Family-run auto business shuts down after 70 years
AN old shed which was alive with activity for close to 70 years has been cleared out, which signals the end of a beloved Ipswich business.
It has been a particularly difficult month for Darrin Taylor, who has frantically cleaned up the shed in order to sell off the land where his family have run their businesses since 1952.
His grandfather Bill started Taylor's Automotive Servics, which was later taken over by his father Ray.
The original shed was bought from a service station near the old Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane.
Bill and Ray pulled it down over a weekend and put it back up on their block in Bundamba, where the business remained.
"The last month has been hectic," Darrin said.
"I've been slowly clearing it for the last six months.
"Then it was all hands on deck for the last three or four weeks.
"It was very hard. It pulled at the heartstrings a fair bit."
Darrin came back to Ipswich from a fly-in-fly-out job in 2013 to try and bring the business back to its "glory days."
"The old man being stubborn, he didn't want to modernise or change anything," he said.
"I gave it two years of putting money into it but it was no longer viable."
Darrin got work elsewhere but his father fell sick a few years and lost a battle with cancer at the end of last year.
The family ran a number of arms under the Taylor name, including towing, pressworks, auto services and panel beating.
They also owned the old Golden Fleets servo, which sat across the road from the old Sizzler restaurant.
"Being the third generation, it felt like it was my obligation to try and keep it going as part of Ipswich's heritage," he said.
"We were the first in the world to mass produce rust replacement panels.
"We had the first spray booth in Australia. My grandfather saw the idea in the (United States). "The American airforce had a hanger turned into a spray booth for their aircraft.
"My grandfather saw that and scaled it down and made one in Ipswich. It was built in 1952.
"I'd like to think there's not an old Holden that doesn't have one of Taylor's panels on it.
"Around February I sold off the press works. Up until last week, people were coming in and looking for the stuff.
"In the last two weeks I stopped selling stuff to the public.
"Our panels were the exact copies of the original ones. 'Guaranteed to fit' was our motto."
Darrin did his apprenticeship out of the shed, finishing in 1990, and said his father was sorely missed not just by family and friends but the entire community.
"I don't know if dad fired me more times or if I quit more times," he laughed.
"He was the same with his father. It's like that with most family businesses.
"You've got other shops like McAullys and Barry Mills and Co, they've survived because they made the transition and they've adapted.
"RACQ own panel shops and you do what they tell you what to do. The old man was a stickler for if it's your car, no one tells you where to get it repaired, you get it repaired where you want.
"The old man wouldn't fold to the insurance companies. He was an honest bloke."
The property has been sold, not a single tool is left in the shed and Darrin said the new owners might be looking to lease the facility out.
"A lot of blood, sweat and tears and emotions have gone into cleaning this block of land up," he said.
"I'm finding pieces of memorabilia, tools and equipment my father has used and his father (did too).
"It's been a rollercoaster ride for me and my family."