Lot 241 - 1935 12851 Taxi ‘Low Loader’
|Result||Sold - £28,000|
The 12/4 Austin Taxi was the mainstay of the taxi fleet in
London during the 1930s. Initially nicknamed the High Lot due to
its height, it became a great success outselling its rivals the
Beardmore and Morris Commercial by some margin. The revised LL (Low
Loader) model was introduced in 1934 and became the most widely
produced taxi of the decade.
We are proud to present a 1935 Austin Taxi Low Loader with a somewhat interesting history. This taxi was purchased by Anouska Hempel from a taxi driver in the early 1970s and is still in the same ownership today. It was employed during those early years as a courtesy car at the Blakes Hotel, a boutique hotel in Knightsbridge, London. Whilst at work at Blakes, the taxi carried many famous actors and singers including Ali MacGraw, Robert Redford, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan and Jane Russell. The vendor informs us that a Blakes' client could have use of it all day to take them anywhere around and within London. Blakes was created by Anouska Hempel (now Lady Weinberg), the television and film actress turned hotelier and interior designer who appeared in the James Bond film (amongst many films) 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'.
For the past 10 to 12 years, the taxi has been laid up in a coach house on Lady Weinberg's estate in Wiltshire and is therefore now offered for sale requiring re-commissioning. Although not used for some time, on inspection, it appears to be in remarkably good condition. This taxi sports its sliding privacy window, Bell Punch (London Model) taximeter, fare table, drop down seats, roof luggage rack, electric windscreen wipers, Lucas 'King of the Road' lamps and front roof mounted taxi lamp displaying 'Blakes' rather than Taxi. This Austin has also benefited from an ignition conversion from magneto to coil; a common modification that results in more reliable starting and running. The interior is in exceptional condition with excellent seat coverings, aluminium low loader area for the luggage and landaulet hood that is in good order and fully functional.
The coachwork is presented in a very dark green; apparently, the colour, upon purchase, was blue/black but this was changed to reflect the colours of Blakes Hotel. The condition is remarkable with only some slight paint flaking on the wooden finishers - a detailed inspection is recommended to appreciate it, especially the detail of the woven silk passenger hand hold and the aluminium work adjacent to the driver's position.
It is believed that this Austin Taxi will require only light re-commissioning and, offered with no reserve this, represents an ideal opportunity to acquire not only a pre war Austin which was the mainstay of the taxi fleet during the 1930s, but one that holds a fascinating history also.
**Please note: Due to a house move, the vendor informs us that the V5 has been misplaced; however, a replacement has been requested from the DVLA and will be forwarded to the new owner on receipt.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.