Three Doors and a Luggage Platform; A Piece of London Transport History
This 1955 Austin FX3 is part of the fleet of taxicabs sold in the United Kingdom by Austin Motor Company from 1948 to 1958. Though built to comply with the Metropolitan Police Conditions of Fitness for London taxicabs, the FX3 also was used in other towns and cities in the UK. A number of FX3s were also exported to Madrid.
The FX3 was commissioned from Austin by taxi dealers Mann and Overton and built by Carbodies of Coventry on a chassis supplied by Austin. The FX3 had a three-door body and an open luggage platform in place of a front passenger seat. As stipulated by the Conditions of Fitness, the FX3 had a tight turning circle of 25 feet (7.6 m) in diameter.
Not Just Taxis
Founded in 1905 by Herbert Austin, the Austin Motor Company Limited was a British automobile maker. In addition to taxicabs, the company produced sports cars, family cars, ambulances, limousines, and other types of vehicles.
The FX’s first prototype had a 1.8-litre sidevalve engine that proved insufficient. The second prototype, the FX2, had a 1.8-litre petrol engine. This was replaced by the FX3, which had a 2.2-litre overhead valve (OHV) petrol engine. Petrol engines were too expensive to operate, and Austin later developed its own diesel engine.
The FL1, a hire car (rental) version of the FX3, was also produced. It came with four full doors, a bench front seat, column gear-change, and an umbrella-type handbrake handle. A combined total of 12,435 FX3 and FL1 models were produced. The FX3 was replaced by the Austin FX4 in 1958.
1955 Austin FX3 Specs:
- 132.7- to 134.2 cubic inch (2.2 litre) overhead valve engine
- 50 to 68 hp
- Four-speed manual transmission
- 110.6-inch (2,810-millimeter) wheelbase