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B.C. man buys 'iconic' New York City taxi cab, drives it coast-to-coast

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A Burnaby man’s new ride has been turning heads since he drove it home.

Giovanni Porta, a self-described car enthusiast, recently purchased a retired New York City taxi cab—and he drove it all the way back to B.C. from the Big Apple.

The taxi is a Ford Crown Victoria, a model which could once be seen all over NYC, but now there are only two left in operation. Porta’s was a working cab from 2012 to 2018.

Porta told CTV News his friends thought he was crazy when he said he was going all the way to New York to buy a car, but now they think it’s cool to take a ride in.

“They’re very iconic, you see them in movies and TV shows all the time, anything set in New York would have a flood of yellow New York City taxis driving around,” he said.

“I think at some point they’re going to be a piece of history, similar to how we see the checker cabs of the past,” he added.

Porta was a little nervous embarking on the coast-to-coast trip in his classic taxi, as it had never been driven outside the city before.

“For all I know the engine could have given out on the highway, but it did make it without any major issues,” he said.

Now he drives the cab around Metro Vancouver, to the confusion of some.

“Occasionally you’ll have the person trying to wave me down, or even get into my car while I’m in traffic,” Porta said.

Others wonder why a NYC taxi is all the way in B.C., with one person asking if it was part of a film shoot, and another even thinking it was an in-service taxi with someone paying for the trip across the continent.

The cab comes with several features unique to NYC taxis, such as a special metre, a dispatcher, a medallion on the front, and even a New York City guide book left in the car from when it was in operation.

Porta plans to restore the taxi to its original working state and keep it long term.

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