An 80-year-old vintage taxi with a unique place in the history of Sudbury will make its first public appearance in decades at Newton Green next month.
The six-cylinder, 16-horsepower Austin taxi was once used by Elsie Elliston in order to transport King George VI and Winston Churchill to private war-time engagements in the Sudbury area.
Although Elsie died about 25 years ago, the vehicle remains in the possession of her son-in-law Pat Morton, who has kept the car’s original engine, log book and show room brochure.
Having only previously used it for select family occasions, he is now set to exhibit the taxi publicly at Newton Green Golf Club’s historic vehicle day on Sunday, August 6, from 2pm to 5pm.
“It only needs turning over a couple of times for it to start,” said Mr Morton. “The family is pleased it has been able to hold on to a vehicle of such historic importance to the Sudbury area.
“Elsie took King George VI from Sudbury railway station to Acton airfield when he came to visit injured servicemen, and carried Winston Churchill when he came to the area during the war.”
Mr Morton revealed the vehicle, which was first purchased in 1936 for £301 and has since travelled in excess of 500,000 miles, had also been used a few unusual items in connection with the riding school which Elsie owned.
She even once brought home a Shetland pony that she had acquired for her grandson by tethering it in the vehicle’s rear footwell.
Interviewed for a history profile back in 1992, Elsie said: “I did a lot of driving during the war. I used to drive servicemen back to their bases late at night, and also went up to London a lot.
“I knew the North Circular like the back of my hand. I’ve just had the one car, and it has done the equivalent of going around the world 25 times.
“Every time I came home at night – it might have been raining or snowing – I would wash or wipe it down, and look to see if anyone had dropped a cigarette inside.
“I did all the maternity jobs in Sudbury because women would prefer to have a woman driver. And I did most of the weddings, too. I had some lovely class work.”