Austin FX4 Taxi
These days this familiar design of taxi has almost disappeared from the streets of London as the newer styles and electric cabs take over, but they are so long lived that it will be many years before the last one goes. I still find the rear-hinged doors easier to manage than the new ones that go the other way, I may be a bit of a dinosaur but this taxi and the Routemaster bus are not only traditional sights of London, they actually seem to work better than their replacements as they were designed with London, and only London in mind. They both have a small footprint in comparison to their replacements and are designed for the narrow streets of the city in terms of overall size, manoeuvrability and ease and speed of getting on and off. All designed to keep the traffic moving. I think I see the dead hand of EU safety legislation behind the removal of both. Boris Johnson has promised if elected Mayor to try to get back to a bus that matches the city, good luck to him I say. (How long ago did I write that! That was a promise he kept)
There are number of Corgi London Taxis based on the Austin, later Carbodies, FX4. The first was in 1:47 scale and nothing opens but it's the best by a long way, really nicely modelled. Later on it would get Whizzwheels and ultimately be completely remodelled in 1:36 scale for the core range and in about 1:60 scale for the Corgi Juniors Range.
418 Regular Wheels
The FX4 Taxi was released in October 1960, two years after the real car went into production, and produced with regular wheels until 1965. Variations to look for are; turned or spun hubs, with or without a driver, the driver figures differ: one is described as 'younger' the other 'older', and there is also a version in maroon. Values are fairly consistent. with the maroon one being the highest.
11 years after its introduction the taxi is updated with Whizzwheels. The real Austin FX4 remained in production for 39 years. This is a very successful model. It survives the transition to Whizzwheels better than most. It keeps the grey die-cast base and remains otherwise unchanged. Although one does suspect economies were being made on paint. Some of the other WhizzWheels conversions appear to have a blobby and crude finish, this one has a purplish tinge, making one suspect that the pigments were of a poorer quality. I've found two versions of it, one has the printing on the WhizzWheels in silver foil the other in red. Corgi Toys 418; Austin FX4 Taxi with Whizzwheels was released in June 1971 and withdrawn in 1976.
425 1:36 Scale
Here we have the release of a model that had already been in the range for nearly 20 years, originally in 1:47 scale now remade in 1:36 scale. The FX4 Taxi had changed little over the years - the 'ears' flashing indicators had gone from the roof and the little tail fins had been rounded to use the Morris 1100 tail lamp units, but it is still fundamentally the same car although no longer an Austin; they were at this time made by a company called Carbodies. With the new Corgi we get opening rear doors, tip up jump seats and a sliding glass screen between the driver and their passengers. The 425 Taxi was added to the Corgi range in 1978 and remained in the catalogue until 1980.
|Mettoy releases in 1:47 Scale|
|Corgi Toys 418; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, Spun Hubs, No Driver||Corgi Toys 418; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, Spun Hubs With Driver||Corgi Toys 418; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, Silver Whizzwheels||Corgi Toys 418; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, Red Whizzwheels|
|Mettoy release in 1:36 Scale:|
|Corgi Toys 425; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, Opening Doors|
|Corgi 425/1; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, Cream Seats, Radio Taxis. 272-0-272||Corgi C425/1; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, Computer Cab 286-0-286||Corgi C425/1; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, With Christ Into The Future||Corgi C425/3; Austin FX4 Taxi; Black, Purple Seats, Radio Taxis. 272-0-272||Corgi 91815; Austin FX4 Taxi; Computer Cab|
|Corgi 91810; Austin FX4 Taxi; Computer Cab||Corgi 91814; Austin FX4 Taxi; Evening Standard||Corgi 58006; Austin FX4 Taxi; 2006 World Cup; England Bid||Corgi 58001; Austin FX4 Taxi; British Diabetic Association||Corgi 58002; Austin FX4 Taxi; Computer Cab|
|Corgi 58003; Austin FX4 Taxi; The Beatles Newspaper Taxi & Figure||Corgi 58007; Austin FX4 Taxi; The Beatles Newspaper Taxi|