Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shaping of a dog behaviorist

Debbie started a blog. After working with problem dogs for years, she has a good idea of what works and what doesn't. If you have a dog, take a look at Shaping of a dog behaviorist

Interlagos Blue

Interlagos blue. Should this be the bomb's new color? Mack Blue is my current, easy to paint color choice. Or it was until I spotted a new BMW Z4 M coupe in Interlagos Blue. It is strikingly beautiful. Hmmm. Striking? I dragged Debbie to the BMW dealer for a second opinion. Well not actually dragged. She likes to look at new cars. About 1 second after she saw the car she said "Too loud." She's right. A London Taxi isn't a Z4. It won't work.

We walked the lot as there was one other new for 2006 color I wanted to see. Monaco Blue metallic turned out to be a dark blue with brilliant metal flakes. The color has quite a bit more metal then a typical BMW paint. BMW tends to subtle pearl effects. It isn't a loud hot rod paint either. Perfect. I checked and A35 Monaco Blue is available in a brand I'd like to use. I have yet to find a picture that does the color justice. When I do, I'll post it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

But wait, there's more!

Today, I discovered bonus rust. I took off the driver's door and the trim covering the inner sills. As I suspected, the left side 'b' pillar is rotted through. There isn't much holding it in at the bottom. I'm not sure how to repair that yet. The sills (rocker panels in American) don't look good either. The sills are made up of several bolt on parts as well as some welded panels. I'm not sure what is going to happen when I undo the bolts. The frame should keep the body together but a lot of the body is missing.
After I cut away some carpet to get a better look the driver's seat belt came loose. It was held in only by the carpet. Much of the driver's floor is gone. The carpet is keeping everything together. I need to strip out rest of the interior.

I've started looking for body sheet metal. I need an entire body shell, but that isn't possible. Taxis still are assembled by hand. The individual parts are put in a jig and a few workers weld the panels together. If I can get the parts, I should be able to recreate the process. Cut out the rusted part. Clamp a new part in a jig. Weld it in. Easy. All I need are the parts, a factory, the custom made jigs and someone that knows how to weld.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Private Blogs?

People belive the strangest things. I found someone who thinks their Blog is private because they opted out of the Google directory. Read about it here

Regular readers already know my blind spot.

Google just updated the image database for Google Earth. With it you can see the Carbodies factory in Coventry. Just enter Coventry, CV5 8JJ, United Kingdom into the search box. While you're there, fly over to Mann & Overton on Holloway Road in Islington. Just search on N7 8JL.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Rust Never Sleeps

After removing the rear doors, I decided to pull off the rear wings. The wings are fastened to the body shell with bolts along the top and sheet metal screws along the bottom. There are a couple of machine screws at the door frame. I soon realized there were two or three screws I wasn't able to reach from the boot. I puzzled over this for a few minutes and then started taking the interior apart. There had to be an access panel or door. Well I was half wrong. I pulled out the rear seat and the quarter trim panels and there was the wing. There isn't any other metal. The right wing was badly corroded. I had to use my cut off tool in several places. The left wing came off quickly, mostly because I knew what to do this time. I pulled up the carpet from the rear to help cut down on the smell, then stepped back for a minute to take a look at the car.
This is the left rear quarter where the wing attaches. Rust is from bad body work.
This is the right rear below the tail light. The view is from inside the boot looking out.

The rust is worse than my latest pessimistic prediction. This last picture is the left b-pillar viewed from the back of the car. It is rusted through at the back. So is the bottom of the partition. What? The right side of the car is usually worse. There was no collision damage here. So what caused this rust? My first thought was condensate water from the nearby AC unit. Along with broken glass there were some rags stuffed under the thing. It must have dripped all the time. But this was a lot of rust and the car only ran for 2 or 3 years. Water must have... No it didn't. I was looking at the broken glass and had completely forgotten that glass belonged to the driver's door window. Water came in through the window, pooled on the floor and caused serious damage. Now I was really worried. I decided to pull up the floor boards. If the frame was rusted through, the bomb might be a lost cause.
Taxis have wooden floors. They are designed to be removed during a PCO inspection. The frame is still in good condition. So are the areas where the body mounts onto the frame.

There were large piles of rust left on the ground after I cranked the bomb back into the garage.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Taxi enthusiast and journalist Murray Jackson sent me scans of his London Coach information packet. Included was a list of optional and standard equipment. The original owner ticked very few of the option boxes. Surprisingly he picked the most expensive and least common ones.

  • Leather Trim Package. Check.
  • Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel. Check.
  • Cellular Telephone System. Nope.
  • Imported Royal Brierly lead crystal decanter set. If it was ever there, it is long gone now.
  • De Luxe hi fi sound system. Nope. The bomb has the standard rear mounted Sony.
  • Sony color television. Nope.
  • Fixed front passenger seat. Check. This is somewhat rare.
  • Driver/Passenger intercom system. Nope.
  • Partition privacy curtain. Nope.
  • Rear seat folding armrest with cellular phone compartment. Nope.
  • Automatic power antenna. Nope.
  • Anti-theft system. Nope. Someone please steal this thing.
  • Dark tinted glass in passenger compartment. Nope.
  • Moon roof (manual vent type) Nope. This is the more common front moon roof.
  • Electric moon roof with manual visor. Check!
  • Luggage cover with straps for rear deck. Check!
  • Front twin driving lamps. Nope.
  • Front twin fog lamps. Nope.
  • Personal tool kit. I wonder what this was.
  • Spares kit. I wonder what was in this kit.
  • Set of four whitewall tires. No idea.
  • Spare tire and wheel. Nope. The bomb doesn't look like it ever had a spare tire in the boot. There aren't any wear marks in the tire storage area.
  • Tire jack. Nope.
  • Two tone paint. Nope.
  • Special colors/finishes. The bomb is standard Midnight Blue.
  • Parts and service manual set. Nope.

Total price in 1986 with options was $31,505. I bought a brand new car that year for $7,000.

Even without the spare and the jack, a London Taxi's boot won't hold much more than a pair of golf shoes, 3 golf balls, a pair a socks and a tooth pick.

London Coach offered this luggage cover as a solution. The cover snaps onto the back side of the body. A simple aluminum frame supports the cover. The inside of the boot lid has some rubber runners to support luggage. A pair of straps hold bags down.