fitted behind the dash so they only clock up 20% of the real mileage.

He usually gets asked to put cambelts on them at an indicated 20k, 40k, 60k, miles or so (but don't stamp the book!!!!!!!!) so you can imagine what sort of mileage they're really doing. They also go for normal MOTs as well as taxi ones, then at 4 or 5 years old end up covered in flash dash and sold on your usual "We can get anyone finance" car lot, usually with prestige in the name and faded clip art of a 2002 Audi A6 in the logo. 

I reckon for every genuine mega mileage ex taxi sold with 300k on the clock there's half a dozen sold as 75K miles FSH "average condition" motors to an unsuspecting guy who sorted by price on Autotrader.

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It's different now but I have a friend who ran taxi's in the 90's and everything was knackered and ran on a shoe string. Holes drilled in bulk heads to get cam shafts into Cortinas, cars painted in white emulsion to get them back on the street. He said he once bought a brand new Sierra and by the end of the first week he was hitting it with a sledge hammer trying to straighten the inner wing after a driver drove it into a bollard, fitting odd coloured panels from other cars and painting it with dulux to get it on the street.

 

 

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1 hour ago, NorthernMonkey said:

High heel damage from rear seat passengers. All my old V70s had similar holes in the rear carpets.

Top reason to factor in replacing a headlining too. Between those and fag ash/burns, it was sometimes hard to tell which way up the car had been driven...

See also stolen parts, very much a 'buyer beware' thing. Much easier to get a complete low mileage engine and box from a nicked motor when you've already got some dodgy mates and a workshop, than piss about with dealers or recon places. Dunno if it's as true now, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

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