In 1970 ship builders Cammell Laird approached Henleycraft to produce two prototype London Taxi cabs. A small wooden model was supplied as a basis for producing a complete fully functional taxi. This model was taken to a design studio for the draughting of engineering drawings for making timber patterns of the outer body shell and interior panelling.
On receipt of the drawings our pattern maker manufactured the outer body pattern from timber. As there were many undercuts the pattern was then section up with parting boards to enable each GRP mould panel to be removed once cured.
Then the construction of the interior pattern was produced. This was covered in various areas with an imitation leather material, when reproduced in GRP gave the appearance of a luxury leather finish with the ability to be easily cleaned and the added durability of the GRP.
The patterns were then passed on to the mould making department. They were prepared with release agent, the gelcoat (the tough outer finish) was applied and layer by layer the fibreglass cloth was added. These layers of cloth were impregnated with a polyester resin and consolidated using the hand lay up method. Once cured each GRP panel was removed from the pattern and prepared ready for the production of the prototypes.
The parts of the mould were bolted together and production began on the two prototypes. The moulds were produced to such a high gloss finish that there was no need to spray finish the Taxi afterwards, they were gelcoated to the required finish colour. The mouldings were then produced for the interior, which when complete were all attached to the rolling chassis.
The chassis was then delivered to Cammell Laird for extensive trials in London. They became the for runner to the now familiar 'Metro Cab'. These prototypes are still in existence today travelling around the country to be displayed at vintage car and transport shows.
One of the many satisfied customers making The Times news paper in 1970.