Carspotting: Meet NYC's Best London Cab And Why The World Loves The XJ Cherokee

Welcome back to Carspotting! It’s been a while but we’re back with the worst walking tour of New York City, headed by me, a hack who is barely qualified to tell you which subway lines go uptown or downtown. It’s no longer a live series—let us know what you think about this—but we’re still out to find the best cars of the Big Apple.


This week we’ve tracked down the city’s most stereotypically-British vehicle and also probably the most wonderfully bruised-but-still-going XJ Cherokee around.

I am periodically annoyed that more and more of the really old and interesting cars I see in the city are being used mostly as billboards for shops and restaurants. The exception is that I absolutely cannot fault the Austin taxi/London Cab/however-you-call-it used by A Salt And Battery in the Village. (It’s the only decent fish and chips shop in New York City, as declared by its owner Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett.)

The old cab runs on the shop’s used frier oil, enabled by the Nissan diesel engine up behind the cab’s vintage face.

And the car actually gets used quite a bit. The back seats are out, as is required for a commercial vehicle, apparently, and it really hauls. Sean says he’s moved using it and there is tons and tons of space in the very van-ey shape. Not all classics are unreliable and impractical, at least if you’re smart about it and a little creative.

By the same token, right around the way in our little walk through the bottom of Chelsea and not-quite the Meatpacking District over west from Jalopnik HQ, we spotted a very used and very lovely Jeep Cherokee Classic. By “lovely” I mean that it had more bumps, scrapes, bruises, cuts and patches than anything else on the street.


XJs are durable and dependable if you treat them right. The 4.0-liter Jeep straight six is a legend and they’re not the hardest things to maintain. They’re tough even though they’re unibody, as you can see by this one still chugging along. By nature of being super common, cheap offroaders, you’d expect all XJs to be crashed and destroyed by now, but they endure.

In any case, watch through the whole episode to hear me rant more about these things, and stay tuned for next week’s further hunting.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.


mkbruin, Atlas VP

Only 98,000 miles on my 2001, 2-door, nv3500, 4x4.

I have owned more XJ’s than I can count. Tough as nails, built like a tractor, surprisingly capable in every way possible, decent MPG, cheap parts, and if anything does break there’s a dozen aftermarket upgraded parts and hundreds of how-to’s for the backyard mechanic to DIY.

Hell, the first time my best friends daughter ever turned a wrench was to replace the transmission solenoids in the XJ we bought her for her 16th.