As Citroën celebrate their centenary this year, we take a closer look at the remarkable car we have within our fleet, the Citroën B12 dubbed Le Taxi.
Produced in 1926, this spectacular motor vehicle was the height of motoring technology and luxury. It was vehicles such as this one that has paved the way from which the everyday cars we all use now have evolved and grown from.
The previous owner, Martin De’Little acquired Le Taxi from Maurice Bailey. Maurice, who has sadly now passed away, completed a full restoration and with his exceptional eye for detail, produced this concours quality project which, due to Maurice’s poor health, was finished by Martin in 2018. Maurice was a stickler for detail in every respect. He restored cars primarily because he enjoyed it and, running a close second, when he took them to shows he expected to win prizes.
Despite a full restoration, many of Le Taxi’s parts are actually still original. Most notably is the original taxi meter which still stands in its rightful place. Our restorers are hoping to have this running and back in working order.
We could write for hours about the unbelievable level of detail that Le Taxi has been restored to. A full engine rebuild, the original opera lights which would be used to make the mesdames and messieurs aware of which taxi was theirs once they had exited the opera house.
The indicator casings have been designed to replicate the Citroën logo when they are in use, all of the instruments on the dash are original Jaeger, the tyres are Michelin as they were the principle creditors for Citroën. Maurice even visited the Citroen Conservatioire on numerous occasions (this is a museum where they hold one of everything they have ever made) to get the exact measurements for the roof that has been specifically made.
Originally in the 1920’s, a little bit of split cane would be carefully applied to expensive cars (Rolls, Hispano, Bentley etc.). Andre Citroën decided he would splash it all over the rear of his taxis. No-one really knows why but the best guess is to differentiate his vehicles from the others, thus meaning the customers would easily spot and hail his cabs. Le Taxi has had a water based transfer to produce the cane effect on the rear of the vehicle which took around 120 hours to apply. As you can see from some of the original photos we have, the accuracy of this water based transfer is exceptional.