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Cars that work for a living. Taxis and more, pictures and stories.


Dyslexic Viking

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I have always had a fascination with cars that have to work for a living and have always found them more impressive than the supercars that everyone is so interested in and praises.

The cars and vans that get little attention and often have a short life as they are worked to death and forgotten.

So I want to see if there is an interest in such a thread here where we can share pictures and stories.

Starting with my own 1963 Mercedes Benz 190DC which started life as a taxi in rural eastern Norway with a small taxi operation. And worked for them for 9 years and after had around 15 years as a daily. It is incredible that this has survived as it had like all then very tough working conditions, unpaved roads that turned into mud in the spring, dusty and bumpy summer roads and harsh winters with temperatures down to minus 40.  And it's still here and is still going.

1960s

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Present time

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And have mentioned it before but will do it again for those who don't know, all taxis in Norway before 1970s had registration plates with the text Drosje on the bottom which is the old Norwegian word for taxi. So they are easy to identify in photos. And I'm looking into getting these plates back on mine.

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Chevrolet Taxi Oslo

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New 1948 Chevrolet taxi, possibly his first new car after the war.

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Ford Taxi Oslo Norway

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Late 1940s Dodge Taxi

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Norwegian assembled late 1930s  7 seater Plymouth Taxi photo taken during the war. Surprising that it doesn't have a wood gas generator like most had then.

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The taxis in Elverum Norway late 1950s.

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Also in Elverum

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Chevrolet Taxi Bø Norway

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1946 US Ford Taxi in 1950

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Drivers look at a new Volga Taxi

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Pontiac Taxi

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Peugeot 403 Taxi

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1946 US Ford Taxi used in Shell advertising after it had reached 400,000km on Shell fluids with only a valve job as the biggest repair.

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Some photos from Oslo

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Since I have some time now, I want to share a bit of one of my favorite articles  which was about the life of Robert who started a career as a driver in southern Norway in the 1920s and worked until the end of the 1980s.

The first picture was taken around the summer of 1988 where he was interviewed by a local newspaper. He was then 81 years old and had now retired. Beside him is his trusty 1972 Dodge Dart which he bought new, in the early years it was used as a taxi and when he gave up taxi driving he started delivering newspapers and the Dodge was used for this as well. In the interview in 1988, he said that age is beginning to weigh on him and his faithful Dodge, which had recently passed 800,000 km, so it was time to retire.

Robert died in 1991 and the Dodge died in 1994 when it was scrapped. Robert was known for being punctual and a good driver and for his helpfulness.

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He did both bus driving and truck driving, but it was the taxi driving who stayed with him the longest.  On Christmas Eve 1932, his 1931 Chevrolet bus caught fire while driving with his wife and 3 month old son on board, all of whom also caught fire, they had to jump into the sea to put out them selfs out and the bus ended up in the rocks and was badly damaged, but Robert rebuilt it himself and it was put back into service.

During the war years he had a 1934 Chevrolet truck which was sold in 1946 and a 1938 7 seater Dodge taxi which was totally damaged during the war. 

Picture below is of his 1938 Chrysler Royal Taxi which replaced the Dodge. This was driven in 1946 on a special driving assignment from Kristiansand to Trondheim (he was from the Farsund area a few hours west of Kristiansand) and despite the fact that the Chrysler was then 8 years old and had probably been through harsh conditions through the war, it made the trip with few problems .

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There is probably a lot this article didn't get covered as a lot has been forgotten, which is a shame. And Robert is one of those I would like to hear stories from.

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3 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

This is a great thread, thank you for creating it. I especially like all the early 1950s American cars, my favourite being the Chevrolet saloons. 

Looking forward to more!

Thanks. Just hope that others will also participate in this thread. It would be fun to see something similar from other places.

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Similar cars, different time - have some taxis and buses from a trip to Cuba a few years ago. Admittedly (a) most 'taxis' are a random guy or a friend of your guesthouse owner who are willing to give you a lift to get some CUCs, and (b) these were the more interesting ones, most we got in were Moskviches.

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This was our airport taxi, I think @vulgalour identified it as a 40s Cadillac (y'know, over a Soviet truck chassis).

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It's amazing the difference between a 50 and 56 Chevrolet saloon. I think I prefer the earlier one.

Were American cars popular in Norway in the 1950s? They were always uncommon in UK but that's more to do with the size and layout of our roads at the time (narrow and twisting)

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5 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

Were American cars popular in Norway in the 1950s? They were always uncommon in UK but that's more to do with the size and layout of our roads at the time (narrow and twisting)

They were very popular in taxi use. We had purchase restrictions on new cars from the war until about 1960, so you had to have a purchase permit to buy a new car with the exception of cars from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc as we had a trade agreement with them. American cars were also sold to private customers, but in smaller numbers and were usually reserved for those higher up and who had contacts to get permits to buy one.

And our roads were also narrow and twisting, but American cars were among the few that could withstand the conditions and that lasted in them then. So that is one of the main reasons why they were so popular in this type of use. 

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27 minutes ago, mk2_craig said:

That D-25012 plate crops up on at least three of the Norwegian taxis above. Presumably transferred from car to car as a matter of routine?

Well spoted and yes they did. If I remember correctly, the registration plate followed the taxi licence, so the registration plates were transferred to the new car. All this ended with the new registration plates that came in 1971.

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Great idea for a thread - I've always loved a vehicle that earns it keep and a living for its owner. I've nothing as old or interesting as the pics above to share, I've never really been one to take pics of previous vehicles as they were all a tool to earn a crust, but I do have some pics of recent ones.

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A couple of pics of the current couriering Caddy workhorse, owned it for just over 2 years, bought at 125k miles during covid at a stupid over the odds price, just closing in on 300k now. Its been very needy, some of it down to previous owners, some of it due to VAGness and some is just good old wear and tear. I keep looking at the newer euro 6 2.0 Caddys now they are below £10k but I'm after breaking my personal best mileage of 389k so I'll keep this one going for hopefully another year or two.

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Now don't all laugh as all Vauxhalls are........ Picked this 1.9CDTi auto up 3.5 years ago with 84k miles on it - just used as a back up and then Mrs Popsicle started to do a couple of regular runs for me every week, I'm sure she'd rather take the Shogun but at 25 mpg thats not happening! Its now on 254k miles and has been brilliant, constant mid 50's mpg, smooth, quick enough and comfy and has never FTP. Sure its needed regular maintenance but nothing out the ordinary other than an intank fuel pump and exhaust manifold that needed skimming.

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Really surprised but I can't find a pic of this not smashed up - another Vauxhall, this time a Zafira, same 1.9 auto as our Vectra, after a 3 years out of the couriering game and hating my office job I got offered a job doing deliveries in a car, as I already owned the Zafira I thought I'd give it a whirl. Picked up at 82k miles, started couriering at 110k miles and wrote off at 369k miles.

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Again just like the Vectra, brilliantly reliable, just normal repairs and maintenance. It got so close to beating my personal best......

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The last Sprinter I owned, think I've had 10 or 11 over the years, you might notice a theme here, it got wrote off in a head on smash.

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Think it was on about 265k miles, as with every Sprinter I've owned it was a needy piece of rusty shit, but it kept me earning.

By far the best Sprinter I ever owned was a V reg 310, pre CDi with the gearstick on the floor, brilliant van that ran to over 350k miles but the newer common rails kept winking at me! My first W reg common rail was a bag of shite and broke down on its maiden voyage to Scotland and took 18 hours to recover, but the second a 52 reg 311 CDi holds my personal best of 389k miles, which I'm trying to beat before I get to old to keep schlepping around the country!

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  • 4 weeks later...

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