Many of us find our love of cars through cinema and the way these four-wheeled heroes are portrayed. Captivated by a Pontiac Trans Am, Aston Martin DB5, or drifting Mazda RX-7, in our 6 year-old minds we promise ourselves ‘that’s what I’m going to drive when I grow up.’ The same thing happened to Dieter Losskarn as a child, but his dream car happened to be a New York Taxi. His story is told by Cars.co.za
Growing up in Germany and already being influenced by some of the American cars on the streets, Dieter went to the movies with his father to watch a film set in New York. The iconic image of a bright yellow taxi with checkered pattern and service light on its roof immediately struck a chord with him. His Dad thought he was a little mad, but he was just a kid. Today Dieter Losskarn drives a classic New York Taxi around Cape Town in South Africa.
After moving to South Africa and indulging in a nine-year search, Dieter found his Chevrolet Checker A11 cab. Spotted on the internet from a New York seller in 1999, he made the purchase and then celebrated by driving across America. The over 9000 mile journey involved some ‘rolling restoration’ in order to keep the classic cab running.
The car’s history highlights a few starring moments as a movie prop in Carlito's Way where Al Pacino sat in the back. It also appeared in 200 Cigarettes with Ben Affleck. However, before its life as a movie cab, this car was used by the New York drug enforcement agency as an undercover police car.
Dieter never wishes to sell his New York taxi, but these vehicles are highly collectable. Around 100,000 A11s were made, with many being sold for scrap once their life as a cab came to an end. Today, this taxi is a distinctive sight in its adopted nation.
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