CC Capsule: 2012 London Taxi Company TX4 – Far-East Enders, Innit?

Oy, Whotsit wiv the pho’o session? You… you speak English? Blimey, I don’t Adam and Eve it! A bit far from old Blightey, inch’ya Guv? Lemme guess. Took a wrong turn off the M25, and Bob’s your uncle, you’ve gone and ended up in Japan, eh? It’s ‘appened to the best of us; don’t I know it – coupla pints too many, not seeing the signage too well and all your Knowledge ain’t worf tuppence no mowar.

Lahndunner froo and froo, me. From ‘ackney by law and carriage by trade. Well, I was made in Coventry if you wanna get technical about it, but my calling was always the Big Smoke. Should nevvah ‘ave left neivver, coz I ain’t sure to be able to get back, what wiv Brexit and all. Don’t get me started. Serves me right for going sahf of the bloody river, fer once. Can’t even talk to the punters, round ‘ere.

Go on, ‘ave a butcher’s inside, if you fancy. I’ve got a 2.5 litre VM Motori Diesel 4-cyl. under the bonnet, and a Chrysler 5-speed auto box. Suspension’s double-wishbones and coils aht front and a coil-sprung live axle (wiv a Pan’ard rod, innit) in the rear, coz that’s all ya need for the job, innit. And I got the ol’ drum brakes back ‘ere, too, by the by. Not ‘alf old-fashioned, but ya don’t hear me complainin’ or nuffink.

Back ‘ere’s the business end, Guv. Wipe yer plates of meat before entry, if you please – the ‘ole cabin’s been re-upholstered in leavver. Cost a few bob, that, I can tell ya. Not sure why they done it. Looks fancy though, donnit? My exterior finish is the “Elegance” trim, wiv chrome door ‘andles and all. But all this interior work is definitely ritzier than what I came off the production line wiv.

You want to know mowar about the model? Well, I’ve got a pamphlet somewhere… ‘old on… Oh, there it is, ‘ere. ‘Ave a shufti at this, me old China.

The TX4 was made by the London Taxi Company (LTC) from 2007 to 2018. LTC used to be called London Taxi International (LTI), and even before that Carbodies, former manufacturers of the Austin-designed FX4. Carbodies was a major Coventry-based coachbuilder, owned by BSA until the mid-‘70s. Ownership then passed to Manganese Bronze Holdings (MBH), who continued FX4 production until 1997. A new design called TX1 was then introduced, which enabled LTI to continue to operate, though profitability became at issue. In 2007, a JV with Chinese carmaker Geely led to an assembly line being created in China to build TX4s. In late 2012, MBH went into administration and LTC were eventually sold to Geely. In 2017, LTC became the London Electric Vehicle Company and launched a new EV cab, the LEVC TX.

So yeah, I guess a few colleagues are employed in foreign climes, especially the LHD ones made by Geely. Me, I may be a Far-East Ender, but I’m no Chinese. Bri’ish expat, more like. Can’t say I’ve got used to the grub over ‘ere – and they don’t ‘ave propah beer, neivver. But ya take the raff wiv the smoov, dontcha? If life gives ya lemons, find some tonic and a bo’’le of gin, I say.

Retro? Nah, just traditional, innit. It’s just like them Crown Conforts and all. Nobody’s gonna wanna spend extra bangers on the latest stylin’ fad. That’s wasteful, that is. I reckon they fahnd the perfect shape back in the ‘50s wiv Granddad Austin FX4. Can’t really improve on that, just make the windows a bit bigger so the punters can see Big Ben wivvaht getting a sore Gregory. Just look at the Toyota JPN – even that lot had to adopt the same shape, in the end. Just added wing mirrors.

Well, it certainly ‘as been an unexpected pleasure, Guv. Give us yer dog and bone, we’ll go for a pint. Oh, I forgot where I was, for a minute there. Well, we can go for a cuppa. I know, tea’s the wrong colour ‘ere, innit. But at least it’s ‘onest. You know why? Because all proper tea is theft. He he… Anyfink for a bubble, me.