Sunday, May 25, 2008

Introduction



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...)

67 comments:

  1. Great blog and I'm glad I found it! Via a link on an evilbay (Ebay) lot believe it or not.

    I'm toying with the idea of getting a black cab. It's such an iconic car, yet seem practical. Which I need for running the kids around.

    Hope to see some more posts soon.

    Regards

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  2. hi, great blog, just one question, how in the world did you manage to find insurance?
    I've been seriously toying with the idea of buying an old fairway to use as a runabout and every single underwiter/broker i've contacted including those mentioned by yourself and also elite london taxis won't touch it. I even rang up a few specialist taxi trade insurers and got the reply of 'it'll cost about a grand a year' this is for a 30 year old with full no claims discount. I'm having a right mare

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  3. Thats really strange and a bit disturbing... Like I said before, I just rang the AA and they sorted it out. I've just looked at the policy in more detail and it seems that the authorised insurer (via the AA) is Norwich Union Insurance Ltd... Try them directly and let me know how you get on.

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  4. Ok, I've done it! paid the deposit and we're ready to go. Should be getting my Fairway Driver within two weeks! Very excited!

    I've not totally sorted the insurance yet but been quoted £380. Once it's all signed on the dotted line I'll let you know some more details if you like. Oh did I mention I'm really excited!

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  5. howdy, i'm so glad i found this blog - i bought an fx4 from london taxi exports about this time last year and i've just about lost my rag with a water leak dripping onto the fuse box that plays havoc with the windscreen wiper (only when it rains though - handy!!)

    i'll give those contacts a call and see if they can help

    it's a brilliant motor and seems a little silly to abandon it for the sake of some water - keep up the good work!

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  6. Insurance was not easy. But good news, Tesco said yes £325 call them up and ask them to check with the broker and it was okay. Next, £295 from Footman James on 0844 826 8997, they do lots of car clubs and this was easy and normal form them.....

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  7. A chap sent me a message saying..

    My cab is insured via NFU Mutual. When I rang up they couldn't find a Carbodies Fairway listed but were happy to class it as an Austin FX4 and it costs me about £300 a year.

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  8. grate blog, there seems to be very little ifo about buying a cab for private use, just wondering what condition the cabs are in when you buy them? im thinking of going through london taxi exports or elite taxis and have about £2000 to spend,(any comments on these companys??)

    any other advice would be grate!!

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  9. Hi anonymous,
    I still think the best way is to work something out with one of the taxi garages, or to spend a morning handing out flyers at a railway station. I can't vouch for Elite or Taxi exports because I've had no dealings with them, although they seem knowledgeable, helpful and genuine enough. Do your research, talk to cabbies and don't rush into anything - you'll be fine.

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  10. Hello Dis,

    it´s very nice to read your blog. Many things are likely the same that happend to us.. :-)
    We (my partner Tanja and I) bought a fairway just a few weeks ago in Bolton and drove it right home to Germany.. We didn´t know anything technical about these amazing cars and i believe we hab big luck to get one that drove us home straight away.
    Here in your blog i found similar "failures" like the not working heating valve or the windscreen not being a rainscreen.. :-P
    And: you gave us very useful hints where to get spares or how to fix s.th. easily!
    Thanks and: keep your blog uptodate! Greetings Chris

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  11. Hello I bought a fairway driver a few months back.to anyone wondering about doing the same I can heartily recommend them.Fun to drive and easy to repair.Ideal as a people carrier and people smile at you a lot.Insurance was easy Tesco!
    The story of mine (so far ) is here http://www.baconsdozen.co.uk/londontaxi.html

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  12. Just found your blog - very interesting indeed.
    I purchased a Fairway from London Taxi Exports in October 2007 and have been very impressed with their service particularly the afterservice provided by John the proprietor. For a 1991 vehicle it is in really good mechanical and body condition and I found insurance relatively cheaply and quickly with Footman James; who incidentally included some interseting additional features on the policy. Huge fun to drive and carry the family dogs in but it does help if you are inclined towards some simple car mechanics!

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  13. Bit of insurance update - just tried Tesco and after much hold they couldn't find the vehicle / weren't feeling like being helpful. Ho hum. Back to Direct Line / Footman James I suppose.

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  14. This is a fantastic Blog, I live in Canada and have always loved Cabs. I am now seriously considering importing a cab as a second car. My only hesitation is that I am not sure how they will handle our Canadian Winters with 15-30 cm of snow and starting in minus 15-30 degrees C. Has anyone had any problems with them starting on cold days? How well do their glow plugs work? Also I know that you don't get snow very often but when you do how do they handle it? Keep the info coming. Your Blog is Great!

    Henry from Canada

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  15. Hi,I've just bought a Fairway for private use and it's great.I too had difficulty finding insurance but the seller recommended Footman James and they sorted me out in minutes.I drove to the local railway station yesterday to pick up some friends,got some unusual looks from the local taxi drivers !

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  16. Excellent blog, really and truly excactly what I needed thank you so so much. I am at the very beginning of this dream, saving funds and working towards a driving licence for my taxi. Everytime I've seen a black taxi since reading your blog something deep inside rubs its hands together softly declaring "one day my pretty, one day...". After reading about Stephen Fry's many months ago I had an inkling that maybe I too could also own a London taxi not as a taxi driver. You've been the inspiration I needed! I will keep reading with much excitement!!

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  17. HI, i have a 1972 FX4 Taxi with a difference, i am in Brisbane Australia. there are less than 30 in the entire country and is a real icon. have a look at my blog for some images.. Best regards Vincent

    http://vincentswiftphotography.blogspot.com/2007_12_01_archive.html

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  18. dont you get fed up of people trying to flag you down?

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  19. Worse is when people ask for directions and you don't know the answer...Really pisses them off.

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  20. hi there, this blog is a great find for me as I need some help/advice.
    I have a N reg (1995 i think) Fairway (Driver i think) which I bought about 2 years ago. First year had no trouble at all and it sailed through the MOT. However this year a few things have needed sorted, i.e. electrics to the lights/fusebox and my door handles came loose (bad design but my mechanic sorted them out with chemical metal stuff).
    Anyway aside from that I can't get an MOT until i can fix/replace the strap/s that go around the deisel tank!! There was only one on it from buying it but unfortunately this snapped due to rust and i had tied it up BUT my mechanic tells me that it must be sorted before it will pass the MOT and i am really STRUGGLING to find one....can you help at all - hope so and well done on the blog.

    Cheers ;)

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  21. The only thing i can suggest is that try and find a taxi breakers or take the cab to a taxi garage - are you in london?

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  22. Blimey - I can only suggest you try the links at the top right of this site to find someone who can send you the part you need - or perhaps someone can make a strap ?

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  23. cheers I'll give them a go ;)

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  24. Having bought a K reg on Ebay 8 months ago, i am hopefully picking up a P reg in the next week or so from JOhn at London Taxi Exports. Slightly pimping it out with privacy glass in the rear, lots of chrome, decent carpet, velour seats, CD with front and rear speakers... thinking about sticking a fridge in teh back too :)

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  25. Photos of my new Fairway can be seen here:-

    http://www.ourmaninbaghdad.net/taxi/

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  26. Excellent blog. Have owned my 1991 Fairway for 3 years here in Spain. Many thanks for all teh great info.

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  27. Hi there, we bought a 91 Fairway in May 09 and then drove it to Casablanca and back. One puncture was the only problem we had in 3,500 miles. We have a custom-made basket style roof rack, and the seats have been re-upholstered in Moroccan carpet. The mileometer stopped working at 300,000 miles. They are fantastic vehicles. I can recommend Elite London Taxis (speak to Dave ) - very friendly and honest. Ian

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  28. Casablanca ? Thats fantastic..

    I am thinking of getting an R reg one. Going to hang around outside Victoria station and hand out flyers to every nice cab i see..."R reg fairway with excellent bodywork and interior wanted for cash..." Hoping I can get a beauty for under 2 grand...

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  29. great idea, interesting to see stephen fry touring america in a black cab.. maybe he got the idea from you!

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  30. Top blog and website for us drivers of cabs that ain't a cabbie "Mate".

    Have owned an N reg now nearly 3 years. Best everyday vehicle I have ever known, and I have driven quite a few,as I used to hire vehicles before I bought my Fairway. Recommend to anyone, especially those that need to carry lots of equipment and/or people. There is a roumour that Fairways will have to leave the streets of London in 2012, so it will become a good time to buy one as the market value will drop. Down side is that it's going to get hard for us to get parts, apart from the obvious lack of such a gorgeous vehicle on our streets. With the recession, it is likely that this policy may get delayed...............

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  31. There has been a court case involving a council refusing to licence cabs over a certain age and it was held to be unlawfull.
    Be interesting to see what now happens.

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  32. I was a member of the excellent London Taxi forum on MSN until it shut down a while back, and I miss it a lot. I know you were a member too and it seemed very well supported by us enthusiasts who were not cabbies. Always lots of useful info, advice,photos and general chatting. Has any one heard of a similar forum thats taken its place. Malc.

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  33. Hi All
    Love this blog!
    I bought a G reg Fairways about 6 months ago and although I am loving it, there are loads of things I need to do to it to keep it up to speed and not being mechanically minded at all, I'm having a few issues....
    Does anyone have a wiring diagram for these cabs? The heating doesnt work on mine and I'm driving it in gloves and a wooly hat at the mo! The back window heater doesnt work either. Various internal lights dont work and I think there is something wrong with the main headlights as they are very dim and one is dominant over the other.
    Would like to keep this car as I adore it and driving it is great fun (got to love that turning circle!!) but need to sort these problems out , preferably not in the local garage as it's beginning to cost me a fortune!
    Any help that can be offered would be great.
    I'll be visiting this blog regularly from now on but my email address is chris.2.stephens@gmail.com if anyone has some info they could e-mail over.
    Thanks all and great blog!!!!
    Chris

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  34. For the lights,check the earths,the wires attach to the frame around the raidator close to where they emerge from the wings.If they are loose or corroded the lights will be dim.
    The heater motor is easy enough to take out,they often seize,most electric problems with fairways are connected with the fuse boxes which are often corroded due to water getting on the backs of them.

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  35. Just ordered my J reg Fairway from London Taxi Exports. Your blog has been invaluable. Thanks so much.

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  36. What a fantastic site.
    I have just bout a 1992 K fairway in fantastic condition and now feel that it will service all my family needs and feel confident in maintaining it. However my husband might be getting new job so my delight might be short lived

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  37. Hi,
    I've been looking for a manual Fairway for a few months (seen some real basket casses - both manual and auto).Finally got hold of an M reg (1995)- delivered last night - WOW!!!. A mere 270,000 miles on her....Great fun to drive - insured with Adrian Flux - no problem just a phone call.
    Now waiting for a manual to be delivered so I can dive into the wiring and sort out all the 'extras' that have been fitted and removed over the years (would be nice to be able to adjust the door mirrors!!!!.
    Anyway will keep in touch
    JOHN

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  38. Hi, great blog! we have a K reg Fairway Driver with similar electric problems as everyone else! mine came fitted with HID headlamps! bloody fantastic when working correctly but I now have a wiring problem...did anyone ever manage to find a wiring diagram?

    Lee@redphotos.co.uk

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  39. Great site. Not much out there for Fairways for private use. I have just bought a 'N' Reg Fairway and will be picking it up very soon from London Taxi Exports.

    Insurance still seems to be an issue and hasn't changed since 2008! I have just spent many many hours getting insurance. My findinds are in my blog.

    (Not sure where this will go, but I have an aquaintance very much involved in the insurance industry so I am going to be quizing him about the best way and who I can lobby concerning insuring our iconic friends. I will try my very best - I have a vested interest!!)

    http://ourlondontaxi.blogspot.com/

    This blog I am writting is in real time and for anyone thinking about buying a Fairway / FX4 will probably learn from my forthcoming mistakes!!

    Thanks once again for the blog.

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  40. Anyone sourced a workshop manual yet got a G reg Fairway in need of some TLC!!

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  41. Nice! I really enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

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  42. Ok as plenty of you are talking tech on here I will ask as well, I have a G Reg Fairway which is overheating, getting steam out of the expansion tank overflow.
    I reckon radiator cap or expansion tank cap are faulty, got a replacement radiator cap coming but cannot source an expansion tank cap.

    Anyone have any advice or partcode to ask for at motor factors?

    Cheers

    Paul

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  43. Well, I've taken the plunge, paid my cash (£1300) and just driven back up the A12 from London with my new '97 (P-reg) fairway; Black with vinyl roof.
    Initial thoughts: Not a snappy drive, throttle (you couldn't really call it an accelerator) has two positions: a) foot right down b)foot off throttle. With foot to the floor in overdrive the speed varied between 50 - 70 depending whether we were going up or down hill... I'll get used to it.
    Brakes were good - considering the 1.7-ton mass. Steering very unprecise above 50mph.
    Pretty noisey - I'll get used to that too.
    Most things seem to work, the expected problems have been covered on this site:
    Clock stuck at 200,000 miles, minor rust bubbles on wing seams, door sills and around windows. Water heater leaver very stiff. Apart from that I'm very happy.
    Almost all my driving is in the country - hardly ever see a traffic light these days, so it should be fun to drive - and I will certainly use the space - kids, musicians and their instruments, including a double-bass and amps and loads of heavy boat jumble. Perfect.
    Where to now Guv? ....

    I bought fom Ascot Cabs, Deptford and they put together a kit to do a full winter service - filters, oil, bulbs, fuses, fan-belts etc.

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  44. You've got a unique taste in vehicles. This ride will definitely draw the attention of other people as you pass by. The design is exemplary. The simplicity of the style makes it an instant classic. Congratulations on having a wonderful car.

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  45. I'm a retired London cab driver.London cabs are very safe as they have a conventional chassis.One of the requirements at the cab testing center is they have to be uncrushable between 2 London Buses.

    In 1967 I drove the old FX3..the '3' meaning 3 doors.Because they were so cold inside the drivers side..I often used to take the 2 heater hoses connected to the passenger department from the engine and stuff them each trouser leg.

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  46. I brought my farway off of ebay just over 3 years go for £1100! It had the Jack Daniels graphics on it and was still on lease to JD!! I use it for advertising my pub! I collect Jack Daniels and now the Cab is looking awesome!! LED lights around the grill front bumper nd number plate! Clear mini reverse lens for front indicators! Mini angl eye headlights( they fit perfect) running side marker lights! White walls( rubber inserts from ebay) chrome hub caps! Blacked out windows! Disco led's in rear! Use it for the Proms! Cash & carry ! Its ben to Holland! Belgium! France and Germany!! Best car ever owned!!

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  47. Just created a page on facebook-
    My London Fairway Taxi
    Join it and add photos and information if you like ?
    Cheers
    Neil

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  48. We have been asked to diagnos/repair intermittant working w/wipers on a 1995 London Taxi Cab that somehow made it accross the pond to the colonies.
    Would there be a wiring diagram available that we can use for our diagnosis?
    Thank you, Jerry, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. jerryexpressauto@shaw.ca

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  49. I must have the only fairway with a cracked head.....

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. I have a Fairway driver N reg which I have had from new. I drove it around London for 11 years when the emissions laws changed. So I had to make a decision. Upgrade the the cab or buy a new tx2.It was about 2,000 pounds for the upgrade, then another 2,000 for the annual overhaul, So the Tx2 won.I took her off the road in 2006, retired.... My then young children didn't want me to sell the fairway, because they grew up with her, and they loved it. Well what could I do but moth ball her, which I did. she stayed on my drive for a few years. in all weathers and was beginning to look a bit sad. Action was needed to be taken and I moved it to a friends warehouse it keep it out of the elements elements. My Fairway has been there for two years, occasionally I would go to the warehouse and start her up. This gave me a sense of nostalgia.This year I decided to get her back on the road. Got her all washed up and took her to my taxi garage, for a service and a good looking over. I needed a new battery, Water pump,steering box hose. radiator, hoses and break caliper, then it was off to the mot station. She passed....Got six months road tax, and insured for the year which was 160.00 pounds limited mileage. Which I was very happy with. Now totally legal, she is a real pleasure to drive. I am now in the process of fixing the tired bits and sorting out rust on the body, apart from that she is lovely, and still in very good nic. Now she is back on my drive for the summer until Autumn, then its back to the warehouse, for safe keeping.

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  53. I went to London, and was determined that I will have a London Cab.
    I own and operate a vintage London Cab and use it as a wedding hire car in New York City.
    It has a limousine style interior and is right hand drive.
    anyone interested in seeing images. please visit my website at http://www.limousine-rental.net

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  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  55. Excellent blog, There has been a court case involving a council refusing to license cabs over a certain age and it was held to be unlawful.
    Thanks.
    For more information please visit here best airport cab London

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hi, I think its a good idea to buy a esteemed cab such as black cab. You should have to research a lot before buying. Also you have to handle it very carefully other than a new cab. thanks for this post.

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  60. Hi I'm Carl just found your wonderful blog,I have put a deposit on a Metrocab fitted with a transit engine and manual conversion I too had problems with insurance after a while I found a excellent company adrain flux who covered me straight away however where can I get parts especially chassis or body panels.

    ReplyDelete
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