PASO ROBLES — The Golden State Classics Car Show was about an hour old Saturday morning, but Dan Taylor was still making sure his blue 1966 Dodge Polara three-seat station wagon was just so so.
People have been restoring and souping up classic station wagons over the years, but rarely are they Dodges and rarely are they passed from son to father.
“I’m one of the few guys that did this to a ’66 Dodge station wagon,” said Taylor, who made the trip with his family from Carlsbad to Paso Robles the day before. “We got in a little deeper than we thought we were going to. There are not a lot of these cars. I think ’66 was the only year they did this exact body style.”
The build retains the straight lines and blue-colored body with a white roof from its release in 1966. It’s what’s underneath that sets it apart.
“We put a brand new Crate Hemi in it,” Taylor said. “Underneath it’s basically a 2019 car — engine, transmission, suspension, brakes — everything is brand new because I wanted it really dependable and just turn it on and go. Up top, we tried to keep it a little more classic and true to its time period, but with some modern, very subtle touches on it.”
It took the Taylors two and a half years to get it car show ready.
“We just finished it about a month ago and Paso was on my bucket list to come up to,” Taylor said. “We have three boys and we came out here, we were in Cambria, probably 15 to 12 years ago for Memorial Day weekend and came over to check out Paso Robles. We’d heard so many good things about it and it happened to be car show day. I was like this is the coolest thing ever and as we were building this car I thought I'm bringing it to Paso as soon as it’s done.”
The Dodge station wagon was originally purchased by Taylor’s middle son when he turned 16. It was pretty much original at that point, Taylor said, recalling that his son took great care of it.
“I really liked the lines of it and thought it would make a cool hot rod and told my son that if he ever decided to sell it I get first right of refusal,” Taylor said. “He came to me after six years and I bought it from him.
“I guess you could say it was a family car. Most cars are passed down, this was passed up,” Taylor said. “It’s different and I think that is what makes it fun.”
The Dodge Polara was one of more than 300 pre-1979 cars on display on the grass of the Downtown City Park on May 25. The show is hosted each year by the Golden State Classics Car Club of Paso Robles and included a cruise night on Friday, May 24.
Proceeds raised from the show go to local charities. For more information, visit online www.goldenstateclassics.org.