Finding the perfect car
Having researched long and hard about what vehicle would be suitable, affordable, and give back a modicum of individuality, I realised it was not a people carrier I wanted, it was a ‘person’ carrier.
Fed up with trying to squeeze into a car with small doors, low seats and tricky to reach door handles, I realise that a modern car is not designed with my difficulties in mind.
The trouble with people carriers
I'd been looking at the large space offered by a modern people carrier, but was unhappy about having to shell out for the upholstered seating that would not get used.
If I bought a people carrier, my first job would be to remove the vast majority of carefully designed seating. The next would be to find somewhere dry to store all my excess baggage!
I understand why some opt for such a car, but we have no children, only dogs (who are just as happy on a mattress in the back).
It struck us that what we needed was something designed specifically for the minimum of fuss, regardless the amount of ‘baggage’ we may bring along. Something quick to climb in and out of, easy to park, and something which comes with a bit of character. It seems so obvious to now...
The advantages offered by the London cab are amazing. It’s not a sports car, nor is it the most cutting edge machinery, but it has a pedigree that cannot be ignored.
It was a car designed to be sat in for hours at a time, day after day or night after night, so had to be a little bit more than alright. To attract a paying passenger it had to be noticed, comfortable, and highly manoeuvrable.
And the beauty of buying an older vehicle is that it can be knocked about inside and fashioned to be anything. We wanted a darker tinted glass fitted, adding a little privacy to dissuade prying eyes from my ‘stroller’.
Incidentally, I will no longer need to collapse my 'stroller' and remove the wheels to get it - and very little else - into the rear. It could even be wheeled straight up the all inclusive ramp, and strapped behind the driver, out of the way.
As a London cab, the vehicle was subjected to regular tests just to retain its licence. Bullet-proof engines were required to keep these vehicles on the road and earning - not to mention all the inbuilt safety requirements to keep drivers and passengers cocooned within.
It might not be the most desirable chariot for most, but to me it’s a no brainer.
So it’s a gentle retirement to the countryside for a classic, and iconic, work-horse. It’s probably seen every inch of London’s streets, and had more than a few famous faces bouncing along in the back.
I suppose “You’ll never guess who we’ve had in the back of our cab...” - but we can always imagine!
Oh, and do you think my wife will ever tire of pulling in to let me out, dropping the passenger window, leaning over and saying: “That’ll be a Tony Benn, Gov’ner...”. Or for those shorter trips, “Just a Lady Godiva this time Sir.”
I can’t wait!