Austin FX3

1958 Austin FX3 Taxi outside Oxford Inn, 504 South Morris Street, Oxford, Maryland

1958 Austin FX3 Taxi outside Oxford Inn, 504 South Morris Street, Oxford, Maryland

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

Austin FX3

The Austin FX3 is a London black taxicab sold in the UK by the Austin Motor Company between 1948 and 1958. The vehicle had what at the time was the traditional 3-door body. Instead of the front passenger seat and door found on a normal saloon car there was an open luggage platform.

The vehicle was designed to comply with the specific rules for London taxicabs known as the Conditions of Fitness. These rules originally governed London’s horse-drawn cabs and have been in existence since the 17th century. There was a major update introduced in May 1906 written specifically for motor cars.

Although there have been some further revisions including such additions as a ramp for wheelchair access, many of the current requirements are the same today as they were in 1906. These are what make London taxis unique. The original specifications required a turning circle of 25ft, a high internal headroom and separate passenger and driver compartments. The turning circle requirement has been modified to now read “…the ability to turn through 180° on either lock between two walls 8.535 m (28 ft) apart.” This has allowed the modern London taxicab to be larger than its predecessor, the Austin FX3 seen here, whilst minimizing the impact of the many taxis operating in the city on other road users.

The Austin FX3 was a very successful design. A total of 12,435 of the FX3 and the FL1, a hire car version with four doors and a front bench seat, were built before the model was superseded by the FX4, which is maybe the most famous design for a London taxi. 7,267 of the FX3 were licensed in London alone with the others finding work in many of the other major cities in the UK.

1958 Austin FX3 Taxi outside Oxford Inn, 504 South Morris Street, Oxford, Maryland

1958 Austin FX3 Taxi outside Oxford Inn, 504 South Morris Street, Oxford, Maryland

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

The FX3 continued to operate in London until 1968. The model, though, continued operating outside London for many years thereafter. The model is a sought after collectors item in the UK. Some have also been shipped to the US and to continental Europe by collectors, hobbyists and for use as advertisement icons. This particular FX3, from the last year’s production, proves the point. It is based out of the Oxford Inn, a historic Bed & Breakfast in Oxford on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Summary
Austin FX3
Article Name
Austin FX3
Description
The Austin FX3 is a London black taxicab sold in the UK by the Austin Motor Company between 1948 and 1958. 12,435 were built proving its successful design.
Author
Publisher Name
Mark Summerfield
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