I am someone obsessed by things with wheels, so naturally taxis as one of the most abundant things on the roads have always fascinated me. Recently though the humble taxi has taken on a new meaning for me, they’ve shown me how great internal combustion can be, they do so far more than a statistic shattering Veyron ever could.
What am I rabbiting on about you ask, I’m talking about mega millage, reliability, almost non-stop usage and fundamentally engines getting people where they need to be swiftly and in many parts of the world, cheaply. Taxi’s as you no doubt know take lots of shapes and sizes. There’s the ubiquitous Black Cab, the yellow New York cab, the Tuk Tuk, India’s Hindustan Ambassador and the various Mercedes favoured by cabbies across Europe to name but a tiny handful. Each one from the tiny Tuk to the New York Crown Vic are propelled by little explosions pushing pistons up and down day after day.
Whereas the majority of privately owned cars are traded in or worse scraped once the millage gets a bit too high taxis just keep on rolling. The internet is awash with stories of these cars incredible feats of endurance, with one Greek Mercedes in particular being donated back to Merc themselves once it reached over 2 million miles. Another speaks of a Mondeo diesel clocking up a million miles. And when you get in most well used taxi’s you realise they are well past the 2 hundred thousand mile mark and still going strong.
Let’s face facts, large swathes of people in the world are turning against internal combustion but what’s the alternative for getting around? Taxis can’t realistically be electric; they would only take us half the distance and need the rest of the day to charge. Taxis show how great the engine is every single day in every single country, supercars don’t do that, they just give you a glimpse on the rare occasion they zip by.
Not only do taxis represent the greatness of the engine, but on a personal level they also provide a unique motoring experience. Often they are driven with disregard for any number of Highway Code regulations but despite this they feel safe, you trust that it will get you there (with the exception of African Matatu’s though, they are the opposite of safe, 30 people in a Toyota Hi-Ace does not work, fact). Anyway, getting in a Taxi is like an occasion and if your sad like me you want to try and get in the oldest, newest or strangest one you can each time you flag one down just to see how each vehicle differs. A prime example from my very own, deeply cool, childhood was making sure that in 1997 my mum flagged down a brand new LTI TX1, you know the ones, the modern taxi that looked retro, the new Black Cab. They were a revelation in design and packaging and don’t forget that they’re retro body over modern underpinnings predated BMW’s retro inspired New Mini by 4 years!
Anyway, that ends my little rant on why taxis are better than Veyron’s. And generally are just awesome vehicles. Every taxi stand is testament to engineering brilliance and internal combustions resilience. Long live air and fuel exploding in a small cylinder as a means of propulsion.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopherjones/6945948705/”>stopherjones</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/quikelopez/2869895463/”>quikelopez</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/gibospics/8630120103/”>Andrew Gibson.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>