Through the years the car we have come to know as Victoria had sadly been rather neglected, and a thorough overhaul and restoration was in order.
We started by stripping her down to the chassis and replacing rusted areas. We sourced original matching materials where possible, travelling the length and breadth of the UK in the process. A highlight was finding a perfect authentic replacement taxi meter from Blackpool, sourced via the internet.
At this time, the car was repainted from yellow and black to her original, more regal, Oxford Blue paintwork. She was also fully upholstered in a burgundy leather cloth.
Of course, like all cars of this age, she requires regular servicing and attention to keep her in mint condition so that she is always ready for special occasion chauffeuring.
A classic Austin Heavy 12/4 LL Taxi with Jones Fishtail Body
Miles stumbled upon this rare first car with his mate, Richard (both 17 at the time and looking for a car to impress their girlfriends) and they agreed a price to the owner of £25, split equally between the two them at £12-10 shillings each . Richard then decided Victoria was not for him and Miles bought out his share and began the labour of love that was to become the 55 plus years ownership of the car. He taught his wife of 47 years, Pam to drive in this car and the car made many memorable journeys, including to John O'Groats and Lands End on two of the couple's early holidays.
The car was first registered as part of a fleet of London taxis in December 1936, the month King Edward VIII became engulfed in the Mrs Simpson scandal and abdicated. She predates the Black London taxicab. The car was briefly commandeered during the second world war as an auxiliary fire service vehicle (complete with ladders and water pump). She never returned to life as a taxi after that and she was sold to the son of the owner, Hugh a schoolteacher and later vicar in 1955. His family named the car - Victoria - and Hugh taught his wife to drive in her. When he followed his calling and became a curate, the parish he worked for did not approve of Victoria and gave him some money to upgrade to something more modern. The car then lay unsold for a few months in a garage, before being repainted a bright yellow in order to attract a new owner.