Saturday, October 20, 2012


Anyone out there know how diificult it is to get rid of the emissions control stuff on these cabs ?

Thankyou Dickie !

I am very very pleased to say that I just bought myself a lovely new cab.
It's an N reg Fairway Driver Plus, which belonged to a delightful chap living just up the road from me. Dickie has been driving it from new, and has clearly cherished it. Now, at the age of 80, he has decided to retire, and put his cab up for sale.

Handing over the keys was a bit emotional, but at least he will know that it will be well looked after, and will drive past his front door on a regular basis. It's a black one, no vinyl roof, doors are rust free, and the interior is in good condition. It was fully plated until September this year, so despite a flat battery, I'm pretty confident that its got lots of life left in it. Will update with photos etc shortly..

Monday, July 9, 2012

Looking for a new one...

Sorry to you all for not posting for a very long time. My dear old taxi fell into disrepair, and has been scrapped. However, I am about to start looking for another one. If anybody comes across a really nice late one, with really good bodywork, please let me know. It's fantastic to read all your the comments, and I'm really pleased that this blog has helped some of you with your cab problems and questions. As soon as I get my hands on one, I will update of course...

Monday, October 11, 2010


Thanks to a little persuasion, and a sudden influx of common sense, I have decided to withdraw my cab from sale. She is safely stored off road, where she awaits the Spring and the tender care of my socket set.

Thanks for showing me the light.


Sunday, September 5, 2010


My taxi is now for sale. It has no MOT, and no tax.
Good bits:
A very smart steering wheel
Nice new chrome boot handle, filler cap, and window chrome strips.
Good engine with 350 000 miles on it
Brand new battery

Bad bits,
Rusty doors
Faulty alternator possibly, or could just be bad connection
Rear offside drum brake sticks - probably can be loosened / adjusted
2 bad tyres at back

front panels, bonnet, boot all good
rear arches have a bit of rust
passenger interior good
No glass divider

Any offer accepted that is sort of reasonable...

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Some time ago I decided to take a friends advice and bought myself an old London Taxi to use as a family car. I spent ages trawling the internet trying to find out what I could about taxis and found very little useful information. I set up this blog so that anyone else who is thinking of doing the same can get some useful info before buying a cab.

I am not a mechanic, nor am I in any way part of the motor trade, just a bloke who bought a black cab. If you are a cabby, or mechanic, and want to add any information, or correct anything that I have got wrong, just leave a comment at the bottom of one of the entries. I should be able to email you back and then make the necessary corrections or additions.

I should point out that most of the photos of cabs here have been trawled from flickr and google image searches - apologies if you see your cab here, let me know if you want it removed...

Also worth noting is that when I add new sections, I backdate them to January (because I want to keep this section at the top of the page...)

Spare parts

I have just had a very interesting email from John Bradley over at London Taxi Exports, outlining what is happening with LTI spares for our cherished Fairways. The good news is that he seems determined to get round these difficulties, and still remains our best source for difficult to find parts.

Here's his message...

"At present the factory are determined to get all the Fairways off the road so just to make life difficult, they have stopped all production of body parts, plus many items specifically taxi orientated. This action is targeted at the last of the currently 4000 Fairways still out there in London and is a ploy to get the drivers in to the showroom to buy the latest offering. Nothing wrong with that, as it is simply business, and we understand that as we have excellent relations with the manufacturer being the largest exporter of these wonderful classic British cars. BUT what has been forgotten, is that there are probably more private owners now than licensed hacks out there and the paucity of parts is making life difficult for these owners.
Many if not all of your list of suppliers are struggling to supply parts and indeed many of the original suppliers to LTI have actually gone out of business including seal, braking, electric parts manufacturers amongst many, so enquiries to most of these folks will only elicit a negative response or a blank look for essential items, no steel panels are now in existence for example.
Our strength is our ability to remake many parts and indeed we have a full program of GRP body panels including front & rear wings, hire signs, threshold plates, consoles, visors, end caps, inner wings, etc with many more parts on the way. Also in our program are new Lucas type replacement parts, steel inner sills, outer sills, rear triple panels, steel floor pans, wing repair sections etc plus screen seals, windscreens, rear screens, and literally loads more too many to list."

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I rang round everywhere and it was a bloody nightmare. The problem you see is that the Bozo on the end of the phone insists on asking you 20 minutes worth of questions before asking you what car you want to insure. When you tell him it is an "LTI fairway driver plus" he will have a mental breakdown because it isn't listed on his computer. Then you will be put on hold, and bounced around all over the place before being told " Sorry, we don't do taxis" The solution is simple though.. ring an insurance broker, they contact hundreds of insurers and find one who will cover you. I did it all through the AA and got 2 named drivers fully comprehensive living in SE15 for £280 a year.

UPDATE - My insurance expired and the AA could no longer give me cover, but using the advice of a poster to this site, I contacted the classic car department at Peter Best Insurance, who were very helpful and gave me a quote almost identical to my last one, with lots of extras. If you are having trouble, give them a try...

Also, look through the comments left by other users (below) - lots of useful info there...

Known insurers are:

Peter Best on 01376 573033
NFU Mutual
CIS - The Co-Op
Adrian Flux on 0800 505 3000
Footman James on 0844 826 8997

Sunday, May 18, 2008

After 50 years, the end of the road for the classic black cab

This is the sort of thing that really pisses me off. What exactly is the point of crushing a perfectly useful British Icon ? I'm going to have to write to Boris and get him to put a stop to this shortsighted madness.

After 50 years, the end of the road for the classic black cab

Martin Buckley
Monday April 14, 2008
The Guardian

They are as much a part of the national landscape as the London Routemaster bus or Gilbert Scott's red telephone box, but this year the last of the classic black FX4 "Fairway" taxi cabs could be erased from our streets. Mann & Overton, the main dealership for the modern replacement, the TX4, is offering FX4 operators up to £3,000 - 10 times the market value of their old cab - if they trade it in for a new TX4.

Sadly, for those of us who would like to emulate Kate Moss - she has been spotted behind the wheel of her own Fairway - this generous offer does not mean there will be a healthy supply of cheap classic cabs to snaffle up: M&O say, with chilling finality, that they will "scrap ... all the old Fairways we take in under this amazing deal".

The classic cab was launched under the Austin badge exactly 50 years ago and 42,000 units were produced over a 39-year period. It survived the ructions of the British Leyland years to become the Carbodies FX4 when the firm that had made the bodywork took over responsibility for the entire design.

Famed for its unmistakable engine rattle and nifty 25ft turning circle, the FX4s were designed specifically to comply with transport regulations in London but ended up being driven in cities throughout Britain. They have gradually been made safer, comfier and faster (the first ones would only do 60mph; not much good for the M4 Heathrow run) and, compared with the Noddy-car looks of the new TX series, there is a undeniable nobility about the FX4.

Black cabs have always been available to private buyers who wanted a bit of anonymity, and the right to drive in taxi lanes. Sid James, Sir Laurence Olivier, Stanley Kubrick and the Duke of Edinburgh drove their own personal cabs long before Moss was outed as an FX4 enthusiast.

Stephen Fry drove a black cab to avoid paying parking tickets. Bez of the Happy Mondays used the money he earned on Big Brother to have a condemned FX4 "pimped" and fitted with a V8 engine. Arnold Schwarzenegger shipped one out to California, and the eccentric millionaire Nubar Gulbenkian had one converted to look like a Victorian hansom cab, complete with carriage lamps.

You can find decommissioned FX4 taxi cabs on eBay and elsewhere for £500. Just like the ones Mann & Overton will be so heartlessly crushing, they have plenty of life left in them. It seems wasteful, but M&O say reducing emissions and providing "an improved taxi service fit for the 21st century" are the motivations behind this generous offer. Shifting a few more shiny new £31,000 TX4s won't go amiss either.

Roof Racks

I have discovered on the LONDONTAXICABS group ( which is brilliant by the way ) that you can get roof racks from halfords. Just ask for ones to fit an FX4, or an early Land Rover Discovery.

3 Things

Can anyone tell me what these 3 things are ?

The Engine

This is the Nissan 2.7 Bullet-Proof Diesel Engine. You will need one of these in your cab otherwise you will be buggered.

The Heater Valve

Now that the sun has finally come out the weather is noticeably warmer, I have realised that I cant turn the heater off. My chap at garage explained how it works. There is a simple lever on the heater panel on the dashboard which is operates a cable which runs through the bulkhead to a valve on a water pipe on top of the engine. 3 things seem to happen... the lever breaks ( if it has seized don't force it ), the cable seizes ( remove and lubricate or replace it ) or the valve seizes up. In my case, the valve had seized up and good soak in some WD40 seems to be bringing it back to life. I expect the cable is a bit gummed up as well. I haven't got as far as trying to remove yet, but I've got a feeling that it should be quite easy, especially if you ever had a meccano set as a child.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why use a London Taxi as a family car ?

They are large virtually indestructible vehicles
They are easily one of the safest cars on the road
They are built on a solid chassis
They can carry huge amounts of shopping
They can carry up to seven persons
They are ideal school runs vehicles
They sit up high and give a fantastic command of the road
They give a sense of invincibility
They easily accept the largest push-chairs
Other drivers keep clear of taxis
They are simple to drive & easy to service
They have loads of street cred
The division window can close off noisy kids
They can do over 30 miles to a diesel gallon
They are cheap to insure being group 4 (low)
Parts are not expensive
They can be hosed out after dogs and kids
They look great with graphics and artwork
They are good business tools

In short an ex-London taxi is the ideal people carrier tried tested and proven on the streets of London and really good value against the cost of a purpose built MPV which can cost between £10,000-£20,000. The taxis represents tremendous value at an average budget cost of between £1500-£3000.

Taxi Models


This version of the FX-4 went into production in 1989. It was powered by a Nissan 2.7 litre diesel, coupled to a choice of a Nissan 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual. It was the first FX4 to be wheelchair accessible.

Fairway Driver

Introduced in 1993, the Fairway Driver featured all-new front suspension and brakes, with discs on the front. The last Fairway rolled off the production line October 1, 1997 and was immediately presented to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. It carries the registration number R1 PFX.

The 'Fairway' taxi is the standard shape London taxi. It has the fantastic Nissan engine coupled with a 3 speed auto gearbox with overdrive. Drum brakes front and rear, power steering, electric mirrors and central locking. This model finished in mid 1992 and was replaced with the 'Fairway Driver' taxi The newer model which was produced until late 1998 is basically the same as the 'Fairway' taxi but with the advantage of uprated front suspension and with front disc brakes replacing the front drums.

Buying a London Taxi

You can try eBay but be careful, there are definitely some dodgy deals going on there. If you register on eBay you can do a search of completed auctions to see how much taxis have been sold for previously. Be sure to do an RAC check, and pay cash when you have seen the car. If it doesn't seem to be as advertised you can walk away.

Elite London Taxis offer taxis that have been carefully sourced and fixed up. Well worth checking out, but often out of stock as the cabs they have seem to sell quickly.

Also be sure to try London Taxi Exports.

Probably the best bet is to visit a few taxi garages and make enquiries there. If the owner thinks he will get your loyal business and he can make a few hundred quid on the deal there's no reason why he won't help you find something. You will have to use your own judgment as to whether he will give you a fair deal, and you may have to wait quite a while before something shows up. I can definitely recommend Keith on 0207 733 3228 and you can give Jim a call on 0207 738 7954.

Another way would be to print up some leaflets explaining what you are after and spend the day outside one of Londons main railway stations. Look for nice clean cabs and hand the leaflet to the driver. Whilst you're at it, ask him if he has any spare taxi newspapers, they are full of useful info and sometimes cabs for sale.

If you can get your hands on a P or R reg Fairway Driver Plus with less than 200,000 miles on it, you will be laughing.

What are they like to own ?

Brilliant fun. First off you get to pretend to be a taxi driver. You can lean your head towards the partition window and start rabbitting on about who you had in your cab last week. And moan about the traffic and rickshaws and Ken Livingstone or whatever you like without fear. You can show off to your friends by doing complete turns in the width of the road. But most of all, you will grow to love the reassuring sound of that bullet proof engine clattering away as you trundle proudly around your neighborhood, safe in the knowledge that you have a car that will probably last you ten years, and cost very little to own and run.

If you have kids like me, then its a no brainer... Bags of room, you can wheel your buggy straight in, and when they start moaning about something you can just slide the partition window shut.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Cab

Pictured above is the 1996 Fairway Driver I bought on Ebay for £1900. I definitely paid more than it was worth - I reckon £1500 would have been more like it. It arrived dirty and a bit neglected, but it had at least been driven up from Wales. If there had been anything mechanically wrong, I guess it wouldn't have made it up to London. There were various electrical glitches, and rattles and stuff that generally needed tinkering with. I took it straight to the nearest taxi garage and had it looked at by Keith and Jim. 20 minutes and a lot of crowbar banging later, Jim announced that it was fine, just needed a few bits sorting out. The chassis was good, bodywork typical for its age, engine fine, gearbox fine etc etc. The policy seems to be that you just wait for things to go wrong, and deal with the problems then. "It will won't let you down mechanically" he said, It's only done 285,000 miles..."


There are plenty of places to get spare parts, both new and used. The good news is that for the most-part they are very cheap, and well built so that they last a good long time. Remember that many of the components on a taxi have been built to be serviceable by a mechanic, and not 'throwaway and replace' like modern cars. There are links at the top right of this page to dealers who can supply pretty much anything you need. Ebay is also a good place to find this stuff, and there are plenty of breakers yards out there. Your first enquiry should be with your local taxi garage... the mechanics there may well have what you need lying around in a corner somewhere.

I bought this flashy wooden steering wheel because:
A - the old one was worn out and lumpy.
B - the wooden one is flashy.
C - I am a looney who is willing to spend £120 on a flashy wooden steering wheel.

Of course, I could have bought a decent second hand original one from a breakers yard for ten quid.

Bus lanes

You are only entitled to use the bus lanes if you are a licenced taxi ... and you must pay the congestion charge. There are rumours that outside of the congestion zone, the bus lane cameras only photograph the front of the taxi, and can't actually see the licence plate on the back of the cab. There is apparently a chap who scans through the photos looking for obvious offenders, and who ignores black cabs immediately. If you are mad enough to risk a £50 fine then feel free to give it a go. And remember that London busses are fitted with forward facing cameras as well. Oh, and you will probably piss off other taxi drivers too.

A message for Mr. EchoPlex - sorry I nicked a photo of your cab, but it is a beauty. I'm on the lookout for a chrome radiator grille and wing mirrors now...


Apparently there is a place in Wandsworth where they steam clean the underside of the cab, then underseal it for £45. There's another place somewhere near Stanstead Airport who can collect and deliver from London for about £65. Worth doing once a year to stop any rot getting into the chassis. Another thing worth doing is to buy some waxoil and brush it all around the bulkhead inside the engine bay. The area at the back of the engine bay can rust as water gets in and works it's way around wiper motor and heaterbox. In fact, you can splosh/spray the stuff anywhere that may start to rot, like inside the door panels ( water leaks in behind the window rubbers) Pick a nice sunny day when everything is dry, or you will just seal the water in... I have also heard that you can make up your own antirust treatment by mixing diesel and engine oil equally, and brushing liberally over any areas that look suspect. Might smell a bit though.


Cabs have been designed to be easily serviced. My mechanic Jim put the cab up on the lift so that he could check everything underneath. Changed engine oil and filter, cleaned fuel filter, changed air filter. Removed rear wheels and checked the brakes (which needed cleaning), adjusted brakes and handbrake. Checked and topped up all water and hydraulic fluids. Expect to pay around £80 for a standard service.


Watch out ! Make sure you switch everything off when you leave your cab or you will come back to a flat battery. If you don't close the back doors properly the courtesy light stays on and will drain it. So will the rear compartment overhead lights (very quickly) and the seatbelt button on the nearside tip down seat. (it's got a red light on it). Other than that, you should be ok, the battery itself is huge and has a date stamp on it. They are designed to handle the constant demands of driving around London all day with lights, heaters, wipers, meters etc all demanding relentless power... After about 3 years, if used as a taxi all day, they begin to fail. Not cheap to replace - about a hundred quid. ? Make sure you keep the water levels up and it's worth 5 minutes disconnecting the cables, cleaning the battery posts and reconnecting securely. A blob of vaseline on the posts before reconnecting helps keep a good connection.(apparently)

The Fan Belt

If your fan belt breaks, a whole bunch of odd things start happening. First off, you will get a red light in the centre of the dashboard. Then your brakes will stop working, and the gearbox will stop changing gear properly. And your lights will start fading. And your power steering goes weird. And oil starts squirting out of the bottom of the engine. It's all because there are servos connected to the fan belt wotsit, and if the belt breaks they all stop working. The minute the new belt is fitted, it all starts working again. The oil squirting out the bottom of the engine is in fact coming from a special pressure release valve, and is not the engine splitting in half. Hopefully...

The Fuel Filter Light

When you fill up with diesel, you will sometimes get a bit of water in with the mix. This happens a lot when the tanks at the petrol station are low (there's water at the bottom...).
The fuel filter will isolate this water in a reservoir below the filter. If it fills up, a red light will come on at the top right of the dash. My mechanic emptied it in under ten minutes and sent me off without charging.

The Motorway

Lets face it, you are not going to blast down the M3 at 90 mph. But you will manage 70 on the flat bits. It's a bit noisy and after about an hour and half you will want to get out for walk. But it is do-able.
If you have a Fairway with overdrive, you will find a little square button somewhere on the centre console that switches on the overdrive. When overdrive is on, the green light at the top right of the dashboard will go out, and you will feel the gearbox shift into "fifth gear". In fact it changes the ratio for all the gears in the gearbox, a bit like changing the front cog on a racing pushbike. When you get off the motorway, just press the button again and the light will come on, and the gearbox will shift back to normal. Another way to think of it is like this - If the green light is ON, you are in sport mode...


You will of course get flagged down from time to time, and occasionally asked for directions which can cause a certain amount of confusion when you don't know the answer. Your cab will have a switch on the centre console that lets you lock the doors stopping people from just jumping in the cab when you are stopped at traffic lights. This is useful because if a drunk bloke falls into your cab at midnight, you're going to have a job explaining why you can't take him home.

The windscreen wipers are a bit crap. I've put longer blades in which make it a bit better, and have replaced the wiper module thingy that parks them properly when you switch them off.

Most cabbies seem a bit reluctant to spend money on their cabs, so you may want to tinker a bit with a few things. Mine had quite a lot of sticky tape holding the wiring together, but it is easy to sort out. The dashboard can be easily removed with a philips screwdriver and all the wiring will be there in front of you. Go to halfords and buy a crimper and a box of crimps, then just re-do any thing that looks flakey.

The mileometers often jam when they roll over through 200,000, 300,000 or 400,000 miles. There is a bloke called Malcolm Smith at London Vintage Taxi spares who can fix/overhaul them if yours has jammed. But the engines are usually good for half a million-ish if you service it regularly. Well that's what I've been told anyway. Bonkers mileages I know, but apparently quite possible. It's because the engine only revs 3500rpm full whack... Main thing is to keep an eye on rust, which is more likely to finish your cab off than anything else.

It seems that many Fairways let water in through the windscreen seal, where it works it's way down and drips on your feet. Can be fixed with a tube of silicone sealant from the hardware shop.
It can also come in as a result of a blockage in the heaterbox. A chap called Russ on the London Taxi Cabs forum explained ...
"Open the bonnet and look at the heater on the bulkhead, just below it you will see a pipe coming out and dropping down to the gearbox. Remove the rubber pipe and you will find the metal outlet is probably blocked with bits of broken glass and bitumastic body paint... What happens is that windscreens break and the bits fall into the air vent at the base of the screen between the wipers. They rattle around and chip the badly applied paint and when they repaint the cabs all the paint and junk goes in there and blocks the outlet. What you have is a sort of gulley behind the heater where the fan motor draws air in. Water will come in from the air inlet but this falls into the gully and should drain out to the roadway. Age and vibration corrode it and crap blocks it up, before long the inner wall of the dashboard rots through and in heavy or prolonged rain, water runs over your feet. Easiest way to check when buying a cab is to run a hosepipe into the vent and see if it runs out under the engine or trickles over the back of the radio. There is a repair for this I have developed, contact me if you wish and I will give you guidance... regards Russ"


Tyres are cheap- around £50 for a brand new one or 20 quid for a remould. Tyre sizes are 175R16 98/96Q if that means anything to you. Fairway tyre pressures are 38 at the front and 36 at the back.

Power Steering

Not as nice as the power steering on my old mercedes, but it works. Makes a sort of faint fizzing sound when you are parking, but this is quite normal according to my mechanic. The great thing of course is the 25 foot turning circle...


These are the two round things on the front. With new bulbs in they are very bright and light up the road nicely.


They use diesel, and you should make sure you use the cheapest stuff you can get. You can even chuck a gallon of vegetable oil into a full tank, but you are supposed to pay tax on the vegetable oil when you use it as fuel. Daft eh ? You should get around 25 - 35 mpg.


The back doors are 50 inches wide by 50 inches high. You can just about slide a pub piano through the middle.

Fairway dimensions:
4.56 metres long, 1.75 metres wide and 1.765 metres high.

As a daft comparison...
Range Rover dimensions:
4.44 metres long, 1.79 metres wide and 1.81 metres high.


You can add a seat in the front passenger side... most people buy a tip seat from the breakers yard and get it fitted at the garage. You will need seat belts as well. Because the seat can flip up, you may want to fit a steel box underneath it, you can bolt it to the floor and fit a lock. When the seat is dropped down the box is hidden from view.

Interior Panels

Expect a few holes where signs have been fitted and lots of stickers. Just about everything is fixed with self tapping screws, so if you have a philips screwdriver you can strip the interior out in a few hours. This is a good opportunity to clear out all the bits of rubbish and two pence coins that have been rattling away inside the doors. You will also see how the sliding window works - if it isn't working as you expect it will be because of the 2 steel coil springs fitted to the bottom rail of the window glass. They are about £6 each to replace and it is easy to do. You will also see how the window lock works - it's a simple lever arrangement and it can get bent over time - again easy to replace by undoing 2 screws.


Solid and heavy, prone to small rust patches just under the paint surface. If you really feel like it, you can rub it down and patch it up, there are places that will sell you tins of the special two pack paint you need. Wheel arches take a lot of battering, but can be patched up with more metal plates. Seems to be something that happens fairly routinely at my taxi garage. But remember, the taxi has a chassis underneath which means that the bodywork isn't a structural part of the car in the same way as modern cars. If you get some plates fitted over any holes in the wheelarches, then get it undersealed, you'll be good to go.

Other Cabbies

I broke down with a flat battery once in North London, so I popped the bonnet and stood staring blankly into the engine bay. I reckon it was the first or second cab that didn't have a passenger on board that stopped alongside me.. I explained that I wasn't a cabbie but the guy didn't care.. " I love these old fairways..." he said, whilst getting the jump leads out of his boot. Five minutes later I was on my way...

And if you are ever a passenger in a proper taxi, just tell the driver that you've got one... You'll be given all sorts of useful advice and re-assured that you've done the right thing.

You may get a few strange looks from cabbies who suspect you are a mini cab driver... it is illegal for a mini cab driver to pick up trade on the street, they must get their passengers through phone bookings only...


There are 2 heaters fitted to the cab, one for the driver and one for the passengers. The drivers' heater works just like it does in normal cars - there is a heat exchanger under the bonnet that blows hot air through tubes into a box under the dashboard. From there it is sent along more tubes to the window demisters, or comes straight out of the box onto your feet. In my cab, the tubes had come loose at both ends, so I wasn't getting any demisting at all. 4 cable ties fixed it.

The rear heater works a bit differently. There are two hot water pipes that run from the engine and along under the centre console to a heat exchanger box which is under the driver seat. The box also has two big fans in it which blow hot air straight into the passenger compartment.

Exhaust Smoke

Be careful when starting up your cab that no one is standing next to the exhaust pipe... They will be splattered with black oily soot. This usually clears once the engine is running. Exhaust gunge can be a problem when trying to get your cab through it's MOT. Apparently you can add engine cleaning solutions such as 'Millers Diesel Power Plus' or 'Red X' to help clean up your act. Here's a message I found on a forum somewhere about this problem..

"Put some injector cleaner in the tank and drive the thing for 100 miles to get it nice and hot. Then replace the air filter and fuel filter. Make sure before you take it in for test that you have given it a good long run, plus ask yourself when was the cambelt was last changed as they have to rev it to maximum for the smoke test..."

A chap by the name of "The Dodger" who is running a black cab in Australia gives this bit of useful advice though..

"There are some additives 'Spitfire' for one. This goes into the diesel input at prescribed dosage. However, I had this problem with my FX4S and on good authority I was advised thus... Get the engine really warm, park the cab away from walls and fences etc. turn on the garden hose to medium flow and as the engine runs, push the hose up the exhaust pipe as far as the baffles and let it flow until it starts to squirt out. Give the throttle several bursts every 30seconds or so. The stuff that comes out is gobsmacking, so stand clear. When it's just clear water, take out the water house and keep the engine running until no water comes out. Do it again the day before the MOT test is booked. My cab failed the strict EPA in Australia the first time at $1000.00 a test!! Then someone told me about the above and next time it passed!!!!"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Technical Stuff

Type - Diesel
Cylinders - 4
Bore - 96mm
Stroke - 92mm
Capacity - 2664cc
Valve/Rocker clearance - 0.35mm
Compression Ratio - 21.8 to 1

manual - 2 litres
auto - 7 litres

Oil Capacity - 1.25 litres

Turning Circle - 7.62m
Front Wheel Toe In - 1.5 to 2.5mm
Front Hub End Float - 0.025 to 0.152mm

Engine Oil inc Filter - 6.25litres
Engine Oil Filter - 0.7 litres
Fuel Tank - 54.5 litres

Bulb Replacement Chart

Heres a chart showing bulbs and wattages for your cab...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fare Deal - an article from the spectator by Jonathan Ray

Our people carrier has just clocked up 300,000 miles and is going as strong as ever. It is sleek, black and beautiful and draws admiring glances wherever it goes: it is an old London taxi and we love it.

We were living in Marylebone when we bought it and, having lived in Piccadilly before that, had got used to walking, tubing, bussing or cabbing everywhere. I hadn't owned a car for 17 years.

When Marina fell pregnant, though, all that changed. She would, she insisted, need a car in which to transport the nipper, his belongings and the extra shopping and to visit her parents. She was adamant: she couldn't do without one.

This was bad news indeed. I was proud of not owning a car -- even a little smug, believing, in my high-minded way, that it was antisocial to own a car unless one absolutely had to. Well, now it appeared we absolutely had to. But what to buy? Neither Marina nor I know the first thing about cars and would both be hard-pressed to distinguish a Honda from a Hoover or a BMW from a JCB.

We worked out what we could afford and noted our requirements: space was the most important, but reliability, comfort and ease of parking were close behind.

'Might as well buy a bloody taxi, ' I muttered sulkily.

Marina stared at me and went all quiet -- usually a bad sign.

'Perfect!' she cried. 'A cab would be perfect!' For the next few weeks we took taxis everywhere, in order to canvass views from their drivers, who, let's face it, are never backward in voicing an opinion. They were unanimous:

Get one. Bags of space in the back, wouldn't even need to fold up the buggy, the only car designed specifically for driving in London, can turn on a sixpence -- how often did we hear that? -- comfortable to drive, heroically reliable, secure, no problem with spare parts, built to last a lifetime, blah, blah, blah.

We met the fabled Bernie, the acknowledged top man when it came to selling second-hand taxis.

'Right, ' he said, immediately grasping what we were after. 'You don't want a fleet cab, which will have been driven into the ground by shift drivers.

'You need something with one previous owner-driver, preferably a radio cab, which will have done less mileage than a cab touting for business. The modern TXs will cost you upward of 30 grand new and not a lot less second-hand. Forget the Metrocab, they're ugly and have gone bust anyway.

'What you need is a Fairway Driver, preferably Silver, or an updated Bronze, automatic with a 2.7 Nissan engine, power-steering, electric winders, sunshine roof, the lot.' Oh, ok.

A few days later we took one for a spin. It was nine years old and I could scarcely believe the 273,000 miles on the clock ('That's nuffin', ' said Bernie). It was ours for £5,000, the price to include a passenger seat in the front, a new intercom and stereo, full service and MOT, new hub caps, outside trim, full interior valet and new carpets throughout. We bought it on the spot.

That was six years ago and, despite its great age and ridiculous mileage, it's still trundling along. We have two boys now, aged five and three, and they sit happily in the back in great comfort, yakking away at us until it all gets too much and we turn off the intercom and shut the partition. Sometimes Marina and I both sit up front, or one of us sits with the chaps in the back. We've changed countless nappies on the cab's floor and had many a family picnic, facing each other as if in a restaurant.

The extra seat up front means that we can accommodate seven people, and school runs can be an absolute hoot. The turning circle is amazing and makes parking an absolute breeze. The licence plate at the back has been removed, as has the meter, but Bernie insisted on reconnecting the For Hire sign ('To impress yer mates').

We're based in Brighton now, but when still living in London we often risked whistling down bus lanes and parking on cab ranks (my favourite being that one outside the London Library). We were always getting hailed, and the ladies from the escort agency opposite our flat even proposed a mutually agreeable arrangement whereby I became their regular driver. Marina declined on my behalf.

It has taken us to Glyndebourne many times and to France on holidays and booze cruises (it can take almost a pallet-load of champagne). It has also been a hugely successful wedding limo for family and friends.

I'm always being told that Stephen Fry has a cab, and Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Duke of Edinburgh, but they have proper cars too, whereas this is our sole means of transport and we wouldn't swap it for the world.

The most disarming thing of all is that our cab was clearly as shocked as we were when it clocked up its 300,000 mile, for the milometer has been jammed on that magic figure ever since. 'It' must be a 'she', then, lying about her age.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fuse Chart

And here is a Fairway fuse chart...

Monday, January 14, 2008

PCO Conditions of Fitness

General construction

Every cab must comply in all respects with the requirements of any Acts and Regulations relating to motor vehicles in force at the time of licensing.


The steering wheel must be on the offside of the vehicle.

The steering mechanism must be so constructed or arranged that NO overlock is possible and that the road wheels do not in any circumstances foul any part of the vehicle.

The steering arms and connections must be of adequate strength and as far as possible protected from damage by collision.

Brake and steering connections

Where brake and steering connections are secured with bolts or pins, the bolts or pins must be threaded and fitted with approved locking devices and they must be so placed that, when in any position other than horizontal, the head of the bolt or pin is uppermost.

Turning circle

The vehicle must be capable of being turned on either lock so as to proceed in the opposite direction without reversing between two vertical parallel planes not more than 28ft apart.

The wheel turning circle kerb to kerb on either lock must not be more than 25ft in diameter.


All tyres at normal pressure under load must be approved as having a suitable minimum circumference for correct operation of the taximeter.


All brakes must act directly on the wheels of the vehicle.

The brakes of one of the braking systems must be applied by pedal and, with the exception of the stop-light switch, no brake mechanism may operate any other separate mechanism.

The pedal-operated braking system must be so designed that notwithstanding the failure of the brakes on the front or rear pair of wheels there must still be available for application, brakes on the other pair sufficient to bring the vehicle to rest within a reasonable distance.

Cable connections are not permitted in the pedal-operated system and only if specially approved in the handbrake system.


Every vehicle must be fitted with an efficient suspension system so designed and constructed that there is no excessive roll or pitch.

Every vehicle must be so constructed or adapted that a failure of a spring, torsion bar or other similar component of the suspension system is not likely to cause the driver to lose directional control of the vehicle.

When the vehicle is complete and fully equipped for service and loaded with weights placed in the correct relative positions to represent the driver and a full complement of passengers and luggage and is placed on a plane surface, it must not overturn when the plane is tilted to either side to an angle of 40° from the horizontal.

If a roof rack is subsequently fitted the vehicle must be re-submitted for this test.


For the purposes of this Condition 140lb shall be deemed to represent the weight of one person and 140lb the weight of a full complement of luggage.

For the purposes of conducting tests of stability the height of any stop used to prevent a wheel from slipping sideways must not be greater than two-thirds of the distance between the surface upon which the vehicle stands before it is tilted and that part of the rim of that wheel which is then nearest to such surface when the vehicle is loaded.

If the vehicle is submitted with a roof rack half the luggage is to be on the roof.

Bolts and nuts

All moving parts and parts subject to vibration connected by bolts or studs and nuts must be fitted with an approved locking device.

Fuel tanks

Fuel tanks must not be placed under the bonnet and must be adequately protected from damage by collision.

All fuel tanks and all apparatus supplying fuel to the engine must be so placed or shielded that no fuel overflowing or leaking therefrom can fall or accumulate upon any part or fitting where it is capable of being readily ignited or can fall into any receptacle where it might accumulate.

The filling points for all fuel tanks must be accessible only from the outside of the vehicle and filler caps must be so designed and constructed that they cannot be dislodged by accidental operation.

A device must be provided by means of which the supply of fuel to the engine may be immediately cut off. Its situation together with the means of operation and 'off' position must be clearly marked on the outside of the vehicle. In the case of a petrol engine, the device must be visible and readily accessible at all times from outside the vehicle.

Interior lighting

Adequate lighting must be provided for the passengers' compartment and must be capable of being controlled by passengers and driver. Adequate lighting must be provided in the driver's compartment.

Electrical equipment

All electrical leads and cables must be adequately insulated and where liable to be affected by exposure to water, petrol or oil, must be adequately protected.

All electrical circuits must be protected by suitable fuses.

Batteries must be so placed and protected that they cannot be a source of danger.

Fire appliances

An appliance for extinguishing fire must be carried in such a position as to be readily available for use and such appliance must comply with the requirements relating to fire extinguishing appliances for use on public service vehicles.

Exhaust pipe

The exhaust pipe must be so fitted or shielded that not inflammable material can fall or be thrown upon it from any other part of the vehicle and that it is not likely to cause a fire through proximity to any inflammable material on the vehicle. The outlet must be placed at the rear of the vehicle on the offside and in such a position as to prevent fumes from entering the vehicle.


The body must be of the fixed-head type with a partially glazed partition separating the passenger from the driver.

Outside dimensions:
The overall width of the vehicle exclusive of driving mirrors must not exceed 5ft 9in.
The overall length must not exceed 15ft.

Inside dimensions of the passengers' compartment:
The vertical distance between the point of maximum deflection of the seat cushion when a passenger is seated to the roof immediately above that point must not be less than 38in. The width across that rear seat cushion must not be less than 42in.

Any curvature of the floor of the passengers' compartment must be continuous and must not exceed ¾in at the partition and 2in at the base of the rear seat when measured between the centre line and the sills.

The door and doorway must be so constructed as to permit an unrestricted opening across the doorway across the doorway of at least 21in when the door is opened to its normal limit.

The height of the doorway from the top of the sill must not be less than 47in.

Where a boot-lid is fitted it must be hinged at the top.


The top tread of the lowest step for any entrance, or where there is no step the floor level itself at the entrance, must not be more than 15in above the ground when the vehicle is unladen.

All steps, or where there are no steps the outer edge of the floor at each entrance, must be fitted with non-slip treads.

Passengers' seats

The measurements from the upholstery at the back to the front edge of the seat must not be less than 16in in the case of the back seat and 14in in the case of the front seat.

The width of each front seat must not be less than 16in.

The vertical distance between the highest point of the undeflected seat cushion and the top of the floor covering must not be less than 14in.

Where seats are placed facing each other there must be a clear space of 19in between any part of a front seat and any part of any other seat which faces it. This measurement maybe reduced to 17in provided adequate foot room is maintained at floor level. Where all seats are placed facing to the front of the vehicle there must be a clear space of at least 26in in front of part of each seat squab.

Front seats must be so arranged as to rise automatically when not in use. They must be symmetrically placed and at least 1½in apart. When not in use, front seats must not obstruct doorways.

Suitable means must be provided to assist persons to rise from the rear seat.

Drivers' compartment

The drivers' compartment must be so designed that the driver has adequate room, can easily reach and quickly operate the controls and give hand signals on the offside of the vehicle.

The controls must be so placed as to allow reasonable access to the driver's seat and, when centrally placed, must be properly protected from contact with luggage.

The driver's seat must be designed to accommodate the driver only.

An offside door must be fitted to the driver's compartment.

The driver's forward and rear visibilty and wiping of the windscreen must be in accordance with the Society of Motor Manufacturers' & Traders' Standard No 5 "Code of Recommended Practice for Driving Vision".

The vehicle must be fitted with adequate devices for demisting, defrosting and washing the windscreen and with a sun visor adjustable by the driver.

Direction indicators of an approved type must be fitted.

Every cab must be provided with an approved means of communication between the passenger and the driver. When a sliding window is fitted at the rear of the driver's compartment, the maximum width of the opening must not exceed 4½in.


Windows must be provided at the sides and at the rear.

Passenger door windows must be capable of being opened easily by passengers.


An adequate heating system must be fitted for the driver and passengers and means provided for independent control by the driver and passengers.


The windscreen and all windows and glass partitions must be toughened glass in accordance with the latest British Standard at the time of approval.

Door fittings

Passengers' doors must be capable of being readily opened from inside and outside the vehicle by one operation of the locking mechanism.

Double catches of approved type must be fitted to all doors.

Fare table frame and number plate

A frame must be provided for the fare table and interior number plate and fitted in an approved position. The words "The number of this cab is -" are to be shown above the position for the interior number plate.

Floor covering

The flooring of the passengers' compartment must be covered with non-slip material which can easily be cleaned.


Provision must be made for carrying luggage and an efficient method of securing it must be provided.

If it is intended to carry luggage on the roof, a fixed roof-guard rail of approved type must be fitted.


A deep-toned horn of approved pattern must be fitted.


A taximeter of an approved type must be fitted in an approved position.

'Taxi' signs

A 'Taxi' sign of approved pattern, clearly visible both by day and by night when the cab is not hired, must be fitted.

Radio apparatus

Where apparatus for the operation of a two-way radio system is fitted to a cab, no part of the apparatus may be fixed in the passengers' compartment.


No fittings other than those approved may be attached to or carried upon the inside or outside of the cab.

Registration mark

Letters and figures must be white on a black background, or comply with regulation 7a of the Road Vehicles (Registration & Licensing) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 1967, relating to reflex-reflecting plates.


Cabs, including all fittings, etc, must be well maintained and kept clean and in good working order. The vehicles will at all times be subject to test and inspection and should it be found that a cab is not being properly maintianed or that any part or fitting is not in good working order, a notice will be served on the owner prohibiting him from using the vehicle until the defect has been remedied.

Certificate of insurance and form of holder

A current certificate of insurance as required by any Acts or Regualtions relating to motor vehicles, with an addition certifying also that the policy to which the certificate relates complies with the requirements of the London Cab Order 1934, must be carried in a holder securely affixed to the cab in an approced position.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


If you have the slide down sort of windows, they can be opened fairly easily by someone who wants to get into your cab. The boot is pretty solid though. Don't really know about the door locks, but they seem as good as any other car really. You need a separate key for the boot lock, and another for the fuel cap.