A few days ago I was contacted by a retired London cabbie to tell me to his obvious delight that his 54-year-old cab he had bought new was still alive and kicking. The vehicle had somehow found its way across the Atlantic to a car dealer in Cape Cod rejoicing in the name ‘The Cape Crusader’ who had recently had the cab shipped half way round the world to his customer in Australia. Old cabs never die; they just turn off their meters.
Then at the weekend one of London’s first cabs was auctioned for a staggering £22,000. The vehicle which featured last week on the Radio Taxis website was a 1910 Panhard Levassor, one of only 674 cabs sent to England from France to become the nucleus for London’s early motorised taxi service, which slowly replaced the horse drawn Hansom carriage.
The vehicle was believed to have worked as a London cab until 1921 when it was used for commercial transport, resurfacing again appearing in the 1955 movie ‘The Man who loved Redheads’ staring Moira Shearer.
It was later bought by a founding member of Historic Commercial Vehicle Club who among its members included Lord Montague of Beauleu.
The vehicle had been left in a barn for 15 years before the current owners contacted Wotton Auction Rooms in Gloucester at which time regular contributor to the BBC Antiques Roadshow Philip Taubenheim became involved.
The winning bidder intends to restore this very rare example of an early cab which still has its meter and many original features to its former glory.