Carbodies – London Taxi
The move of the production of taxis from central Coventry to Ansty marks a new dawn of motor production in the city of Coventry but leaves in its wake the intended demolition of the old Carbodies/London Taxi Company site. The text from our data base – and photographs – gives some detail:
In 1928 Carbodies, a coach builder, moved from West Orchards in the centre of Coventry to the Holyhead Road site to increase production capacity. A 1934 aerial photograph shows a fairly well developed site. The company built car bodies for a range of manufacturers including Alvis, Austin, MG, Rover and Rootes Group before WW2. During the war they switched to military vehicle bodies and pressed aircraft components. Post war body shell customers included: Austin, Daimler, Ford, Hillman and the Austin FX taxi plant. In 1958 final assembly, finishing and delivery was started for the FX taxi. The full production of the taxi was completed with the move of the FX4 chassis line from BL Adderley Park in 1971, Carbodies taking full responsibility for design and production from 1984. Taxi production became the prime manufacturing focus, although over time Carbodies has also produced prototype car bodies and motor cycle panels. Carbodies changed ownership a number of times, moving to BSA, Manganese Bronze Holdings, London Taxi Intenational and finally the London Taxi Company in 2010. The company then entered a new partnership with Chinese company Geely, and has now moved production to Ansty for their ground-breaking electric taxi.
I visited the site on a quiet Sunday, and was faced with the usual barbed wire, budleias and graffiti which characterise closed industrial site. Most of the company signage had gone, although at the back of the building – access from Coundon Road – a faded CARBODIES sign can be seen, together with a couple of reminders of the company name. This is adjacent to the Coventry-Nuneaton line, with the level crossing, access tunnel and former station master’s house nearby (again on the database).
Re-visit update – the last two photos in the gallery below show that nothing remains of the once important industrial site in May 2021.
Copyright © Martin Green 2020