In the early-1940s, the Yellow Cab Company began customizing their taxi cabs as a way to attract more attention from riders and to ease or eliminate repairing front fender collision damage.
This press photo of a Yellow taxi cab was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times on April 9, 1940. The press release with it reads as follows:
“A streamlined taxicab of the type soon to be put into service has been placed on display at the Hotel Sherman. The cab is equipped with portholes, one above the driver and the other over the passenger compartment. On the right, Frances Musinger is shown in the rear seat with the Landaulet top lowered. The new vehicles are to replace 1,200 cabs now operated by the Yellow Cab Company. The Checker Taxi Company also plans to use this new type of cab.”
“Landaulet top” mentioned in the press release was a water-proofed and compound-curved sheet metal panel with a rear window that disappeared into the rear section of the bodywork for use during good weather. A small “porthole” is visible above the windshield, and another one about 12 to 14 inches wide front to rear was located in the roof above the passenger’s compartment.
The custom front fenders lacked sheet metal directly in front of the wheels primarily to eliminate common repairs to that area and to lower operating costs. Also after a “fender bender”, a cab could usually continue on its way and not need to be towed into the garage due to a crumpled fender or a flat tire caused by a collision.
Tomorrow we will feature images of similar cabs in action on the streets of Chicago. Photo from The Old Motor archives.