Jim Taylor’s love of classic cars

No one in the area has done more to promote interest in vintage, classic and exotic cars than Jim Taylor, and he and his wife, Mary, are two of the many people in the area that regularly support the Downtown Kernersville Cruise-in, which will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 8.
Taylor’s interest in vintage, classic and exotic cars goes back a long way. He purchased his first vintage car, a 1921 Ford Model A, when he was 16. In a trip to England, he became enamored with a 1934 English Austin 10 car that was parked in front of the Carriage House Restaurant at Woodbridge, the hometown of Winston Churchill, the legendary Prime Minster of England.
“My love of old cars rekindled when I made a trip to England. The owner had no interest in selling it. Two weeks later, I was in Blowing Rock and a 1934 English Austin 10 was on the street with a for sale sign on the window, and I bought it,” Taylor said.
The 1934 English Austin 10 was the car Jim drove when he first started dating Mary in 1954. They were married in 1958 and they have been married ever since. Taylor had to join the English Austin 10 Drivers Club in London to find parts for the vehicle. Taylor said he “doubts there is another one (a 1934 English Austin 10) in the United States.”
Shortly after joining the English Austin 10 Drivers Club, Taylor joined the Old Salem Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), and he and Mary have been proud members ever since. Taylor stated the cruise-ins are special for the people who are proud of their cars and the people that come to see them.
“It is as much about the fellowship and the smiles we put on people’s faces. For the older people, when they see the older cars, it brings back so many memories for them. It is great to see the enjoyment when they see the cars,” Taylor said. “We also go to a lot of assisted living homes, and the residents come out and look at the cars and they really enjoy it.”
The Taylors soon ran out of space for their vintage, classic and exotic cars, which turned out to be a good thing for the town of Kernersville and the area. Jim Taylor founded the Kernersville Auto Museum, located at 204 Holly Tree Drive, on June 20 of this year. A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on April 28. Taylor and Clarence Lambe were also instrumental in getting the Kernersville Board of Aldermen to approve the Downtown Kernersville Classic Cruise-ins 12 years ago.
Fourteen of the cars at the non-profit Kernersville Auto Museum belong to Taylor, which include the 1921 Ford Model A and the 1934 English Austin 10. The museum currently has 24 vintage, classic and exotic cars, and Taylor said the museum has the space to expand to 50 cars.
On the website, the Kernersville Auto Museum is described as follows:
“Our ever-changing Museum is brought about by adding new Vintage, Classic and Exotic Cars to the collection. The Museum will feature over 100+ years of automotive history while bringing back so many memories to our seniors and inspiration to the younger generations.
The Kernersville Auto Museum consists of a variety of American, English, French and German Classic Cars for public viewing and enjoyment. The Museum is a newly constructed 11,000 sq. ft. state of the art Climate-Controlled & secure facility.”
Taylor said the museum hosts events and “it’s not just about the cars, it is a ministry for the community.” Taylor has provided financial support to Kernersville non-profits for the last 20 years.
There are many things Taylor enjoys about the museum, perhaps the biggest of which is the people.
“The last time we opened, the first three people that came drove all the way from Mebane. One of them was about 85. One of them just said my mother loves old cars,” Taylor said. “In addition to the memories for the older people, it is about information and inspiration to the younger generation. We have so many people that come in and they are so inspired. Our motto at the museum is ‘Memories and history come alive.’”

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