1908 Unic Taxicab


Early Commercial Vehicles1868-1919

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The horse-drawn cab was invented in 1834 by Aloysius Hansom. When cabs transitioned from horse to motor in around 1904 many hansom bodies were used on motor car chassis. From these beginnings the body developed into the landaulette. The cab roof was extended over the driver and by 1910 a windscreen had been introduced. By 1912 the hansom had disappeared. The motor taxicab was now widely used with a variety of makes in London. Unics, designed and produced by a Frenchman, M Georges Richard were the most popular. In Puteaux, Paris, Richard built a ‘one model car’, appropriately named Unic to capture the taxicab market. The Unic became standard in Paris and London and dominated the Edwardian, one firm in London having 500 in service by 1912. This 1908 example was believed to be the only one of its period to survive. The ‘type fiacre’ chassis cost £300 with the landaulette body extra. The chassis itself was constructed of steel channel sections swept down under the passenger door to provide easier access for ladies. The body was mounted on semi-elliptic springs at the front and three-quarter elliptic springs at the rear. The ash-wood spoked artillery wheels were originally fitted with 810-mm by 90-mm tyres with the spare on a Stepney ring so if a tyre punctured this device could be fixed to the outside of a wheel until a suitable place could be reached to carry out repairs. To the right of the steering column is the hand brake and gear lever which operates through a quadrant. The vehicle was acquired by the National Motor Museum where it is on permanent display at Beaulieu in Hampshire, England.

Additional information

Weight 0023 kg
Dimensions 48 × 35.7 cm