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    History

     

    Design and launch

    The FX4 London taxi was the successor to the Austin FX3, which was produced between 1948 and 1958. In its day the FX3 was the most widely used taxi in London. Like the FX3, the FX4 was designed by Austin in collaboration with Mann & Overton, the London taxi dealership that commissioned it (and paid for half of its cost) and Carbodies, the coachbuilder that built the body and assembled the cab ready for sale.  It would be the first London taxi to go into production that had four doors, since earlier London taxis had featured a luggage platform, open to the elements, on the pavement/sidewalk side at the front of the cabin, beside the driver's compartment.

    Like the FX3, the FX4 had a separate chassis, but with independent front suspension and dual-circuit hydraulic brakes. The first FX4 was delivered in July 1958 and went on test with York Way Motors. The official launch was later that year at the Commercial Motor Exhibition.

     

    The Austin models

    The first model of FX4 was fitted with a 2178cc Austin diesel engine and a Borg-Warner automatic transmission. In 1961, the manual transmission from the Austin Gipsy was available as an option. From 1962, the Austin 2199cc petrol engine was available. However, almost all FX4 taxis were fitted with a diesel engine and, until the mid-1970s most had a manual transmission.

    In 1971, the 2178cc diesel engine was replaced by a larger, 2520cc version. This engine proved to be better for use with an automatic transmission and gradually fewer cabs with manual gearboxes were sold. The petrol engine was discontinued in 1973.

    In 1973, Carbodies' owner BSA, by now confronting imminent bankruptcy, was bought by Manganese Bronze Holdings, who were happy to continue making the FX4. Detail changes, such as burst-proof door locks and push-button door handles, safety steering and moulded rubber overriders were implemented.

     

    The Carbodies FX4

    In 1982, Carbodies, who had been producing the FX4 for Austin and Mann & Overton, took over the cab's intellectual property rights when BL, Austin's parent company lost interest in it and began to produce it under their own name. The old Austin engine was no longer available. Carbodies selected the Land Rover 2286cc diesel engine in its place and also offered the similar-sized Land Rover petrol engine as an option. The new model was branded the FX4R, with R standing for Rover. 

     

    The LTI FX4

    In 1984 London Taxis International (LTI) was formed after Manganese Bronze Holdings bought the London taxi dealers Mann and Overton. LTI replaced the 2286cc Land Rover diesel engine with the new 2495cc version. This new model was called the FX4S. Black rolled steel bumpers were fitted, but basically it was an updated version of the cab that had been around for almost 30 years. The FX4S was superseded in 1987 by the FX4S-Plus, which had a rear compartment redesigned to allow five passengers.

    In February 1989 the Fairway was introduced. It was fitted with a 2,664 cc Nissan TD27 diesel engine. This made the FX4 a faster and more reliable cab. It had full wheelchair accessibility, in line with a new law that came into force in January 1989. The Fairway was the best version of the FX4 ever built, and enabled LTI to sell to overseas markets, as well as move into provincial UK markets they had not been able to tackle. 

     

    1997 LTI Fairway, from the very last year of production

    As part of a programme to develop a replacement model, AP Lockheed were commissioned to design and develop front disc brakes, and in conjunction, GKN designed a new suspension system to allow disc brakes to be fitted whilst maintaining the mandatory 7.6m turning circle. These modifications were fitted to a new model, the Fairway Driver, which was introduced in February 1992. 

    The Fairway was replaced in late 1997 by the TX1.

     

    1997 TXI 

    The TXI is a London "Black cab" introduced by London Taxis International in 1997 and designed to replace the aging FX4.

    Most are powered by a diesel engine from Nissan, a relationship which began in late FX4s. Unlike modernistic van-shaped cabs, the body was designed to recall several distinctive styling cues of the FX4. Upon completion, it was submitted to cab drivers for their approval and won their acceptance as sufficiently maintaining the spirit of the London cab.

    In 2002 it was replaced by the TXI. 

    London Taxi Panama

    London Taxi in Panama Inc are a small family-owned company with three ex-London taxis; two LTI Fairways from the final years of production of this iconic model and an example of its replacement, the LTI TXI cab from 2000.

    Following refurbishment and the fitment of air-conditioning, we have given these vehicles a new lease of life here in Panama.

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