Standing out at the Detroit Autorama is no easy task, and standing out in the basement of Detroit Autorama is an even harder ask. Elaborate displays, generous budgets, and miles of show chrome might “wow” upstairs, but downstairs, those features are lost in a sea of creativity and originality.
I’ve done clean, I’ve done patina, this time I just wanted a nasty hot rod. – Blair Taylor
With a stance sitting on the ground, the car was practically hidden by a crowd of onlookers engaged in fevered discussion about the car’s power plant, and once we elbowed our way to the front of the pack, we immediately understood why.
Sitting atop a detailed, all black 324 cubic-inch Oldsmobile Rocket, that’s been punched out to 371 cubic inches, was a supercharger unlike any we had seen before.
Many tried in vein to identify exactly what they were looking at before one worldly gentleman strode up, took one look at the quad side-draft Carter carburetor-fed supercharger and said “Ha! A Latham supercharger. I have not seen one of those in years.”
The unique looking Latham supercharger is indeed a rare and highly sought after piece. Using axial flow compression, technology borrowed from the aviation community, the Latham blowers produced boost by continually pressurizing the air via series of static and rotating blades.
Axial Supercharger Theory
The theory was that an axial flow supercharger would be more efficient than a roots type blower. Unfortunately, due to the technology limitations of the ’50s and ’60s, they were costly and time consuming to produce – which limited the original Florida based production run to roughly 600 units. Production would start again later in California, but the Florida units are the most sought after and most seldom seen.
The supercharger and engine combination in the Taylor’d Dodge found itself in the hands of the Taylor family twice over the years. Brian Taylor, the father of the father/son Taylor’d Customs team, originally purchased the engine for a Buick he was building at the time.
After installing the engine for a brief time in that car, Brian deemed it a little too over the top, so he sold it for something a bit more traditional.
Sold, Then Recovered
Over a decade after it was sold, and twenty-five years from when Brian first purchased it, his son Blair managed to track down the engine and blower combination. He did so by following rumors that an engine with “an aircraft sort of thing on top” was sitting at a shop nearby.
Though he didn’t immediately have a home for the powerplant, Blair kept it on the engine stand, just waiting for the right project to come along. His patience proved invaluable, as the right project just so happened to make its presence known in the shape of a 1933 Dodge Brothers body from Kansas, Arkansas.
The body was in decent shape when it arrived, but a factory restoration was never in the cards. Blair immediately braced the body in order to chop the roof and cut out the floor. When the welder and plasma cutter were put down, three inches were taken out of the roof and all four doors.
The chop was done around the rear window in order to retain a factory-sized rear window opening and not a postage slot.
You wouldn’t know it to look it, but this is actually one of the very first chopped vehicles to roll out of the Taylor’d Customs shop.
Sprayed in a flattened gunmetal by Smallwood Custom Paint, the car has just enough shine to let you know it’s not a rat rod, but just enough matte to convey a sense of unwavering attitude.
Regarding the cars overall aesthetic Blair stated “I’ve done clean, I’ve done patina, this time I just wanted a nasty hot rod.”
About The Build
Because the hood was long since separated from the body, and the body itself was channeled over the custom frame, the engine was going to be prominent regardless.
When it came to positioning the mill, Blair raised it up until the blower was visible from the driver’s seat. The thinking here was simple, if he could see it from the driver’s seat, that meant everyone else could see it as well.
The interior is simplistically refined for such an angry looking car. A pair of bomber seats sit behind the original gauge cluster and wood grain wheel. In the rear, two hand fabricated seats have been molded into the floor.
Both the front and rear seats are cushioned and wrapped in brown leather that perectly matches the wood stain on the wheels and roof slats.
The floor, was rebuilt from the firewall back to accommodate the 3-inch channeling of the body and large ’56 Oldsmobile transmission.
If you have not already guessed, the car is on an air ride suspension using a four link set up on the rear. This setup is built around a Mustang 8.8 limited slip differential rearend.
The front supports a drop axle, along with CNC’d billet wishbones and matching bags to those of the rear. This aggressive stance with the suspension parked, brings the grill to the ground.
Controlled by Air Lift Performance v3 pressure based management, transitioning from ride height, to park height, and back again couldn’t be simpler.
The 20×8 Detroit Steel wheels not only look great on the car, they were a crowd favorite of the local Detroit community. The Taylor’d Dodge wasn’t just a hit among show goers either, the Autorama Extreme judges awarded it with the “Lowest Ride” award as well.
With a killer stance, fitting minimalist interior, and unique powerplant, the Taylor’d Dodge leaves a lasting impression on its observers, and this is one hot rod we won’t be forgetting in quite awhile.
Hopefully, the next time we come across it we’ll get to hear that unique supercharger scream.