Sole surviving Morris-Commercial International ‘Upright Grand’ taxicab – nicknamed ‘Uncle Lima’ – to be auctioned after surviving crashes and mortar bombs
Whilst the war of words between London’s cabbies and Uber rages on, those who hanker back to the days when travel by taxis and trains was a little more civilised might be tempted by a lot at Silverstone Auctions’ 14th November sale.
Priced with a guide of £27,000 to £30,000, a car that is supposedly the sole surviving – of 840 made – Morris-Commerical International taxicab is a highlight of the annual NEC Classic Motor Show auction. It was built in 1929 with a high roof line to accommodate regulations that a gentleman must be able to sit in the back whilst wearing a top hat and though it was thus named an ‘Upright Grand’, this particular taxi has fondly been nicknamed ‘Uncle Lima’.
Owned by a gentleman named Mr Broughton since 1967, ‘Uncle Lima’ – registration UL 8563 – is believed to have spent the first ten years of its life accruing fairs in the capital before being sold to a farmer who adapted it for use as a tractor by Land Girls during the Second World War.
It is said that – on 8th May 1945 – two inebriated soldiers from the Black Watch Regiment chanced upon the vehicle and took it for a spin without permission. They crashed into a wooden army hut and after it was towed back to the farmer, ‘Uncle Lima’ then languished in a hut for some twenty years.
Upon being discovered by Mr Broughton, further drama followed as two live mortar bombs and an anti-tank rocket were found in the passenger compartment. These were thankfully safely removed and exploded some distance away and in the years since Mr Broughton returned ‘Uncle Lima’ to its dignified self.
The car made its debut at the 1975 Historic Commercial Vehicle Society London to Brighton Run and has since competed in many other rallies. It now requires some attention due to corrosion around the doors, but is, according to Silverstone Auctions, otherwise “delightfully sound”.
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