No introduction’s needed here – the London black cab is a British icon, and one that in all probability will be immortal despite the best efforts of the legislators. It’s a complicated and long story, and who better to tell it than Declan Berridge?

The cars : Austin FL2/FX4


All hail the London taxi! THERE’S NO denying that the FX4 had a tough act to follow. Since its launch in 1948, the FX3 had become an indelible part of the post-war London scene, carrying thousands of people every day and appearing in countless black and white films of the period. Replacing it would not […]

Blog : Carbodies FL2 spotted in the wild

Carbodies FL2 (5)

Andrew Elphick asks when is a black cab not a black cab? Outwardly resembling a regular FX4 taxi (as would be its discreet intention) however the eagle-eyed might spot the radiator grille-mounted badge: ‘CARBODIES’. This is the only indication of being a purchase tax paid private vehicle, and not a ‘hire’ car. This example (the […]

News : Classic Black cab – hail one while you can!

FX4 making a star appearance in the Ipcress Files

Andrew Elphick This year might be you last chance to hail a FX4 – so flag one down while you still can! Transport for London’s new 2012 air quality strategy (launched as an integral part of the Low Emission Zone – LEZ – initiatives), infers all traditional ‘Hackney carriage’ taxis will be subject to a […]

Connections : Carbodies

Operating from their factory at Holyhead Road in Coventry since 1928, the coachbuilders Carbodies built up an enviable reputation within the motor industry both for the quality of their work and their ability to produce cost-effective tooling. Over the years, almost all of the British car manufacturers made use of Carbodies’ expertise in one capacity […]

Austin FX4/FL2 : PCO Conditions of fitness

Since 1850, the Public Carriage Office’s Conditions of Fitness have set the standards to which all purpose-built taxicabs licensed for use in London must conform. Naturally, they have been adapted and updated over the years to reflect the move from horse-drawn Hackney carriages to the first motor cabs, and remain subject to revision in order […]

Austin FX4/FL2 : Rival cabs

Although the FX4 had little in the way of serious competition (at least until 1980s Metrocab came along), it wasn’t for the want of trying. From the 1950s through to the 1970s, a succession of manufacturers tried their hand at producing a cab of their own, but none made a singificant dent in the FX4′s […]

Austin FX4/FL2 : Proposed replacements

The FX4 may have enjoyed an epic production run, but that’s not the way it was planned. Like the FX3 before it, the FX4 was only intended to remain in production for ten years, which coincided neatly with the maximum number of years for which a cab would usually remain in service. Thus, the FX4 […]

Austin FX4/FL2 : The specialist conversions

Being built on a sturdy separate chassis, the FX4 and FL2 – like their predecessors – were well-placed to receive the attention of specialist converters. For a while in the 1960s, they found favour with the publishers of the London Evening Standard as the basis for a newspaper delivery van, with the super-tight turning circle […]

The cars : Austin FL2

Hire and reward! WHEN is a taxi not a taxi? Why, when it’s a hire car, of course. The FX4 was also built as car designed for the “private hire” market (what we might call the minicab trade today). The FL2 differed from the FX4 in two key respects: most obvious was the lack of […]