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‘Hey, Taxi!’ Cab Service on a Small Scale

by priceminer (08/01/09).

1964 Chevrolet Impala sedan by Matchbox

1964 Chevrolet Impala sedan by Matchbox

Maxi Taxi (Ford Capri) by Matchbox

Maxi Taxi (Ford Capri) by Matchbox

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL by Matchbox

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL by Matchbox

1987 Ford LTD by Matchbox

1987 Ford LTD by Matchbox

The taxi cab is a common sight on the streets of any city. For small-scale die-cast collectors, the humble cab has been made available over the years in many forms. At any given time, most die-cast manufacturers have at least one cab in their regular line-up. The examples shown here are by no means all the cabs done in 1:64 scale. It is interesting to observe, however, how the vast majority of cabs have been painted in “taxi” yellow color scheme.

The most prolific producer of tiny taxi cabs has been Matchbox. The first cab shown is a 1964 Chevrolet Sedan, #20. Other than the “Taxi” decal on the hood and its color, this could be a regular street car. As far as I know, it was always offered in taxi form. The next Matchbox taxi is a joker in the deck. The “Maxi Taxi” of 1973 is one of the “Rolomatic” cars. When it is rolled across the floor or a table, the blown V8 engine moves up and down. The original casting is of the Ford Capri—certainly not a choice for taxi service—considering it’s a coupe. Oh well, it’s fun and could have made an interesting drag racer for an ex-taxi driver.

1987 Ford LTD ('TAXI') by Matchbox

1987 Ford LTD ('TAXI') by Matchbox

Austin FX4R London Cab by Matchbox

Austin FX4R London Cab by Matchbox

Austin FX4R London Cab by Corgi

Austin FX4R London Cab by Corgi

Mercedes-Benz 300 SE by Zylmez

Mercedes-Benz 300 SE by Zylmez

The Mercedes Benz 450SEL #56 is an appropriate choice for a taxi as many European cabs are Mercedes sedans. This casting was offered in stock and police form as well. A newer taxi from Matchbox is the 1987 Ford LTD. It is shown in regular issue form and as one of the new “Star Car Collection,” representing the “Taxi” TV show that starred Judd Hirsch and Danny DeVito. Of course the LTD was never featured in the show, as al the cabs were Checkers. The last Matchbox is an Austin FX4R cab in London black. Originally offered in 1986, it has recently been re-released with the word ‘Taxi’ on the doors.

Corgi also offered an Austin FX4R London Cab as a Corgi Junior. The opening doors of the Matchbox make it the better casting of the two. A very early Zylmez, #D37, represents a Mercedes-Benz 300 SE in taxi form and may well be a Matchbox copy. The decal on the hood reads “United States Auto Club,” a rather curious choice for a Mercedes taxi. The crude wheels date this as an early offering from Zylmex.

1977 Dodge Coronet Custom by Tomica

1977 Dodge Coronet Custom by Tomica

1982 Chevrolet Malibu by Hot Wheels

1982 Chevrolet Malibu by Hot Wheels

Chevrolet Caprice by Maisto

Chevrolet Caprice by Maisto

Renault 18 by Majorette

Renault 18 by Majorette

Moving on, Tomica did a 1977 Dodge Coronet Custom, #F8 as a taxi. Hot Wheels produced a rather interesting taxi in 1982. The car is a Chevrolet Malibu sedan and was not offered in any other form or color. As a result, this is a rather rare casting and the only example of this particular Chevrolet. Maisto has recently offered a late 1990s Chevrolet Caprice as a taxi and police car. Majorette has offered several taxi models over the years. The Renault 18, #266 is un-marked except for the taxi light n the roof. The ’80s Chevrolet Impala taxi, #240 is also available in police and military form.

A newcomer to die-cast, Golden Wheel, has recently offered four car sets of taxi, police and fire vehicles. These are of excellent quality and include two cars that are seldom represented. The Checker cab should have been done long ago. This example is a delight and looks just right. It does not seem right however in police or fire guise. The early ’50s Chevrolet sedan is also a welcome addition and just as good. The modern Chevrolet Caprice cab is the third and equally well-done member of this set.

Chevrolet Caprice Classic by Majorette

Chevrolet Caprice Classic by Majorette

Chevrolet Caprice by Golden Wheel

Chevrolet Caprice by Golden Wheel

Checker Cab by Golden Wheel

Checker Cab by Golden Wheel

1952 Chevrolet Sedan by Golden Wheel

1952 Chevrolet Sedan by Golden Wheel

—by Doug Breithaupt

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