Scott Taylor



On first meeting, Scotty could give the wrong impression. With his rather gnarly look, longish hair, and a rather casual appearance, Scotty could have been the rough guy in any bar you walked into. But you’d have been mistaken.

This gentle man turned out to be one of the more generous, caring and thoughtful people found in this rather vast world. His smile was genuine and his caring for those people around him deep and profound.

I first met him through friends – he had worked as one of the mechanic at a major Ferrari restoration shop outside of Chicago. I didn’t know him much at all, but about ten years ago, we saw each other at a meeting of the “Chicago Gang” and started to talk. This group of old friends had been playing and working with cars in a serious way for some 20-30 years, and were a close knit bunch. The cars in the group were serious – early Ferraris, a prewar Alfa or two, Bugatti, exotic German stuff, anything you could think of.

This group traveled together a lot– a drive to Pittsburgh for the weekend was nothing for them. They did some 3000 mile warm-ups, from Vancouver to Arizona, before spending a week on the Colorado Grand - and all in vintage machinery. Their credo was to fix it, fix it right, and use it. This they did and did well.

Scotty was the quiet philosophical center for this group. He worked on many of their cars, advised all, and like these guys, worked well with them. The quarreling in the group had the sense of a grown up high-school locker room, where the team met, disputed and then got on working together. This group played hard, worked hard, and stayed together. Their relationships went on for decades, their marriages stable, their lives solid.

Scotty encouraged me years ago to explore my interest in Lancias. He talked with my wife about Lancias, explaining that they exemplified the difference between Bridget Bardot and Sophia Loren – for Lancias had the enduring beauty and value of Sophia, not the flash of the Ferrari Bridget. Coming from a man who had worked on every rare car I knew of, this was no small praise.

I gently asked if he would work on the Lancias, if and when they came into my world. He was pleased to help. Our relationship deepened as we worked through a few projects together. I was the engineering designer and thoughtful client, and he was the engineering mechanic – hands on, and in the depths of every detail.  He found the vibration source in a B20 that had stymied everyone (a displaced motor mount hidden below the generator), built a street engine of higher power for a convertible Aurelia, and lastly, built the early B20 now just finished. In the middle of the projects we’d talk frequently –mostly about the projects, but also about family, his health. A wide range of advice was shared – mostly from him to me. I was the junior player. We became good friends.

Scotty built cars to be sure – but not everyday cars. Jaguar C types, pre-war Alfas, racing Maseratis and all sorts of Ferraris – from four to twelves. But it wasn’t the exotica that made him special – it was his profound appreciation and understanding of what he was working on that stood forth. For he was not a mechanic. Rather he was that rare combination of craftsman and engineer, self taught, but profoundly wise. Any assembly had its reasoning, every part had its geometry, and each piece a purpose. Scotty didn’t assemble things – he transported himself back to the factory some fifty years ago, he was on the shop floor, and knew that Tuesday’s crankshaft was measurably better than Mondays – and he would show you why. He brought that attention to detail to share with you both as a messenger and as someone who would resolve it as if he were there, then. No problem was unsolvable. None.

Formal education was not his long suit. His notes and drawings were not the stuff of an office – but the information was all there. His notes set clearances, tolerances, geometries and alignments – and you could build the car from these notes alone. His care and attention to detail made it quite clear that he was in that other class of workmanship and understanding with these old special cars. I was to learn of this class of people – it is an international group, all excellent and they all operate at a peak level of performance. These are the people who get the extra 5% out of the motor, who win the vintage races and who do not have problems. Scotty was our Chicago representative in this league – and he was the best we had.

One dinner in Colorado, Sherm Wolf, a friend from back east, was complaining about goofy brakes in his 1953 Ferrari – the brakes were French, had been used in about a dozen of these cars, and its strange master cylinder was binding. Scotty reminded him to check clearance on a certain bolt. Sherm jumped up from the dinner table, only to return about an hour later, dirty and happy. It had been that bolt, done in too tight. I asked Scotty the last time had seen that bolt, and he muttered “about ten years ago”. Memory like an elephant.

It was not just his attention to engineering that made his work special – it was his steadfast belief that the creators of these cars had done their work well – and one had only to pay strict attention to this and things would work. That didn’t stop him from reengineering when necessary, but this was only when clear that the racing gremlins in Italy had been just a bit hasty back in the early 1950’s. His overall sensitivity was to the quality of the cars – both in feel and performance. He wanted you to sense the car was still of that time - in the fasteners, the backings, how it was put together. You were never to know he had been there – except that it was right, worked, and would not fail. Remarkable.

Seven years ago Scotty came forth with a new challenge – one that would change all of our lives. A sizable tumor had revealed itself, and Scotty now entered the world of medicine, with a vengeance. His cancer was widespread, practically incurable, and time was short. Scotty undertook this challenge like all the others, something to be fixed, and he renegotiated with the reaper. He got seven years instead of the promised one, and he fought for each one of them with clarity, vigor, discipline.

His strength through this ordeal was unfathomable. He’d check into the hospital for a short visit, they’d keep him for two weeks. Once out by noon, he’d be back at work and report a  good day’s labor in by 5 PM. He routinely got up before 5 AM to get the day’s work in before his noontime doctor’s visit. He told me that he couldn’t wrap the brass wires just right because his hands were shaking too much and he was sorry not to get it better.

Our friendship grew. Each couple of days we’d talk, and sometimes visit, and as the illness grew worse, Scotty became more focused. His vision became clearer. He had always enjoyed my family, and we were able to bring a bit of joy into his life. Nathan had his first Scotty visit at age 2, and after ten years, they too were pals. Scotty last took Nathan aside in his garage to the racing Maserati and explained how brakes worked – in his gentle and thoughtful way. Scotty showed Nathan his toolbox, his world and why these things mattered.

All of us all were able to help him get medical care, and sometimes we could ease a few of his troubles. But this was a dead end road and we all knew it. Each time we talked, we visited the old fun, and never let go of the pleasure of solving problems, working with clear heads, and having a clear vision of what should, could and would be done.

The last visit with Scotty was with friends who had gathered to help him leave Indiana and go home to his family. Several came to help and more would have come if given the opportunity. He was that kind of person - someone you wanted to help if you could. Even in this most sad moment some good time was found - the ride to the airport was full of conversation as if nothing had happened – we were all young again.

Our family wanted to give Scotty something to ease his journey – and Lynne and Nathan decided that the most caring thing we could give to Scotty was a small blanket, Nathan’s baby blanket, to go with him on his last journey, home to Arkansas. This was a part of the caring that we shared and wanted to return. This Scotty had taught – that to care, to care deeply, for whatever reason or thing, is more important than anything else. For he showed us it is by caring we reveal who we are and why we matter. In this, he matters to us most of all.


Consider a brief note to his parents who were with Scotty at the end:

Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Elsie Taylor

8 Wrongton Drive

Bella Vista, AR



In Memory

(If you have a story of Scotty, please send it and I’d be happy to post it. Email it to: