The 2007 New York Auto Show was the debut for what may soon supplant thousands of Ford Crown Victorias and Chevy Impalas and Caprices from coast-to-coast. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Standard Taxi. If you thought old Volvos were boxy, they've got nothing on this utilitarian beast. The styling is the very definition of "slab-sided."
The engineering and design is purposeful to the extreme. The company claims parts such as head lights, tail lights, tires, brakes, exhaust, oil filter, and air filter are readily available at regional retail parts suppliers, and were designed to be easily available from coast-to-coast. The bottom half of the front and rear doors are the same, and all bodywork is interchangeable between models. All glass on the vehicle is completely flat to ensure ready availability and quick replacement.
For disabled passengers, unlike a conventional cab, in which the driver would have to help a passenger in and out of a wheelchair or power scooter, and try to find a place to put the chair, passengers on the Standard Taxi simply wait for the driver to pull out the built-in access ramp, and wheel right into the cab.
The drivetrain consists of the tried-and-true GM 4.3 liter Vortec V-6, tuned for urban duty. No specific output figures were announced. But at less than 4,000 pounds (less than the Chevy Astro or base Silverado, which the engine normally powers) it should be sufficient to shuttle passengers around.
Although it looks enormous, it's actually more than a foot shorter than the Crown Victoria, and only a few inches wider. At 75 inches tall, it's nearly as tall as it is wide. And unlike a conventional SUV, the Standard Taxi has a low ride height and load floor, so even Marge Simpson would have plenty of room for her bouffant 'do.
Although clearly designed as a workhorse, one can't help but think of the potential customization options. Bigger wheelwells to accommodate custom wheels and tires are a natural first step, and the cavernous interior invites all sorts of audio/visual customization options. While I seriously doubt we'll be seeing these on the show circuit anytime soon, it is certainly an interesting counterpoint to the increasingly homogenous and indistinguishable passenger-car market.