Leyland Owner - Gosford region of NSW

Birmingham Motor Company

Jason Birmingham

The start First car from Ron Bloxsome and his new passion
Part # 1 Story on building a show winning car Nationals 2004
Part # 2 Grabbing a Cab
Part # 3 Hairy Lime Show Car
Jason's Workshop Some call it the Aladins cave but the is the Motor Magian Ccstle
Part # 4 Progress of the Taxi

Author of the 'Leyland Legends' a series of stories about "A Silly Man and his Silly Car"

Itís a long way to go to get a Cab!

I suppose this story started at the 2003 National Meeting at Canberra.
I had only bought my white Super in December 2002 & was finding my way around "Leyland Land".
At the National meeting, there were many people that I didn't know, so I just cruised around, looked & listened. There were lots of P76's (of course) but I noticed there were very few Deluxe models.
I supposed that no one wanted to restore or preserve the "Poverty" models, Anyway, it seemed if you didn't have 4 head-lights & chrome strips, you hadn't made it in the P76 world.
Hovering around, looking at cars, I overheard a conversation by a bloke suggesting that someone should do up a P76 as a Taxi.
Hey "that would be cool I thought" & that was that. That thought really never went away & as the years passed by & the P76 bug bit deeper the idea kept digging at me.
P76 Taxi, would certainly attract attention at car shows, & highlight that fact that the P76 was a genuine alternative to the "Big Three", & hey.... I love attention!.
The Australian Muscle Car Masters last year at Eastern Creek was the decider for me.
Now I know you are thinking, "What do muscle cars & P76 Taxi's have in common...." well, here I was surrounded by cars of "The Big Three", thinking what we need is more P76's in the spot light something to grab the public's attention....
Time to make the Taxi a reality!.
Now as I have said, I have put a lot of thought into what I want this Taxi to be. V8 was a must, I didn't want to have to keep parts for both the E6 & VS engines & history says the V8 was popular for taxi's anyway. Column shift Automatic would be the most sensible option, but I already have a column Auto & the fact that I have NEVER seen a P76 column shift manual, this is what it will be.
The rest is just pure Deluxe stuff, just as they came.... Bench seat, full vinyl door trims etc etc.
The colour was next to decide upon, Yellow Cabs in Sydney had "Bold As Brass" as their base colour, but the visual really didn't do it for me, so I thought about dressing it up as a "Silver Top Taxi", Dry Red, with a silver roof... Should look loud enough!
So there we are, I've got the picture in my head, I reckon if you can visualise it, you are halfway there, so I started trawling Ebay, searching for Taxi stuff, & after a couple of months I came across an illuminated "Taxi" sip for the roof.
It was the correct vintage with the rotating barrel that displayed "Vacant", "Engaged" & "Not For Hire", depending on the situation, & it looked in pretty good condition ....
Bidding was hot but I got it for $140.00,
I wasn't letting it go!
When it arrived I was wrapped!, it was in great condition, a bit of a clean up & a polish & it would be ready for the roof of my P76.
I had my sign so I started looking for a car, not too seriously though, just checking out all those 4 sale ads in the club mags & putting a few feelers out.
I wanted a proper V8 Column manual,
I couldn't see the point of throwing a heap of money & time restoring a car if the numbers weren't right.
I spoke to James Mentiplay who has the P76 register & he tells me there were heaps of V8 Column manual cars made, but very few exist now, most being wrecked or gutted to keep a more valuable car alive, so that made me happier....
I would be preserving a rarer version of the P76!.
Nothing jumped out at me, but I didn't mind, I wasn't really ready for one yet, my other project wasn't finished yet, but if something came up I would grab it.
Fast forward to the Easter Nationals at Cootamundra was talking to my friend Nick Kounelis from Tassie, as we looked over Eddie Sam's (Country Club) Deluxe, & I told Nick about my plans for the Taxi..
"Oh you should do it in Plum Loco... Like Sandy Bay Cabs in Hobart he says.
A Plum Loco cab!!!!
How cool!
Seems that the Sandy Bay Cabs chose the Plum Loco colour to match the Casino in Hobart's colour scheme.
The Silver top Taxi idea went straight out the window, to be replaced by the pink taxi with "Sandy Bay Cabs" Livery.
You reckon that will be loud enough?
Nick suggested we have a look at the body that Michael Livingstone (Livvo)had for sale.
John Bryson (Yes THAT John Bryson) had already put his hand up for it, so it wasn't really for sale, but who could resist having a look at a P76 in a paddock.
Nick, James Mentiplay and I, jumped in my car (Oh & Livvo too) & we went & had a look.
Sad old bloody thing, been sitting in the open for 20 years.
Paint burnt off it (Spanish Olive) & the interior blitzed, but the numbers were right & the rust factor wasn't too bad.
Fairly straight too, though it was hard to tell as there is no chance of a shine on the paint.
No Motor or box, but that wasn't a big deal, something said "Save me" so I told Livvo that if Bryson fell through, that I would take it.
A couple or months later, John Brysons still hadnít picked it up & the Country club boys found another two good shells.
Which meant that I could take the Deluxe & if John Bryson did come good, he could have one of the others (wrong numbers for me!).
So a couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday I hired a car trailer & hooked it on the racing Magna (Yes I towed it with a Magna & a 4 cylinder too!) & cruised down to Coota.
On arrival at Coota I picked up Livvo & we went out to the farm to get the fine machine.
The trailer had a winch & it didn't take long to winch it up and tie it down, so it was back to Gwen & Michael's house where I took some exterior door handles off some loose doors he had for my other P76 project. Gwen had cooked up a huge dinner & had invited some fiends around (they were car people) so a great night followed with Michael constantly giving me shit for not staying at his house. (I had booked a Motel, not wanting to be a bother).
Me stuffing my face stupid with seconds & thirds on dessert!
I waddled out late that night & crashed out in the comfy bed at the Southern Comfort Motor Inn (Top Place!).
Next morning was a stop off back at Livvo's (to pick up the door handles I left behind & to say good bye) & I then headed home.
Overall it was a pretty uneventful trip, I filled up with LPG at Merulan & the guy behind the counter commented on what a great car they were!.
Back at the workshop, I thought I would pump the tyres up to help me roll it off the trailer, First tyre 30 psi, turned to go to the next tyre & "BANG", it blew .....
Scared the shit out of me.... [didn't pump up any more tyres....
So there you have it, the start of my next project, even though I haven't finished the previous one yet.

The plan is to start it at Christmas time, (this year) a year to restore it & to have it ready for the P76 Nationals at Easter 2008.
I've got to have a deadline....
It motivates me. Even though I am not physically working on it I am chasing up parts & stuff that I will need. Out at Coots at Easter time, I was talking to Neville Humphries from QLD about the Taxi plan, & wondering where was I going to get a good bench seat (the seat in the Deluxe is pretty poor)....
He looked at me strangely.... & said "Give me a couple of minutes", soon he was back with the news that Alan Shultz had a good Parchment bench seat that he took out of a Bitter apricot car 20 odd years ago.... Better still he had the back seat & all the door cards & door tops too! That's one problem sorted. Neville is coming down to Sydney to pick up some stuff the Qld club has bought & to go to the BMC/Leyland Australia Heritage day in September so he will bring the interior stuff down then. I already have a bit of new stuff for it.... two new tail lights, front indicators (Vic Club), wiper & headlight switches ( Qld Club), grille, rear brake assemblies (Complete backing plates with handbrake cables), fuse box, bonnet cable, H4 headlights, interior light, door seals, low mileage steering rack out of my Super before I changed it to power, a good condition dash top (no speaker), front nose mouldings, a good motor etc. etc, so I suppose it is underway! It's good that it is not complete cause it will allow me to use up some of the stuff that l have hoarded over the years it is really surprising how stuff just "turns up" (Just like the interior stuff). Eddie Sams from the country club says that he has a Taxi meter for me... All I need is the beaded seat covers & to change my name to something that I can not pronounce and Iíll be right. I already get lost in Sydney so I will be the perfect taxi Driver!!
I haven't checked with the RTA about the legalities of driving around with a Taxi Sign on the roof, but I can't imagine that it would be allowed,
So I plan on making a low profile roof rack, that sits just above the P76 roof, & mount the Taxi sign on that so it can be easily removed.
The "Sandy Bay Cabs" Stickers will be magnetised, so it can be a plain old Deluxe if need be.
So there you have it .... A heap of work huh, It will be a challenge for me, but I am looking forward to it.
It's important to me to firstly to save another P76, & second, to present this vehicle in the best possible light, to display it as an another facet of life with a P76.
Oh ..... Gunna have some fun with it too!

Workshops cars
Last updated
Aug, 2006
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