29 March 2006

One-Stop Shop in Sunny California

Alan Taylor Company, of Escondido, Calif., is a one-stop shop that does it all from paint to power plant. With 20 employees and about 25 cars in the shop at any given time, business is booming. The company does panel beating, metal finishing, paintwork, body repair, upholstery, tops and woodwork, as well as full restorations. It is also one of America ’s leading classic car engine rebuilders.

Alan Taylor was a stereotype hot rodder in the ‘50s. In the ‘60s, he worked as a welder in an aircraft factory. He also raced sports cars and dune buggies. Alan ran a van business in the ‘70s. In 1979, he started his first restoration shop. He then moved to Arkansas, but returned to the San Diego area in 1990.

Alan has been able to grow his business and it now encompasses over13,000 sq. ft.Taylor says he focuses on turning out old-fashioned-quality work in a timely manner at mid-range prices. He works on a time-and-materials basis, but tries hard to give the customer a reference on costs.

One of Taylor ’s personal specialties is working on French cars. His shop has developed a reputation for restoring Bugattis, Talbot-Lagos, Delahayes, Hispano-Suizas and Delages. He calls the classic French designs “true works of art.” Alan travels to Europe looking for rare parts. His shop is one of a handful that rebuilds French-made Cotal transmissions on a commercial basis.

To stay organized and maintain a tight schedule, Taylor relies on a team of specialized craftsmen. Most of his workers have 30 or more years of experience in auto restoration. He thinks that this, combined with the ability to do all phases of restoration in-house, is important to his customers. Many vehicles completed at the shop have won awards at Pebble Beach. In order to get cars done for such shows, Alan relies on the experience of his workers.

Taylor feels that many of today’s materials and high-tech repair systems are useful when doing mechanical work on vintage vehicles. “Experience has shown that modern technology and materials help us to create functional artistic masterpieces that will go farther, faster and safer than when they were first created," he says.

The shop also has six computers. The employees take digital photos of each assembly as a car is taken apart. If they get stuck when they are re-assembling the vehicle, they can go to the computer and punch up a photo album of the disassembly steps. The computerized photo albums also include pictures of similar cars at shows. These become a reference for authentic details.

Cars recently restored at the Escondido facility include a 1926 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Opera Coupe, a 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Salamanca, a 1913 Puegot Type 145S, a front-wheel-drive 1929 Cord L29, a 1939 Talbot Type 150 with a custom made body by the French coachcraft firm Figoni & Falaschi, a rare 1918 Cadillac tow truck, a 1949 MG TC, a 1973 Rolls- Royce P6 Landelet, a classic 1930 Bugatti Type 49, a 1939 Bugatti Type 57C, a 1947 Delahaye Type 135M, a 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster and a double-overhead-cam 1953 Jaguar XK-120 roadster.

Alan Taylor Company is located at
1220 Industrial Avenue, Escondido, CA 92029.
The shop has a Website at www.alantaylorcompany.com/page1.htmTaylor can be contacted at (760) 489-0657 or info@alantaylorcompany.com.

John "Gunner" Gunnell is the automotive books editor at Krause Publications in Iola, Wis., and former editor of Old Cars Weekly and Old Cars Price Guide.

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