Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Let the Good Times Roll

My tyres arrived at 2PM Friday. The rain started at 5:30PM. Severe thunderstorms were enough to keep me and the bomb inside. By mid-morning Saturday the storms had settled down to a steady rain. I was not about to be put off by a little water. I put the right side of the bomb on one of HF dollies and dragged the bomb out. The left wheel lug nuts were close to seized. A lot of WD-40 and jumping on the end of my flex handle got them free. I was of course thoroughly soaked by the time I got both wheels into the trunk of my BMW.

I didn't want to risk damaging my hard won Michelin taxi tyres on the HF manual tire changer. I drove to a nearby tire Kaufman Tire store. That's where I found out that Kaufman Tire will not mount tires purchased elsewhere. A trunk full of impossible to obtain taxi tyres didn't change matters. Slipping one of the mechanics $30 to do the job on the side did.

The wheels went on with little drama and lots of WD-40. I got soaked again. The winch pulled my newly mobile taxi into the garage easily. It took maybe 10 minutes. The rain stopped as soon as the rear bumper cleared the garage door.

The tyres have TAXI molded into the side wall. I believe that is a PCO requirement. Leave a comment if I'm wrong.

Sunday I pushed the bomb out to work on it. Not even pushed really. The garage floor has a slight slope and the car rolled most of the way out.

I started taking the doors apart. The right passenger door is rusted at the bottom. I had hoped that I could save the inner part of the door and just replace the skin. Power windows were a rare factory option. I'll figure out what I'm going to do with them when the replacement doors arrive.

A recent post in the London Taxi Cabs group listed the number of FX4R vehicles still registered for on-road in the UK. The numbers shocked me. 1982 - 8, 1983 - 5, 1984 - 11, 1985 - 17. Another 60 are listed as SORN. Most or all of those 60 will never drive on the road again. Only 19 of the 2151 FX4S taxis from 1986 are still licensed for use on the road.

Although my Sterling is 1986 MY, the chassis number (616xx) puts it near the end of 1985 FX4R production. I know of 3 London Coach cars. I've seen 2 on eBay. Both ran. Then there is mine. A Sterling is in the LVTA roster but I think it is one of the two cars I saw on eBay. And there are the 17 cabs in the UK that run. Of the all the units Carbodies made in the last year of FX4R production only 19 are currently road worthy. I will make it 20. The rest of you: Keep after the rust!

EDIT: 2 London Coach owners have posted comments. There are at least 5 or 6 London Coach cabs still around, including mine.


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