Budgie Models No.101/703
London Taxi Cab
Issued 1977-1984 Length 106mm
No.101 London Taxi Cab was the first all-new model made by Modern Products for H Seener Ltd. and it was based on the Austin FX4 vehicle.
Designed on a straightforward body and base construction, the model was well cast but had no interior additions included with the base section. Pale-yellow tinted windows were fitted and the wheels were the standard Modern Products type with black tyres used already on the Routemaster bus.
In keeping with almost all London Cabs at that time, No.101 was painted gloss black with silver trim on the grille and headlights. Later a maroon or dark-red version was added. Both models had labels on the 'TAXI' roof sign (yellow), number-plate labels at the front (white) and rear (yellow), and a yellow licence-plate label at the back. The lettering on the number-plates was 'MPL 101S' which could be seen to represent 'Modern Products Ltd.' the manufacturer, '101' the number of the model, and 'S' for the UK registration suffix for 1977 and/or representing 'S' for Seener.
The metallic silver-coated base included both front and rear bumpers and the casting included an indication of the axle and other parts. The lettering read 'London Taxi Cab Made in England for - H. Seener Ltd' with a separate 'Budgie Models'. There was no number included.
The first boxes for the main issue of London Taxi Cabs followed the familiar yellow Budgie end-flap style with an illustration of the model on the picture faces with 'Made in England by Budgie Models for H Seener Ltd.' printed underneath. The number 101 appeared on the end-flaps.
In 1983 Modern Products was bought by Starcourt Ltd who continued to make the Taxi Cab for H Seener Ltd. They changed the lettering on the boxes to read 'Made in London by Starcourt Ltd for H Seener Ltd'.
In 1984 a special numbered Limited Edition of 1000 models was issued to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the London Vintage Taxi Association. This was a metallic silver model without trim which kept the 'TAXI' roof label but had special decals added to the sides, number-plates and rear licence plate. On the base a label with the Edition number of the model was added and this was also on the end-flaps of the box. Finally, each model had a numbered Certificate included.
In 1983 Starcourt planned three new colours of the Taxi Cab, white, metallic gold and green. It is believed that these were not approved by H Seener Ltd. and a disagreement between the two followed. The dies and tooling for the Taxi (and other models) had been paid for and were still owned by Mr Seener. When he decided to end the manufacturing contract with Starcourt and take away the dies, production of the Taxi and other models ceased.
H Seener must have agreed with Starcourt that they could sell the old stock of Taxi Cabs and they appeared in new-style window boxes with 'London Taxi FX4' on the front and the Number '703' on the end flaps. On the back of the boxes under a Union Flag, the words 'This model produced with the kind permission of H. Seener Ltd.' were printed. Interestingly the maker was named as 'Budgie Models' without mention of Starcourt.
Collecting No.101 is not difficult as many hundreds of models were sold but some colours are scarce and the silver LVTA Special Edition with the correct Certificate and numbered box is becoming scarce.
Budgie No.102/703 London Taxi Cab
1) BLACK body SILVER base 'Taxi' etc. labels 'Budgie Models' box
2) MAROON body SILVER base 'Taxi' etc. labels 'Budgie Models' box
3) METALLIC SILVER Limited Edition SILVER base with label 'Taxi' labels, LVTA decals Starcourt box with label
4) WHITE body SILVER base 'Taxi' etc. labels Starcourt (101) or Budgie (703)
5) METALLIC GOLD body SILVER base 'Taxi'etc labels Starcourt (101) or Budgie (703)
6) GREEN body (no silver trim) SILVER base 'Taxi'etc labels Starcourt (101) or Budgie (703)