Percy the London taxi has been with us for almost 6 months now and, as you may have read, he’s already had a few stories to share. With every passing month, there are fewer and fewer Fairway Drivers working the streets of our capital and Percy the ex London taxi caught a few strange looks the other day when he took use and Mimi the rabbit for a walk in Regent’s Park (dog free section), stopping on the way at the Oxfam on St. John’s Wood High Street to drop off some clothes.
Its probably not often you see a pet rabbit in a London taxi and even rarer a rabbit in a jumper, alone, in the passenger seats of a Fairway Driver. There were some very confused faces outside Percy’s windows that day while Nina was in the shop. I even heard one young lady asking her friend whether she thought the rabbit got into the taxi herself?! At that point, I turned round and asked Mimi “Where to madam?”
Percy is also rather jealous of Mimi’s celebrity-attracting exploits, her most famous of which was local St. John’s Wood legend, Sir Paul McCartney, who approached us while in the gardens of St. John’s Wood Church with his (we presumed) grandchildren to ask where we got the rabbit harness and lead from, as they also have pet rabbits and wanted to take them for walks too. (It was from Pets at Home by the way.) We think Percy needs to up his game. He’s only had random passers-by attempting to hail him and, in his retirement, he rather enjoys flicking his indicator and driving straight past them. I’m sure I can feel the Garrett Turbo system deliver a few extra horse power whenever Percy is running away from ‘Punters.’
For those who are interested, the reason Percy has a turbo system is not for drag races on Pall Mall, not that we would condone that (and he wouldn’t beat a 4-year-old on a wooden tricycle anyway). The turbo was installed by some taxi drivers when new emission laws ‘Euro III’ were passed several years ago, which meant Fairway Drivers that still wanted to ply their trade in London had to reduce their carbon emissions and one of the solutions was installing a turbo system that brings the emissions down to the legal limit.
So, a 2.7L turbo diesel engine sounds very impressive and it is – how many engines do you know that have done over 458,000 miles? However, it was certainly not designed for speed. What has helped it last so long is that it only revs to around 4000RPM maximum and probably only operates at around 2500RPM, especially with the overdrive engaged, so there’s far less stress to the engine.
Ex London taxis are also generally the best to own for private use, as the taxis have to pass a more rigorous test set by TfL (Transport for London) than those outside of London and therefore they are more likely to have been maintained at a higher standard. It doesn’t prevent the inherent rust, rattles and leaks that comes with a Fairway mind you.
Percy really is the perfect runaround and with so many helpful members of the LVTA ready to give us any advice and assistance, it really makes it a pleasure to own an ex London taxi.