1995 Land Rover City Cab Concept

The science-fiction film Judge Dredd was released in 1995 based on the comic book 2000 AD. Danny Cannon directed the movie, and Sylvester Stallone played the starring role. The story takes place in 2139, where Mega Cities are full of crime and riots, forcing the state to employ Street Judges to save some time from taking all of those outlaws to the busy courts.

The film received mostly negative reviews, although it managed to earn more than its budget. Despite the underwhelming critical response, the movie is remembered for its extraordinary vehicles designed by Land Rover. According to the brief, the taxi cabs operating in Mega-City One (New York of the future) should look futuristic and also be able to safely transport up to six passengers through this hostile environment – like a fortress on wheels.

Original sketches were created by David Woodhouse, who at the time was Senior Designer at Land Rover. This talented automotive designer would later build a notable career at Ford, leading to his most recent role as Lincoln's Design Director. Based on his design, up to 20 people from Rover worked with him to finalize the project in less than three months under the guidance of Head of Design Gorden Sked.

To make the car driveable, Land Rover needed a suitable chassis with the right dimensions, so it chose the 101 Forward Control (1972–1978) – a spartan vehicle with cab-over design developed for the British Army and fitted with a 3.5-liter V8 engine producing 87kW of power and 230Nm of torque.

As you can imagine, the City Cab looked like proper science fiction back in 1995. Its aggressive stance was emphasized by the cab-over design, unusual off-road proportions, and great use of two-tone graphics. Simple prismatic surfaces of the bodywork were used to reflect the lighting on the set.

The front section was taller than the rest of the car, with a long front overhang and a short wheelbase. Custom covers on the steel rims extended the width of each wheel by 254mm, improving the proportions and the sci-fi look.

The front end was inspired by baseball, skiing, and hockey masks. They featured a very narrow windscreen that made the vehicle look even more significant, a sculpted roof, and the signature asymmetrical headlights with three circular elements on its right-hand side.

The rear end adopted a more technical look, looking like a futuristic fire truck with large angular blocks, side exhaust pipes, small circular tail-lights, and (non-functional) cables and pipes.

The main prototype was painted in black and yellow livery, with black and white taxi graphics on the doors and City Cab lettering towards the rear end. It even had stickers with instructions on how to use it, made for the citizens of Mega-City One, while in several vehicles, the paint was made to look like it was permanently dirty.

Moving on to the interior, passengers are seated lower than the driver and feel extra protected in the middle part of the vehicle. One scissor door and a smaller gullwing door on each side allowed easy access to the individual bucket seats inside the cabin through the dedicated side steps.

Land Rover built 31 full-size models for the movie, driving around slowly in the dark and wet roads of the dystopian future. Below the fiberglass bodies constructed by the Futura and Wood & Picket companies, there were platforms of 101 Forward Control trucks bought back from the army. All of the vehicles were driveable. However, only one of the prototypes was equipped with a compl