Bow tie dreams fuel JBM-HH couple’s love for classic Chevys

By Denise CaskeyJune 20, 2024

Bowtie dreams fuel JBM-HH couple’s love for classic Chevys
Tony and Lisa Taylor stand with their 1967 and 1969 Chevy Camaros at Whipple Field at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall with Washington D.C. in the background. Tony and Lisa are self-proclaimed bowtie fanatics. Tony also owns a 1967 Chevy Nova SS, which belonged to his cousin and is the car he said got him started on his classic car journey. (Photo courtesy of Antwon Maxwell) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, VA. - Movies such as the “Fast & Furious” franchise, “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “American Graffiti” have one thing in common: cars.

Fast cars, stolen cars and teenage boys in cars cruising the boulevard trying to pick up girls.

America’s obsession with cars fuels an auto industry dating to the late 1800s when Charles and J. Frank Duryea built the first American gas-powered motor car. In 2021, there were more than 283 million vehicles on America’s roadways, according to Consumer Affairs.

For Anthony “Tony” and Lisa Taylor, civilian employees at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Directorate of Public Works, the obsession with cars is a family affair that started when they were still children.

“My entire family have always been gearheads, so I’ve been around it my whole life,” said Tony. “I’ve always been impressed by the older cars and felt I should’ve grown up in the ’50s and ’60s as a teenager. My dad always had us in the garage handing him tools and helping out.”

When Lisa was in high school, she owned a 1978 Chevrolet Camaro. Now, she owns a red 1969 Camaro named “Miss Behavin’.” She said 1969 Camaros have always been her favorite.

“The lines on the car are so precise and the way it makes me feel when driving it is astounding,” Lisa said.

Tony said he and Lisa are “bow tie” fanatics and they own two other classic Chevys; a yellow 1967 Camaro, called “The Money Pit,” and Tony’s favorite, a blue 1967 Chevy Nova SS, which used to belong to his cousin.

Bowtie dreams fuel JBM-HH couple’s love for classic Chevys
A 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS belonging to Anthony “Tony” Taylor sits on display in a garage. The car was in rough shape when Tony purchased it from his cousin, but Tony and his wife, Lisa, took the time to fully restore it and make it look brand new. Tony and Lisa also own fully restored 1967 and 1969 Chevy Camaros. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

“It started as a childhood dream when I was eight years old — seeing my cousin’s Nova everyday as the bus passed by,” Tony said. “While at a Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, car show in April 2016, my cousin called and said he was ready to sell his car. That car started my obsession with classic cars. It still takes my breath away looking in my garage knowing I own such a classic.”

A labor of love

The cars that Tony and Lisa own came to them in rough shape with rusted bodies, motors that no longer turned over and interiors that had seen better days.

Restoring them would take a great deal of time and money, but they were true classics, and Tony and Lisa were determined to see them looking, and sounding, brand new again.

Restoration is also part of the fun of owning a classic car, Tony said.

Before and After Interior
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The restoration of Anthony “Tony” Taylor’s 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS is seen in these before and after shots. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Before and After Car
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The restoration of Anthony “Tony” Taylor’s 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS is seen in these before and after shots. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Before and After Engine
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The restoration of Anthony “Tony” Taylor’s 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS is seen in these before and after shots. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

“The restoration process is a great time to spend researching and finding parts but, most of all, spending time with family and friends through the process,” Tony said. “It’s hard to believe that restoring a car can be so enjoyable, but for Lisa and me it’s brought us closer together through a passion we both love.”

“The process is long and tedious, but the payoff is great when it’s all done,” Lisa said. “Tony and I really enjoy classic cars, so getting to spend more time together doing what we love makes it even better.”

The process of restoring a car can’t be rushed, they said, and parts are often expensive and hard to find.

“No matter how fast you want the car completed there are always roadblocks, such as parts, money and, most importantly, time,” Tony said. “Parts have always been expensive, but some are difficult to find, especially New Old Stock.”

New Old Stock, also called NOS in classic car circles, is a common term used to describe older parts that are in perfect condition and still in the original package.

Showing off

Tony said during the restoration of their vehicles, to ease the pain of not having a finished car of their own, he and Lisa would attend classic car shows and, when they completed the restoration of their cars, they began entering them in shows.

Lisa said they always attend local events because it’s a great way to support their community. Most car shows require an entry fee owners pay for each car they show and, oftentimes, local shows are organized to support a school, firehouse or some community nonprofit organization.

Tony said there are also few larger shows they look forward to attending every year.

“We look forward to our hometown car show, which is the Van Wert, Ohio, Peony Festival. All our cars have been at the show and parade,” he said. “We always attend The Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Cruisin’ the Boards and Endless Summer in Ocean City, Maryland; GM Nationals at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and we have attended several Super Chevys in Virginia and Pennsylvania.”

Classic cars are a part of American history that Tony and Lisa said they are proud to be able to preserve.

“You can’t duplicate the way a classic car feels when you’re driving it,” Tony said. “You can’t replicate the sound of a classic, plus it’s even better when you know your hands have been all over the car and you’ve touched every part of it.”

“I love driving my car,” Lisa said. “It relieves the everyday stress and brings me so much joy. There is nothing better than opening up the secondaries on a 4-barrel carburetor with nobody around but me and my ’69 Camaro.”

Classic cars and Soldier resilience

Giving Soldiers the ability to pursue a passion or hobby when they’re not being Soldiers is part of a holistic approach to improving their resilience.

Tony and Lisa said they remember when the JBM-HH Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation held car shows on the installation. In recent years, they have attended shows at Fort Belvoir and Quantico, and said the shows are a big hit with the Soldiers and Marines and are a good way to get them out of the barracks.

Tony said he also remembers the days when installations had Auto Craft shops where Soldiers could spend time working on their own cars.

“We met so many young gearhead Soldiers who love working on their own classics,” Tony said. “It relaxes you knowing that you always have something you love waiting on you. I could spend my entire time in the garage either working on or cleaning the cars. It never gets old for me!”

There is nothing better than owning a classic car, they said.

“It has brought so much joy to our life, especially getting to spend it together. A dream that started young has come full circle and we can honestly say it's been a great ride. We have met so many great people at car shows over the years and we both have enjoyed watching the younger generations get to see why we all love the classic muscle cars of the past.”

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