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3 Vehicles That Made Britain Great

5th December 2017


Britain has always had an affinity with great vehicles. Ever since the Romans built our straight, efficient roads, we have been traversing up and down them with ever-increasing speed and agility, and in ever more wonderful automobiles. There are some vehicles in particular that have made Britain great across the world – here are just some of them.


The Black Cab

Where would we be without the iconic black cab? Ironically, the first petrol cab in London was a French built vehicle, and that was back in 1903 (before that, the cabs had been horse drawn, and then electric). Three years later, and there were fewer than 100 black cabs in London – times have definitely changed, and today there is an estimated 21,000! It took another year for the first taxi meter to be installed, and since then, apart from the numbers, not a lot has changed. Being a black cab driver is so much more than punching addresses into a sat nav and following the route; in fact, sat navs aren’t required in a black cab as all ‘cabbies’ have to have learned ‘the Knowledge’ before they can get their license. The Knowledge is an extensive training course and once passed, it means that the driver knows all the roads in London by heart – no map required.


The Transit Van

The unmistakable transit van – the tool of the white van man – is everywhere. It’s a symbol of British business, used to transport goods and equipment from place to place and job to job. These sturdy workhorses were first launched by Ford in 1965, although it feels as though they have been around forever. They were made in a factory near Slough, but they became so popular that a new factory had to be opened in Southampton just to keep up with demand! The transit is one of the most flexible of vehicles, which is why it has always been so widely enjoyed. It can be used by tradesmen as it has room for larger pieces of equipment such as ladders and large tools. It can also be used by delivery drivers since it can carry up to 1.75 tonnes. Yet it was also something that a family could use thanks to the long front seat. It meant that just one vehicle was required, rather than the owner also having to have a car for non-work trips.


Double Decker Buses

Is there a more iconic site than a red double decker bus? They have been in the capital since 1923, and just one year later there were over 200 double deckers trundling along London’s roads. They were all independent at that point, and the buses that got people to their destinations quickest became – clearly – the most popular. There were no set bus routes at that time, and it was rather a free for all. Due to these independent companies competing with each other, and because there were so many, passengers didn’t always know which company’s bus they were travelling on. The London General Omnibus Company wanted people to remember how good (and fast) its service was, so the owner had all the buses painted red to make them stand out. The colour, and the buses, remained a favourite ever since.



Posted by Mark at 3:23pm

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