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See Homepage. This page: Can anyone identify the people shown in this photo with their Austin 12/4 taxi cab c1957?
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1. Austin 12/4 LL Taxi.

Austin Taxi
Several old photos featuring classic London taxis now feature on this page. Firstly, Leo in the Netherlands kindly sent this photograph of a 1930s Austin over, and agreed to it being published here. He took it in 1957, and was asking whether the car is still around, and if the people in this photograph could be traced? I've looked on the DVLA and RAC sites but can find no record of an Austin registered as BYT 645. It may have been scrapped, or broken for parts. However there is a chance that it has survived, and could have been re-registered, or perhaps sat in a garage for so long that it dropped off the DVLA's records. The group with the Austin were photographed in Germany, at the Karlsruhe camping area. Hopefully someone will land on this page and recognise the car, or the people in the photo. Leo would like to send a copy of this photo to any of the people in this photograph, if they can be found.


Update #1. The day after first publishing this page, Herb over in Australia dropped me a line. He remembers a vehicle very similar to this taking part in an epic car journey: "Regarding the above, I seem to remember a similar pre-war Austin Taxi with four students driving from the UK across the Sahara to South Africa. I was then living in Johannesburg and remember there was an article in The Star newspaper. There was also a detailed article over a few months in Vintage & Veteran Magazine. That Austin was registered GJ 5936, so not the car shown above sadly. Details written on the side of the roofrack on GJ 5936 stated: 'Vasta Expedition 1963. Bristol-Cape Town.'"
Thanks for getting in touch Herb, I wonder if anyone remembers this expedition?
Update #2. Jim from the Vintage Austin Register contacted me a little while ago, with more information on the car that Herb remembers reading about: "The vehicle in question was a 1930 Austin 16/6 'Burnham' saloon. and a couple of years ago I decided to try and find out what had happened to it since that epic journey. The car did in fact reach South Africa, and was then driven back to Bristol by a group of S.A. students. The car, then over 30 years old performed very well with only a few minor problems. Christened 'Mugwump' by the Bristol students, the car and its original owner/driver returned to South Africa and now live happily in Johannasburg, though the Austin is now owned and used by a friend of the original owner. I was able to gain sufficient information from both parties to put an article together for the Vintage Austin Magazine."
Austin taxi brochure
There is an interesting write-up about the pre-war Austin 12 taxis on this Austin Memories site.

Austin Low Loader Taxi.

The Austin is a very interesting machine. At first glance it looks like a standard 12/4 saloon. However, a closer look reveals some interesting differences to the 12/4 car. The roof rack for one is quite distinctive, and just visible is a 'pram iron' towards the rear of the vehicle, suggesting a folding rear roof (or 'landaulette') was fitted. Alfanut, on the site forum, did a bit of digging around and identified this Austin as an early 1930s Austin 12/4 Low Loader (LL) taxi cab. This model was launched in 1934, continuing on the success of the earlier, 'high lot' (due to its height) 12/4-based taxis.

Do any of these Low Loader taxis survive now? does anyone recognise this particular example, or the lads who were on holiday in it? if you do, please get in touch and I'll forward your information on to Leo, thanks.

2. A preserved Austin 12/4 taxi.

Shortly after this page went live, Richard in the USA dropped me a line, and some photos, showing the rare Austin taxi that he owns. I think this is a standard height taxi, rather than a low-loader, so makes for an interesting comparison with the London taxi shown above. Records show that this taxi, BLD 451, was registered in November 1934. He says:
"I read an article online about the 1934 Austin low loader taxi. You were interested in knowing about other taxis still around. I have a 1934 example, still in complete condition. It has had very little restoration due to it's good condition. There is no body rust or body filler. It has been stored for many years. The convertible top and carpet material has been replaced to original, but no new paint. The car is original. I have all the Austin's papers from the original taxi company's maintenance records, through to the ship it was transported on to USA .... The care that went into the design and building can be appreciated when you see it in person .... The beautiful brass and wood trim. I love looking over the pride in workmanship our forefathers had. The patience to do what they did."
A preserved Austin taxi
Old London cab now in America
Thanks for sending this information over!!

3. An Austin Taxi on the streets of London.

Some time ago I bought an assortment of tiny photographs, all with a motoring theme. Two of them show Austin Taxis similar to those shown above, driving in what looks like '30s London. The registration of the Austin Taxi in the first photograph is ALB 435, a London number. London taxi registration numbers ALB 421 - ALB 470 were issued in June 1933. Because the photo is so small, the detail when scanned at high resolution isn't brilliant, but I thought it would be worth including it on this page anyway.
London Taxi in the 1930s
The second of the tiny photos, shows an overhead view of a London street with a number of vehicles visible. To the right are two more Austin taxis, parked at the kerbside waiting for their next passengers. A number of cars and vans from the 1930s can be made out, as can a lone horse-drawn cart parked in the distance. Does anyone recognise either of these locations?
A typical London street scene in the 1930s

4. London taxis and buses outside the London Pavilion.

Thanks to Dave in the US who sent over this next great slide, found in an estate sale and believed to have been taken circa 1949. The more I look at this photograph, the more I see. Most obvious are three London taxis zooming by, and for a change it is nice to see them in colour finally! Two are finished in dark blue and black (one is registered BLN 531), the lefthand taxi driver opting for maroon on his cab. Further taxis are visible heading past the Pavilion towards, I believe, Piccadilly Circus where the photographer was stood next to.
Taxis in post-war London
The time was 12.50pm (note the clock above the jewellers shop on the left of this shot), and judging by all the long overcoats, I'm guessing either autumn or winter time. Alongside the jewellers is a newsagent or tobacconist. Signs for 'Players Please' and also Bewlay pipes are visible. Further up is a circular sign for a dispensing chemist, and the Monico Grill. Further along still is a hefty advertising sign for Craven A, a 'rich fine tobacco' we're advised. Just visible on the left at the kerbside is an old-style London Bus stop sign, atop a black and white post. Despite Goering's best efforts, the buildings in this photo must look pretty much as they had done prior to the war, and still remain like this today although the Pavilion no longer has the iron advertising framework attached to its frontage. Thanks to Dave for emailing this over.

5. Austin 12/4 Taxi registration BLU 165.

Bruce kindly sent these Austin photos over in 2008, they show a 12/4 Taxi that belonged to Wally Nuttall, a friend of his. The photo was taken in the 1950s, with Bruce holding the spare wheel and tyre. BLU, as with the other taxis on this page, was London-registered. The Austin was photographed having it's wheel changed in the forecourt of an Esso garage - note the artillery wheel being fitted, and solid wheels fitted to the vehicle itself. The taxi had been nicknamed 'Diane'. Another venerable Austin can just be seen in this photo - a 2 door A30 saloon.
A classic Austin 12/4 Taxi cab
The second of Bruce's photos shows the rear of the car. Also of interest, the small garage building in the background, with at least two Shell X-100 oil cabinets standing against the wall. An Avery Hardoll petrol pump is also in view. Thanks for the pics!
Rear view of the pre-war taxi
Return to Old Vehicle Photos Page 6. An example of later, 1939, Austin 12/4 Landaulette Taxicab can be found on this page.
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