There are worried mutterings coming from cab-land tonight. A pretender to the black cab throne has emerged – a new vehicle, with a new shape. Mercedes is going for black with the development of a specially adapted Vito Taxi, and their proposals are not enjoying a smooth ride.
Now let it straight away be known that this Londonista is a die-hard traditionalist, and a complete dumb broad when it comes to car stuff. The sort that, when asked ‘what sort of car was it?’ will invariably reply ‘a blue one’, or ‘a posh looking one’. But it has to be said that the new Mercedes looks quite sexy.
The traditional black cabs are of course cuddly, curvaceous and comforting in their familiarity. That reassuring purr and the prospect of a roomy haven after a hard day’s shopping are part of the London experience. They are quite simply one of London’s favourite icons, and some forums are worried that changing them will lead to recognisability issues and thus security connotations. But the greatest icons have always been the ones that can reinvent themselves. The sleek lines of a black Vito teamed with the yellow taxi sign wethinks would look just fine patrolling our streets. And a proper launch and corresponding publicity campaign should leave the public in no doubt as to the makeover. They seem affordable, are potentially greener, and they seat 6 instead of 5.
In reality our cherished Hackney Carriages won’t be going anywhere in the near future – but we reckon the Merc deserves a look in.
Ah now the picture... We know it's not black, but it's about the best we could find. From usedcarspecialist's flickr stream under the Creative Commons Licence.