Area street rodders 'get their cruise on' twice a month at Ladson car-hop eatery

This 1930s-era yellow street rod was on hand at the Street Rods Unlimited cruise-in, held July 26 at Sonic drive-in on College Park Road (Jim Parker/Staff 7-26-2014).

Sometimes, the open car event at the College Park Road Sonic restaurant barely gets enough vehicles to fill up the 15 or so drive-up order slots.

But that's the exception. Typically a few dozen or so cars and trucks arrive at the Street Rods Unlimited cruise-ins 5-8 p.m. year round every second and fourth Saturday of the month.

Veteran street rodders said one recent roll-up drew overflow crowds topping 100 souped-up Fords and Chevys, Corvettes and Firebirds as well as sedans, imports and roadsters.

What's constant at both the slam-packed shows and sparsely-attended events are the owners and their cars. From tearjerker to laugh-out-loud, there's always a tale behind the tip-top vehicles.

At the July 26 cruise-in, Glenn Taylor's story proved poignant. Taylor, of Ladson, displayed his classically restored 1967 Pontiac GTO, sporting a 467 cubic inch engine, 2004R overdrive transmission and pearl white paint job.

Taylor said Still Runnin magazine - a periodical geared to hot rods - is looking to feature the car.

"Everybody seems to like '67s," he said.

This spring and early summer, Taylor worked furiously to finish the car for his ailing mother, Frances A. Taylor. He didn't quite make it: She died June 30.

The coupe meant a lot to his mom. She bought the vehicle new in 1967 at Ray Waits Pontiac in Charleston. Glenn Taylor still has the bill of sale; The GTO cost $4,775.

"I was six years old," Taylor said. "I used to sit in it when I was little," pretending to drive.

A decade later, he had another big moment with the muscular Pontiac. "She gave it to me at 16," he said.

In recent years, the car sat idle. Then Taylor got it running again. With assistance from his father, who runs a sheet metal shop, he nursed the GTO back to health. Last Saturday was the first time he publicly showed the car since reconditioning it.

With various engine upgrades and adjustments, the car gets "20-22 miles per gallon," said his wife Stephanie Taylor, whose painted toenails at the cruise-in matched the GTO's exterior color.

One of the last mementoes Glenn Taylor plans to add to the vintage Pontiac is his vanity license tag, which has taken on a new meaning in the past few months.

It says, 'In '67 Heaven.'

"This means as much to her as to me," he said.

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