The FX4 is the generic name for London Black Cabs built between about 1958 and 1989, by a variety of manufacturers – first came the Austin FX4, then the Carbodies FX4 (generally considered to be trouble) and finally the LTI FX4 – which was superseded by the LTI Fairway and the LTI Fairway Driver which was built up until 1997.
Although purists would disagree and point to the bunny ears (turn signals high on the body between the front and rear doors) of my 1967 Austin FX4, I would say that the FX4 and the Fairway look to most people (London tourists, people outside the UK) look like the same kind of car. Dashing, noble, slightly old fashioned.
So why was the Fairway given such popular approval? For me, it’s the engine – the Nissan TD27 – the 2.7L diesel engine that just keeps on chugging for a half million miles or more. I mean, it’s like a tractor – seriously de-tuned and putting out less than 80 HP. I’ve had 1990s single cylinder motorcycles that have put out almost as much power.
Also new in 1989 were such crazy things as disc brakes and better front suspension – not that you’d ever go above 65mph in one of these things. Are they economical on the fuel? Diesel is more efficient in stop and go and cold starts – the kind of driving environment you see in London. Diesel is also comparatively cheap in the UK compared to regular gasoline – petrol. The figures I’ve seen are around 25-28 miles per UK gallon or around 20-22.4 mpg (US).
The main concern about importing a UK FX4 into the US is emissions issues (well of course the steering wheel will be on the right too, but I figure that is not insurmountable). Vehicles over a certain age are exempt from testing- it varies by state and some counties don’t require emissions testing at all. So you have to be careful about what year your car is, or what it claims to be. Age also helps with insurance rates and such.
If you’re interested in buying or selling a LTI Fairway in the USA, drop a comment below.