Morris cab a vintage star at Brooklands

| 24 Jan 2013

A 1929 Morris London cab that is thought to be the sole survivor of its type is expected to make £25-30,000 when it crosses the block at Historics’ 9 March sale.

Nicknamed ‘Uncle Lima’, the machine is based on an export model known as the Empire Oxford. It spent a decade earning fares in the capital, before being converted into a tractor to assist the war effort.

While performing routine duties, the tractor’s hay rake unearthed scrap metal that was immediately used as ballast.

Unfortunately, the ‘ballast’ was actually the remnants of two unexploded mortars and an anti-tank rocket. Something that only became apparent after the war, when the machine was prepared for sale.

Following its lucky escape and restoration, ‘Uncle Lima’ made its first public appearance at the 1975 London to Brighton Commercial Vehicle Run and has been in constant use since.

The car has also appeared in Bill Munroe’s A Century of London Taxis and in a 1933 magazine advert.

The cab is based on a scaled up Morris Oxford featuring a lorry chassis and running gear, with 15.9bhp, a 2.5-litre engine, a four-speed manual gearbox and an overhead worm-drive rear axle.

Thanks to strict regulations from the Public Carriage Office, it includes peculiarities such as the ability to carry horse’s hay and water, no rearview mirror (to ensure passengers’ privacy) and a folding roof to aid escape in the event of an accident.

The taxi comes with a comprehensive history file and a full MoT.

Another rare machine up for grabs at the sale is a 1961 Warwick GT sports car that is estimated to make £16-20,000.

Thought to be one of three surviving road cars, the Warwick is based on a Peerless GT, with a lighter and stiffer spaceframe chassis, one-piece forward-hinging bonnet and minor detail changes.

The car has Triumph TR3 running gear, de Dion tube rear suspension and a glassfibre body.

Numerous specialists have restored 191 AWR’s mechanicals and exterior, while the interior is completely original.

View the full lot list on the Historics’ website.