Taxi of 1958 Austin FX4

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

While 1958 brought us the Rover P5, Austin-Healey Sprite and Austin A40 Fa­rina, it’s the hum­ble Austin FX4 that re­ally got in­ner city Bri­tain mov­ing. This is the ve­hi­cle that would come to de­fine the term ‘Lon­don Taxi’ for the next 39 years and in 1958 was al­most dan­ger­ously rad­i­cal. The styling was rather well pro­por­tioned, es­pe­cially given that reg­u­la­tions said it had to be no more than 15ft long.

The story that the coach­work had to con­tain enough space for a bale of hay is a myth, but it did need suf­fi­cient head­room for a gen­tle­man in a top hat, and a turn­ing cir­cle of not more than 25 feet. Mean­while, tra­di­tion­al­ists be­moaned the ab­sence of a hy­draulic jack­ing sys­tem and open­ing wind­screen (for ven­ti­la­tion, demist­ing and peer­ing through pea-souper fogs) as on the old FX3. Most shock­ing was that the FX4 was the first Lon­don cab with four doors, thereby end­ing the 30-year-old tra­di­tion of the cap­i­tal’s cab­bies driv­ing with their left arm ca­su­ally draped over a steamer trunk.

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