SNAP SHOTS

BILL TAYLOR > REDCLIFFE, QLD

STORY SIMON MAJOR

AS HEAD honcho of the Brisbanebased Asphalt Demons car club, it’s a given that Bill Taylor should have a history (and a shed) filled with tough cars. After many years spent tinkering away on all manner of cool rides with his late father Dennis, Bill continues the tradition, building and maintaining the family fleet with son Ashley. Whether it be Ford, Mopar, Chev or even Morris, Bill sets his sights on respecting a particular era and building cars to suit. 01: AT 17, Bill’s first daily driver was an HQ sedan with a hot red motor. “I lost my licence, so I figured I’d spend that time dropping in a worked 307 Chev; you know, the old: ‘I can’t drive for a year because of speeding so let’s make it quicker’ thought process,” Bill laughs.

“Years later I went to a car show in Nambour and saw a chopped Chev and thought it would make a cool daily, but early-50s Chevs and Fords were too dear. Instead I found this ’54 DeSoto for two grand and drove it home. Over the years I lowered it, frenched the headlights, gave it a two-door conversion and a cranky 383 big-block, fitted new taillights and chopped it six inches in the front and nine at the rear. Dad and I sat a Mercury Hot Wheels car on a ladder in our line of sight and used that to get the proportions right! I eventually fitted a stock 318 and airbagged the rear, and that’s when the car was at its best; it was easy to drive and so much fun. In 2015, after 17 years of ownership, I sold it to a guy in Victoria.” 02: IN 2009, Bill’s dad – “my best mate,” he says – passed away. “For a while after I needed to steer clear of an empty passenger seat, so I bought this ’68 Harley Sportster running an ironhead donk and a rigid rear end conversion. I changed the colour from British Racing Green to metallic blue, swapped out the rear fender and seat for something cooler and fitted an old drive-in speaker for an air cleaner. It was a ball to ride; loud and obnoxious and manoeuvrable like a bicycle. I swapped it for a 1960 Chev Apache pick-up, which I later sold to fund my ’36 coupe.” 03: IN 2011, Bill was strolling through eBay looking for a Valiant panel van project for his son, when he stumbled across this 1968 Plymouth Barracuda notchback. “I fell in love with it straight away,” he says. “It looked tough with the Center Lines and jacked-up rake, so I rang the owner and did the deal.

It was a bracket racer in the States with an angry 340, 727 trans and 8¾-inch diff, and had been gutted and covered in stickers. I completely rewired and tidied it up for street use, adding a black velour interior with meshheadrest Recaros to lock down an 80s-style muscle car look. It’s currently being resprayed in gloss black and will return with a Hemi bonnet scoop.”

04: THIS neat little Ralph Malph-inspired roadster pick-up started life as a tourer when Bill picked up a chassis and a pile of steel panels when he was 19. It’s been on the road now for 15 years and runs a stock 327 with a Powerglide and CM Valiant diff. “I got busy with other cars so Dad took over the build, then gave it to Ashley, who loves it and will make sure it stays in the family.

He’s nearly on his open licence so will finally be able to get out and enjoy it.” 05: HOW cool is this? Bill wanted a dodgem car for years and recently scored this late- 60s all-steel version off eBay. His 11-year-old step-son Parker (pictured) immediately claimed ownership and it is soon to be repowered with mobility scooter underpinnings. I’m loving the Mongoose Motomag BMX in the background; it was the holy grail that a 12-year-old Bill could never afford, so he built it for his son’s 12th birthday. “Vintage BMX is an expensive hobby all on its own; that part of my life is a story in itself,” Bill laughs.

06: BILL’S dad had a 1949 Plymouth as a 15-year-old when he lived in Canada. “He was back there visiting friends in 2001 and spotted this blue Special Deluxe two-door sedan in their backyard,” Bill explains. “He had to have it, so sent it home and we swapped out the flathead six and three-speed manual running gear for a Hemi 265, auto and BorgWarner diff, and dropped it super-low. Dad gave it to me and I was going down the gasser path with a 572- cube Hemi and beam-axle front end, sorted by using a Dodge truck chassis from the firewall forward. I recently bought a 1950 Plymouth, so I’ll do a chassis swap and put the ’49 back on the road with airbags and a stock 318, and turn the ’50 into the gasser.” 07: WHEN Bill’s mate Richie put his ’36 fivewindow up for sale, Bill moved heaven and earth to make it his. The 496-cube roller-cam donk is good for around 500hp and is backed by a Turbo 350 and a Bill-fitted, 3.7-geared 31-spline Ford Explorer diff. “The first day I had it, I picked up my partner Louise and we took it grocery shopping. The power to weight with this thing is insane and it was a wild ride on crossplies!” The original chassis-black paintjob was looking pretty tired, so Bill buzzed it back and resprayed it in grey primer as a stop-gap to a royal blue respray it’ll score soon. “I want it to look like an old-style hot rod that someone like my dad would have driven to school. Well, at least until you hear it fire up, anyway!” 08: WITH the Asphalt Demons’ 7th Invitational being held on 21 October this year, Bill and Ashley are pulling out all the stops to get this Morris Oxford ute ready to thrash. “I bought it off Gumtree for 500 bucks and so far we’ve built a three-quarter chassis and fitted a ’28 Chev front axle. Running gear will be a 408-cube smallblock Chrysler, full-manual 727 transmission and a Ford Explorer diff. It’ll be nice to have a fun car we can thrash and enjoy without having to be so pedantic about cleaning the mud out of,” Bill laughs. s