THIS WEEK IN 1974: That’s no taxi, that’s the Lord Mayor

A typical black London taxi cab
A typical black London taxi cab
064968_0115_UNICORN_ROAD_LIGHTS (CO) 21/11/06

The traffic lights junction at Unicorn Road, Landport, Portsmouth, looking north towards Unicorn Gate, at the juction with Alfred Road and Market Way. The lights give a long wait at red, then only 15-seconds at green. Vehicles and motorists often have to wait two changes, causing anger and delays for drivers.

PICTURE: MICHAEL SCADDAN (064968-0115) MAYOAK0003370765

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Portsmouth’s Lord Mayor was soon to be driving around in a new car, but in the interest of economy, the vehicle would be the same as a London taxi.

This decision was made after the city’s finance committee cut its allocation for a replacement from the formerly-used Vanden Plas BK1 from £12,000 to £3,500.

The city engineer, NM Jeffery, said that in the middle-price range, his department had looked at several saloons, and the one which seemed most appropriate for room and comfort was an Austin hire car.

Commonly used as a London taxi, members felt that this model showed great economy on behalf of ratepayers if they opted for such a vehicle.

Following discussions, the committee unanimously settled on this British car.