The roots of London Taxis’ business go back to 1919 when Carbodies Ltd was established as a coach building operation, under the guidance of Robert 'Bobby' Jones, on a small site in Old Church Road, Coventry.
It was not long before the expanding firm moved to new premises in West Orchard Street, followed by a further relocation to the present Holyhead Road factory in the mid 1920s. Carbodies, as the name implies, soon made a name for itself in the automotive industry for the fine quality of “coach building” it could offer prestigious motor companies. The company’s work and reputation very soon became synonymous with famous names like Humber, Singer, Daimler, Jaguar, Ford and Rolls Royce.
In the late 1940s, Carbodies diversified its resources into building taxis. Contracts were negotiated between Carbodies, Mann & Overton and Austin Limited to produce a number of prototype vehicles. So successful were these initial designs that the first FX3 taxi model, carrying the Austin badge, was rolled off the production lines in 1948.
During the next ten years, more than 7,000 taxis were produced, most of which were sold to the London market, with only a few hundred used in the provinces. In order to offset the low production run of the FX3, Carbodies diversified its resources and began building bodies for the Commercial van alongside its taxi shells.
By 1953, Carbodies, in conjunction with BSA, was making the body for the Daimler Majestic. Throughout the decade, the company gained experience of building convertible and estate body shells. In fact, Carbodies developed, tooled and produced body shells for every Ford convertible until 1964.
In 1958 the FX4 taxi was launched and but it was not until 1971 that Carbodies took over the making the chassis from Austin, then known as British Leyland. In 1973 BSA collapsed and Carbodies was taken over by Manganese Bronze Holdings PLC who has been the holding company up to the present day. In 1982 Carbodies took over the intellectual rights to the FX4 and became the complete manufacturer.
When in 1984 Carbodies bought the taxi dealers Mann & Overton, the company London Taxis International was formed in which there were now three offshoots:
LTI Carbodies, LTI Mann & Overton and Mann & Overton Finance.
In 1989 the Fairway taxi was launched and the Austin engine was replaced with a Nissan 2.7 Diesel engine. Over the next eight years variants of the Fairway such as the Fairway Driver in 1992, the Fairway Driver-Plus in 1993 and Fairway 95 were introduced.
However in 1997 the name Carbodies was dropped and the taxi manufacturing side became known as London Taxis International with two offshoots: Mann & Overton and LTI Finance.
Also in 1997 the FX4 ceased production and was replaced by the TX1 which, although it used the same Nissan engine, had a new body shape design to take the taxi into the new millennium. In January 2002, the TXII was launched which retained the TX1 body shape and interior but the engine was changed to a Ford Duratorque 2.4 Turbo Diesel engine to meet the newly imposed Euro 3 standards.
2003 saw the launch of the company name LTI Vehicles to help identify the London Taxi brand.
2010 saw the launch of the present global company name The London Taxi Company.
Since 1958, The London Taxi Company (and its predecessor companies) has manufactured more than 130,000 vehicles and continue to lead with innovation, experience and a consistency to realise a mission statement of “being the customers lifelong first choice supplier for taxi products and services.”