10 Questions with Alex Taylor

You can never go fast enough." That's the motto of Alex Taylor—racer, builder, influencer, TV personality and successful business owner.

Starting at her father's shop as a child, Taylor learned the craft of building race cars at a young age. While still in high school, she began building her first car, a '68 Camaro that she raced the following year at Hot Rod Drag Week; at 16 years of age, she was the event's youngest competitor.

In the 10 years since then, she's managed to earn a bachelor's degree in marketing, run a 6-sec. quarter in her '55 Chevy 210, won back-to-back Roadkill Nights Hellcat Grudge Matches, and launched another career as the co-host of "Hot Rod Garage." Her business has recently expanded to an 8,000-sq.-ft. facility in Booneville, Arkansas.

We chatted with Taylor recently to learn more about this multitalented individual. What follows has been edited for clarity and length.

Show Preview: What's your latest project? What's in your driveway/garage/studio?

Alex Taylor: My latest project isn't a car—it's the shop I just purchased! I am currently in the process of remodeling it and setting up a space that will allow for race car storage, an area for content creation, and room for the ATR brand to grow.

SP: Describe your first race. What do you remember most about it?

AT: I was 16. My dad, mom and I had built my first car that I was originally just going to drive to high school—a '68 Camaro. I had wanted to do Hot Rod Drag Week since 2007, and as we were building it, Dad said we could build it for me to take on Drag Week if I wanted to.

I raced it in the Daily Driver class. I started the week running high 12s and ended up running 11.70s by the end of the week. When it was all said and done, Dad came and picked us back up, and I drove the car back to high school the following Monday.

SP: You started working in your dad's shop at a very young age. What's the very first job you remember doing?

AT: My parents owned a business building production fiberglass Fords and Willys. When I was probably seven or eight, I started helping lay up fiberglass after school for fun. They would hand me a roller, and while they would work, I would help roll the bubbles out.

SP: How steep was the learning curve to become a co-host for "Hot Rod Garage"? How is it different from, say, producing a YouTube video?

AT: It wasn't that bad. The biggest adjustment was getting used to working in someone else's garage at first—learning what tools we had and where they were. I'm thankful to work with an incredible crew that made me feel welcome from day one. YouTube, for me, is a lot more drawn out. I like to show details and tell stories and explain things, whereas on "Hot Rod Garage," everything is a lot more summarized and fast-paced.

SP: You've also been a judge for SEMA's Battle of the Builders competition. How did you approach the assignment, and what did you learn from it?

AT: It was a really cool experience. I was nervous going into it because out of the other influencer judges, I had the smallest following, I was the youngest, I had the least equipment, and I had never done anything like it. I learned there that confidence is key, and the thing that matters most is how you present yourself.

SP: You're the two-time defending champion at Roadkill Nights' Hellcat Grudge Match. Are you planning for a three-peat in 2023?

AT: I think the Dodge/Motor Trend crew may be going a different route this year on the grudge match, so I don't know if I will be competing in that part. I will be at RKN, though, with the '55.

SP: Between wrenching, racing, hosting a TV show, staying active on social media and running your own business, how and where do you find time to unwind?

AT: I don't really. I get to work with my family and friends for almost everything I do, though, so even when we're gone on "work trips," we still find ways to squeeze in a nice dinner or some fun here and there. I feel like now is the time to work hard and grow and I can unwind more later. But don't get me wrong—I still stop and enjoy the moments I'm living.

SP: What advice can you give to young women who might want to get involved in racing but who don't have any family connections to the sport?

AT: Enjoy the process. Find something in the industry that interests you (racing, building, welding, painting, photography, business, etc.) and start researching it online. Knowledge is your best friend. Find people you look up to or trust and ask questions. Learn and absorb, and you will naturally grow and evolve.

SP: Describe a perfect day in the life of Alex Taylor.

AT: It depends on the day! Some days I'm behind the laptop, some days are on the road, some days are out in the shop, and some days are just spent on a random adventure. I like having that mix, and if I had any kind of redundancy, it would drive me nuts. Routine can be good—but too much routine kills my creativity.

SP: What's your next goal as a racer/builder?

AT: I really want to grow the ATR brand. I want to get my shop finished so I can get more into the business side of selling stuff like private-label parts and filling areas that I see gaps.

So, What exactly is a hot rod anymore?

It's sort of fluid, but there is a linkage between the hot rod and the classic car. And at least in recent history, hot rod sort of implied a modified version of what culture deemed classic. "But classic isn't just '67 Camaros anymore," Evan Perkins mentioned.

"With Hemmings being a collector-car marketplace, our big push is to keep up with what people consider classic," he said. "Because the Imprezas and the Skylines, those cars are 25 years old now. They meet every definition of a classic."

And here's the thing: The people who build these recently minted classics aren't necessarily burdened by the industry's market-segment divisions. Case in point: When Mickey Andrade at Throtl.com wanted air conditioning for his rear-drive Civic build, he called Vintage Air.

"You would expect that younger group of people to think, 'Eh, I don't really care about air conditioning,'" Love said. "But it was important to him, and he said he's getting real good response to it."

This is no fluke, either. "Three, four years ago we came out with a Honda Civic lightweight race column," ididit's Eddie Mohr said. "It actually became one of our top 10 best-selling part numbers that year. We knew it was going to be big, but not our top 10. And it's still up there!"

In their eyes, enthusiasts in this emerging market are doing no differently than what hot rodders were doing 20 years ago with '60s cars. They see themselves in roughly the same boat, gathering pieces to make their now-unsupported machinery perform better. And they're coming to their elders with questions that their corner of the market hasn't answered.

"We need to market to those guys," McLeod urged. "We need a percentage of each of those markets, just like we need a percentage of the e-car business, right?

"I'm not going to take everything I have and put it there because I think it's the next big thing," he continued. "My bread and butter is still right here in musclecars, Tri-Fives and trucks. But why would I ignore a whole bunch of people just because their idea of a hot rod doesn't look like mine?"

"Ask yourself, who are these new people in this hobby?" Love advised. "What are they driving? What are they interested in? You've got to listen and you've got to be reactive to that market. I mean, that's just business 101. Not just now—that's always been the case."



As of August 15, 2023

Aces Fuel Injection 23777

American Autowire 23595

American Retro 22785

Aprisa Industrial Co. Ltd. 22483

Autoclinic RestoMod 22882

Bangin Headlights 23194

Bed Wood and Parts LLC 22897

Bous Performance 23186

Brookville Roadster 23077

Burr King Manufacturing Co. Inc. 23477

carbuffnetwork.com 23184

Coker Tire 22677

CVF Racing 23677

Dapper Lighting 23381

Dove Racing 23792

Dynamat 22593


Engaged Media Inc. 22697

EPAS Performance 23580

Fine Lines 23591

FiTech Fuel Injection 22993

Flaming River Industries Inc. 22682

Flat Out Autos 23685

Fuel2Electric LLC 24512

Gardner-Westcott Co. 23087

Gear Vendors Overdrives 22477

Goodguys Rod & Custom Association 23277

Good Times Classic Cars 22377

Grex Power Tools 22797

Hemmings 22493

Hot Rod Fuel Hose 23081

Hughes Performance 23481

HushMat & ZyCoat 23195

IDIDIT 22977

Ikon Industries 22585

Intellitronix 22791

In The Garage Media Inc. 23180

LEED Brakes 23196

Legacy Classic Cars of Texas 23693

Legacy EV 24913

March Performance 23177

MAR-K 23281

Mattson's Custom Radiator 22492

MB Marketing & Mfg 22391

Mecum 23095

Mooneyes USA Inc. 22385

National Street Rod Association 22577

North Star Plating-Chrome Electroplating 22482

NotcHead 22781

Powermaster Performance 22691

PRW Industries Inc. 22484

Pyramid Optimized Design 22981

Restomod Air 23493

Retrofit USA LLC 22582

Ridetech 22487


Road Cartel 23284

Roadster Shop 23577

RPC 23097

SaltWorks 3D Solutions 23082

SEMA-HRIA/ARMO Councils 23295

SendCutSend Inc. 23485

Show Cars Automotive Inc. 23192

Speedway Motors Inc. 22891

SSBC-USA 22777

Steele Rubber Products 22587

Superformance 23789

Syracuse Nationals 22490

TIGER Drylac U.S.A. Inc. 22885

Tuff Stuff Performance Accessories Ltd 23377

Under Dash Hydraulics/Malwood USA 23282

United Pacific Industries Inc. 23183

U.S. Radiator 22877

U.S. Wheel Corp. 22381

Veethree Group 23093

Vibro Solution 23697

Viking Performance Inc. 22987

Vintage Air Inc. 22581



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