15 June 2016

Weekly Project Car Finds: A rare Austin London cab

How much blood, sweat and tears are you willing to shed to get a vehicle, formerly consigned to oblivion, back on the road? This weekly project car series highlights everything from abandoned muscle cars to long-retired pickups. It is dedicated to the passionate restorers, gluttons for punishment and hardcore hot rodders. Join us as we ponder possibilities, especially if your tetanus shot is up to date.

1957 Austin London Cab FX3: This is one incredible find. Only a handful of the 7,267 examples produced between 1948-‘58 made it into the United States from the United Kingdom. This example still has its I.D. and period advertising.  Even the tires are original.

It was found at an estate sale and, according to the seller, the “for hire” meter works. The car is impressively complete, including the running boards and a slightly tweaked (but likely repairable) front bumper with the rare fog light mounted on the passenger (or luggage platform) side, both not pictured in the ad. It appears all of the glass is in good condition, and the privacy glass that separates the driver from passengers is amazingly intact. The previous owner’s family states that the diesel engine turns over, the four-speed shifts in all gears, and the car rolls and steers. It is rare to find one of these cabs with a title, but it has one – free and clear.

Taxis were built for reliability, ease of maintenance and driving ability. It has a tricycle’s turning radius and a built-in hydraulic jack system was mounted under the chassis. Flat tire? No problem, just lift the damaged side and make the swap.

Although the car doesn’t currently run or drive, it is a blank canvas perfect for restoring, hot rodding or just something rare to mechanically repair. It surely will get a lot of looks, and if frequent travel is your goal this cab has plenty of cargo room.

There is so much unique information about these cars that I could go on forever, but instead I invite you to check it out for yourself.

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