They are as synonymous with Mumbai as the Ambassador is to Delhi or the Hackney cab to London: jet black taxis with their bright yellow roofs ferrying the city's millions the length and breadth of the chaotic island metropolis come monsoon rain or sweltering shine.
However, the days of the Premier Padmini taxis that for decades have dominated Mumbai's potholed highways and lanes, often lined up bumper-to-bumper in queues stretching back miles, are drawing to a close.
A government order that all vehicles more than 20 years old be taken off the streets took effect this week, meaning about 4,500 of the remaining 9,500 Padmini cars — known locally as "Fiat taxis" after the Italian model they were based on — will not have their licences renewed and will likely end up in the scrapyard.
The remaining 5,000 taxis will be phased out during the coming months as they hit the 20-year mark. "The main issue is of the pollution," explained Ramesh Sarnaik, an inspector in the Road Transport Office.
The taxis, first introduced in 1964, were made in Mumbai under licence from Fiat. Before long there were more than 62,000 of them on the streets. Production ended in 2000, but the cars have remained to this day, with drivers patching them up and often improvising with running repairs using old pairs of tights, scrap parts, bicycle chains or pieces of string.
Dashrath Sawant, 60, has had his Padmini for 26 years and says he thinks that, with care, it has at least five years left. "If a person gets old, would you just throw them out on the street?" he said. "He should be cared for and looked after."