For decades, Dick Taylor was a Mansfield institution known for his business skills and philanthropic actions. Behind the wild success of his family business, however, was a passion for cars and everything automobile memorabil- ia.
Taylor started investing in his passion back in 1962 when he purchased his first antique car – a 1919 Ford Model T. Ready to show off his new beauty, Taylor took it to the 1963 Bellefon- taine car show where he fell in love with a slightly older model – a 1911 Model T. Taylor did not walk away with the car that day, but luckily found it for sale in Marion, OH and was able to purchase it at a later date.
His two Model T’s proudly sat side-by-side for many years. Not just for show, however, one of the cars was used in his daughter’s wedding.
Beyond Taylor’s passion for cars lay another love for automo- bile memorabilia which shone through in his gas station repli- ca. Built to scale in 1997, the replica was quite the rare beauty of its time and attracted tourists from all over. The special sight made Taylor’s property part of the Lincoln Highway Tour where groups could come and see the beauty of the replica.
At first glance, the gas station could not be seen from the front of the Taylor property. Venturing further towards the rear of the home, however, automobile lovers were greeted with a vibrant full-sized orange and blue Gulf gas station sign. To the right of the sign tourists could see the actual station building which featured a perfect row of Gulf gas pumps dating from the 1800’s through the 1940’s.
Dick and his wife of over 50 years, Mary Lou, were heavily involved in the Lincoln Highway Association. Dick was once the vice president along with Mary Lou who was the secretary.
Among many other automobile memorabilia on the tour, the Taylor gas station was one of the original Lincoln Highway posts.
In addition to his time serving the Lincoln Highway Asso- ciation, Taylor was part of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA.) National Board of Directors and the AACA. Museum Board of Directors for over a decade. The AACA headquarters are located in Hershey, PA, which is also home to the largest antique car show in the world. Among others, Taylor attended the car show for decades.
Used to using his hands through his construction business, car restoration came naturally to Taylor. Although his collection made it look like restoration was his full-time job, Taylor was a building contractor by day and relaxed by fixing up cars at nights. Only able to devote a certain amount of time to fixing up cars, Taylor said a full restoration could take up to three years.
Taylor kept his car collection in two large outbuildings on his property but had an additional building specifically for his restoration work – inside his very own paint booth.
His restoration garage temporarily housed a very unique 1905 automobile that was manufactured by the National Vehicle Company of Mansfield. Taylor found the car in 1981 during a Glidden tour through Long Island. At that time, the owner was not willing to sell the car to Taylor, but seventeen years later, however, the car returned to its birthplace thanks to money raised by Taylor and the Mansfield Historical Society.
The 1905 National (above) is now on display today at the Heart of the City Car Show.
Originally published in the 2022 guide.