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Austin FX4 Photo Gallery
Austin FX4 Austin FX4 Austin FX4 Austin FX4

Austin FX4 Description
Manufacturer : Austin, Carbodies, LTI       Year : 1958

The FX4 is the classic Black Cab. While the majority are black, there is in fact no requirement for them, or indeed any other make of London taxi to be black. Over the years, the FX4 has been sold under a number of different makers' names.

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 and 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. The design team included Albert Moore from Austin's engineering division, Jack Hellberg from Carbodies and David Southwell of Mann and Overton. The original design was by Austin's Eric Bailey and it was engineered for production by Carbodies' Jake Donaldson. It would be the first London taxi to go into production that had four doors.

Like the FX3, the FX4 had a separate chassis, but with independent front suspension and dual-circuit hydraulic brakes. The first FX4, registration number VLW 431, 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 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 1969, the cab was altered, to offer a new version in place of the abandoned replacement model and to amend some of the shortcomings of the original. The original Austins were provided with small rear stop and taillights and roof-mounted turn indicators, commonly known as "bunny ears". On the revised model, the rear wings were modified to accept the taillights and turn indicators from the MkII Austin 1100 / 1300. Front indicators were also provided below the headlights and repeater indicators fitted to the front wings. The "bunny ears" were abandoned. The interior was also changed, with black vinyl seats and an altered partition to give the driver more legroom.

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 collapsed and was bought by Manganese Bronze Holdings, who were happy to continue making the FX4. However, only detail changes, such as burst-proof door locks and push-button door handles, safety steering and moulded rubber overriders (designed because the original tooling for the chrome overriders had worn out) were carried out.

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