Lady Weinberg puts the former Blakes taxi up for auction
London’s first boutique hotel, Blakes in Roland Gardens, South Kensington, is best known for its unique design and as a favourite of the rich and famous. Now, a 1935 12/4 Austin taxi that was used by the hotel between between the 1970s and 1990s is to be sold at auction.
The designer and hotelier Anouska Hempel opened Blakes Hotel in 1978 and it fast became a favourite of those who wanted to avoid the paparazzi. As part of the services offered to guests, Hempel, who is married to Sir Mark Weinberg, provided a 1935 12/4 Austin low loader taxi to ferry guests around London. Those who are of said to have used it numbered Ali MacGraw, Robert Redford, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan and Jane Russell.
The vehicle, which has been laid up in a coach house at Sir Mark and Lady Weinberg’s Wiltshire estate, Cole Park, for the last twelve years is presented in the hotel’s signature dark green colour and described as being in “remarkably good condition”. It features a sliding privacy window, a Bell Punch (London Model) taximeter, fare table, drop down seats, a roof luggage rack, Lucas ‘King of the Road’ lamps and a front mounted taxi lamp displaying ‘Blakes’ rather than ‘Taxi’.
Offered without reserve, the taxi is to be sold at the Historics at Brooklands 30th November sale at Mercedes-Benz World.
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Why doesn’t Lady Weinberg keep it and have Tim Woelke drive her round in it? It’d give him something useful to do. We miss Tim.