I recently acquired a Paris Taxi, the only known genuine example of a Paris Taxi in the UK, from Maurice Bailey. There are said to be a couple of similarly excellent examples elsewhere in the world – but no one knows where. Some readers will know Maurice from him having worked on the upholstery of their Tractions. Others will know him for the extraordinary quality of of his several concours restorations of RWD Citroens.
Maurice is now, and sadly, in very poor health and wanted his Taxi to go to a good home. Below is a Dropbox link to the Taxi.
Citroen spotting a need for decent motorised Taxis in Paris and at the same time , an opportunity to advertise his motor cars decided to launch his own Taxi service…… “The Societe des Taxi Citroen” . It was to be a premier service and a great success it was.
The reader should try to imagine the state of the motor car industry as it was in 1922-26. It was early days, there were still thousands of horse drawn cabs on the streets of Paris. Here, the engineers have “let go” the horses and put an engine in their place. Unsurprisingly their efforts were focused on the engine/transmission aspects of the vehicle . Thus the driver remained exposed to the elements, and the rear part of the taxi is exactly the same as its horse drawn equivalent.
May I draw your attention to a few choice details…..
The interior of these Taxis was always meant to be luxurious. All of the interior has been made by Maurice – on his industrial sewing machine – in the finest materials possible. “Bridge of Weir” leather for seats and door cards, West of England cloth for the headlining, best German Mohair for the roof etc etc.
The oil fired opera lamps were fitted only to luxury motor cars of the period. With the unlit streets, as folks emerged into the gloom from the opera or theatre, the colour coded lamps allowed people to find their car or cab.
The drop down rear roof was more than just getting fresh air. To be seen to be in a cab was a very important aspect of Society in those days. It said that you had made it, you had money ….