Since I last updated the website, regretfully the taxi has been somewhat unloved. It has been sitting on my front driveway for over a year, dormant and susceptible to the weather.

My efforts over summer 2018 have been ploughed into a complete respray of ‘Marve’ my 1971 Fiat 500L, which is now back on the road and looking all shiny again!

My 1971 Fiat 500L, after an engine overhaul, complete respray and a lot of new chrome!

Now that summer has drawn to a close and Marve has his own little safe space out of the weather in my garage to spend the upcoming winter, I feel like it’s time that the taxi finally gets some attention.

So today, I took a spare battery out to the taxi, connected it up and turned the key… To be honest, I thought I’d have a fight on my hands, but like magic, the engine started up immediately on the first crank! I couldn’t believe that it fired so quickly, as if it had been running just a few hours before.

It was dark outside, so I tried the HID headlights which I rewired a few years ago having struggled endlessly with connection issues – they worked perfectly; very satisfying and shows that the summer of work I put into the taxi in 2016 hasn’t gone to waste. By the looks of things, the new windscreen has also stood up to the weather and there doesnt seem to be any evidence of water ingress in the footwells – I’ll only be 100% sure when I have a better look in daylight.

I moved the auto gearbox into reverse and with a bit of coaxing the taxi moved out of the rut it had sunk into. I think the gearbox oil must be a bit low as the power from the engine isn’t being transferred as well as it should. Lo and behold, having reversed the taxi into the garage, there was a puddle of oil on the gravel underneath where the gearbox was – that will need some attention, and some more transmission fluid!

Once the taxi was in the garage, I had a quick look around and I could tell that some of the body work was in some serious need of attention, especially around the bottom of the doors where rust has started to take over. The glassfibre wings that I sprayed and fitted have started to look fairly pants also. The paint I used a few years ago was some non-isocyanate 2k clearcoat (my first foray into 2k paints having used cellulose), which has not stood the test of time and will need to be taken off. I sprayed Marve with a Maxmeyer 0300 HS clear and I was really pleased with results. It went rock solid after 2 days of air drying and the shine is brilliant. To be honest, I was never convinced that the non-iso stuff I used for the taxi wings actually ever hardened. If and when I spray the taxi, I will definitely consider the Maxmeyer clearcoat again now I have the breathing apparatus to cope with the risks a ‘proper’ 2k clear brings.

In summary, I’m pleased that it started so well and I’m keen to have a look at the state of the bodywork properly this week in the light of day. Now I have the inspection pit in the garage, I can get underneath to check where the gearbox is leaking and hopefully put a stop to it.

That’s it for now. The taxi is back on the radar again! Also, I have just logged into the TonesTaxis email inbox for the first time in over a year and I’m pleased to see so many enquiries and photos of your taxis! I’m sorry I haven’t been able to respond yet, I will get round to it soon and hopefully will get some of your photos on the Cab Community page.

Watch this space!


  1. Well done, and congrats for the Fiat 500.
    I don’t know anything about paints, and your article reads almost like Chinese to me:
    “non-isocyanate 2k clearcoat”
    “Maxmeyer clearcoat”
    “non-iso stuff”
    A comprehensive tutorial about paints would be much appreciated.

    Keep up the good works,

    • Hi Didier,

      Thanks for your comment, also sorry for not replying to your email.

      I’m sure there will be some painting articles in the future as the taxi is definitely going to need some paintwork done.

      I sprayed my Fiat in summer as winter temperatures in the UK just aren’t high enough for the paint to ‘cure’ properly without a heated spray booth. You really need at least 15°C for 24 hours and nighttime temperatures just don’t hold up at this time of year, so expect to see some updates around April/May. I will go into some details about the different types of paint, having been through most of them myself over the last few years and discovered the woes that each have to offer!

      There are so many different terms flying around when you read about automotive paintwork online, so it can be quite tricky to get your head around. I found when I first started doing paintwork it was a case of buying some paint and then working out what I had bought after! Thankfully after about 3 years of making mistakes, I feel like I know a tiny bit more than when I started but I’m by no means an expert yet.

      All the best for now,


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