Farm buildings are a source of fascination for many people, from those with a passion for photographing decay to old car fans who seek out their own automotive lottery win. The ever more elusive barn car is the Holy Grail for many old car fans.
In his fantastic series of books about barn finds, including The Cobra in the Barn, American writer Tom Cotter tells tale after tale of gems which have been found by people just poking about in old barns and garages. Hidden and yet often in plain sight. The farm setting is also perfect for car builders who like to fly under the radar for much the same reason.
Approaching the farm that Canadian custom car builder Brian Taylor calls home, one crosses a bridge between two ponds. When viewed from the road, this could be just any old farm bridge, yet a keen eye reveals a bridge sturdy enough to support a fully loaded car hauler. A stone farmhouse on the hill above gives no clue to the wheeled treasures the property conceals.
With a busy career in the aerospace industry keeping him away from his family for years, in the late Nineties Taylor made the decision to start his own firm, working from home. Not only did this allow more time with the family, but also to focus on his passion for cars.
A couple of years later after a few calls to some car spotting friends on the west coast, and a loose plan to bring home a few muscle cars, it escalated into the transport of some 16 cars back to the Ontario farm.
Not long after, Taylor’s teenage son Blair began transforming his own truck, a Chevy Silverado, into a show stopper. The younger Taylor taught himself how to install an airbag suspension under the truck, showing a glimpse into the future of Taylor’d Customs’ signature look.
Each new build begins with the car’s frame sitting on the shop floor and air ride suspension components are added from there. This ensures that with the system at its lowest point, cars are actually sitting on the ground. Builds continue upwards, until coming together as rolling artwork.
The Taylors have learned ages old metal working techniques, which allows for the in-house creation of not only sheet metal panels needed for restoration, but custom pieces as interiors and other visible areas are re-imagined.
Wandering through the various out-buildings on the property, one is confronted with a seemingly endless parade of incredible cars in various stages of construction from a vintage pickup in a field showing the patina (don’t call it rust) that only time can create, to award winning show cars and just about everything in between.
Amazingly, most of them are running, driving examples. Interestingly, many are not driven much, as Brian’s passion lies in the building of cars, rather than driving them.
There is little question that the shared passion for creating cool cars has forged a bond between the Taylors that goes beyond the typical Father and Son dynamic, as both tell stories of working together late into the night, simply because they want to get a job done. Both are equally proud of what the other has accomplished.
In the room adjacent to Brian’s office, one can immediately see that there is much to be proud of, as this is where the jewels of the collection are stored. The winners.
Arguably the most eye catching is “The Montbomb”, a heavily customized 1960 Mercury Montcalm, which is an ultra rare car to begin with. Not satisfied with just rare, the Taylors infused custom elements to pretty much every inch of the Merc and then stuff a 1,000 plus horsepower monster under the hood.
Just listen to this beast: Check out Canada’s Best contestant Blair Taylor’s 1960 Meteor Montcalm!
A stunning Chevelle, which has received a similar treatment, sits alongside.
The next room ranges from a super clean Ford roadster to a late-model step-side pickup, but the star has to be the “Dirty D”. Sitting atop a completely custom frame is a ‘33 Dodge from Kansas, which sits neatly behind a 1956 Oldsmobile Rocket V8, fitted with a rare Latham co-axial supercharger.
Over the years, Blair has amassed an impressive collection of awards at the Autorama show in Detroit, Motorama in Toronto and Salon Auto Sport in Quebec, including the prestigious Master Builder at Autorama.
The denizens of the barn are even more eclectic, from a Rolls Royce that once belonged to “Sam the Record Man” to a water cooled Porsche 911. The most recent car to follow the elder Taylor home is an Austin Healey “Bugeye” Sprite that reminded Brian of a car he had years ago.
Every turn brings more treasures, as the building which is used as a shop hides a Fifties era Chevy 1500 pickup project which is nearing completion. Beneath the exterior patina (there is that word again) lies a modern high performance drivetrain and the signature air ride suspension. In front of that sits Blair’s ‘68 Camaro, which is one of the original 16 cars brought up from the west coast years ago. These guys are doers, and while Son was on vacation, Father kindly yanked the engine from the Camaro to fix an issue. Not ones to leave something undone, it was only a few days before the black beast had its heart back in place.
One of the great things about the car hobby is that there is something for everybody, from guys like me who have a passion for driving, to guys like the Taylors, who love to create. The best thing is that the hobby can be enjoyed by the whole family and Taylor’d Customs is a perfect example of cars bringing family together.
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