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  #1  
Old 05-05-2013, 11:05 AM
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Location: Alexandria, Virginia
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Ponton Taxis in LA?

I know Pontons were popular taxis in the rest of the world.
But I've seen a couple vintage TV shows set in Los Angeles, with episodes featuring Ponton 180 or 190 taxis.
A couple times I've seen reruns of a late '50s 'Perry Mason' episode where a woman is seen getting into a b-series Ponton taxi. Then this morning, I watched a late '50s episode of the Jack Benny Program, which featured a few seconds stock night-time footage of a Ponton taxi driving down a street. (Though in the show the interior shots with Jack Benny are obviously of some big late-'50s American car)

So, does anyone here know if any cab-company tried Ponton taxis in the US?

Happy Motoring, Mark
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:00 PM
Pooka
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
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I think the key word here is 'television'. The car you saw was likely a prop owned by a studio that was rented out to a production company when a taxi was needed.

Taxi's in most large cities tended to be DeSoto's or Plymouths since Chrysler built cars that were either purpose built or equipped to meet the standards of New York City. NY had very stringent rules about what a Taxi was, so if the car met NYC rules it was good enough for everyone else.

Another reason for using a prop car was to keep from upsetting advertisers. Ford and GM also went after taxi fleet business, and if they were sponsoring a show and a DeSoto was used they were not happy.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooka View Post
I think the key word here is 'television'. The car you saw was likely a prop owned by a studio that was rented out to a production company when a taxi was needed.

Taxi's in most large cities tended to be DeSoto's or Plymouths since Chrysler built cars that were either purpose built or equipped to meet the standards of New York City. NY had very stringent rules about what a Taxi was, so if the car met NYC rules it was good enough for everyone else.

Another reason for using a prop car was to keep from upsetting advertisers. Ford and GM also went after taxi fleet business, and if they were sponsoring a show and a DeSoto was used they were not happy.
Generally, I agree with you. And for a long time, I'd dismissed the Ponton taxi in the Perry Mason episode as just a prop, since that clip appeared to have been filmed inside a studio.
Until today, when I saw stock-footage of a Ponton taxi, in action, on the Jack Benny Program. I wish I'd taped it.
Those old Perry Masons sometimes featured Ford, GM and Chrysler products in the same episode, with an occaisional foreign car thrown in when needed.

Many years back, I believe one local juisdiction tried out some Mercedes police cars. So I thought it might not have been totally farfetched that in the US at one time, someone may have tried out Mercedes as taxis.

Happy Motoring, Mark
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:01 PM
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I've seen W126 and W140 cabs in Santa Monica (LA suburb on the coast) but never heard of the Pontons. Anything is possible, I'd like to hear from someone who has a personal recollection.
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