Foreign News: Taxi!

The London taxi—durable, unchanging and old-fashioned as a Prince Albert coat —is a rolling exemplar of a British view of life. It is designed to 1) negotiate streets whose narrowness memorializes the Briton's refusal to change anything old, 2) protect a person's sacred right of privacy, 3) commemorate the principle that every man—in this case, the cabbie—must keep his proper place.

Model 1920 or just off the assembly line, it is a spindly Victorian-looking machine with a rubber bulb horn and a wheezy engine. Its thin-spoked front wheels, poking forward like the forelegs of a praying mantis, can—by police stipulation—negotiate a U-turn...

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