Will Overton, director of the car dealership Mann & Overton, had been selling Unic taxicabs in London since 1906. In 1924 their business with its French-made Unics had provided almost 80% of the new taxicabs bought in London. In 1925, with effect from 1 May 1926, McKenna duties were imposed on commercial vehicles to protect UK manufacturers from imports and in spite of Unic's local assembly operation in Cricklewood-which opened in 1928-it was no longer possible to supply London with French Unic taxicabs at an acceptable price. So William Overton approached Herbert Austin about modifying the Heavy Twelve-Four hire car chassis so that it would comply with the London Conditions of Fitness. It had been announced in 1927 that those regulations would be lightened with effect in 1928. In view of the easing of the Police regulations and the enormous gap in the market left by imported vehicles, Austin duly modified their hire car chassis to suit, and Mann & Overton arranged for their catalogued three standard bodies made in Greater London by: Strachan or Vincent or—for £5 more by Jones.
The Austin London Taxicab used a modified Austin Heavy Twelve-Four chassis clothed with new bodies designed by London's largest taxicab retailer and dealer Mann & Overton, and made for Mann & Overton by London coachbuilders. From 1930 to 1934 this first Austin London taxicab was colloquially known as the High Lot or Upright Grand. On a new chassis and thereby much lowered in its appearance, it was revised in 1934 and renamed by Austin the Low Loading taxi. Previously Austin had only provided hire car chassis not troubling to make major amendments to that chassis to comply with Metropolitan Police regulations for London taxicabs.
Because the overall height of the 1930 version was much greater than the competition it received the nickname High Lot or Upright Grand. This design gave top hat wearing customers plenty of room. It was soon outselling the Beardmore and Morris-Commercial versions.
This well aged London Taxi has really great patina and under the dust would clean up pretty well in the opinion of the author. The body finish has great crazing which is impossible to duplicate. This is a High Lot Landalette version. Everything pictured with the Cab is included and even the hire meter is functional.