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A new custom car being built by Petty’s Garage pays tribute to racing legend Richard Petty. The car tells the story of Petty’s professional life, from his NASCAR Rookie of the Year career start to his record-setting 200 race wins, and from his seven NASCAR Championships to his recent work promoting vehicle lift safety.
The car, named Legacy by Petty, is a Dodge Challenger unlike any other. First of all, it’s a convertible. Dodge doesn’t produce a stock Challenger convertible, so Petty’s Garage worked with Drop-Top Customs on the fully functional convertible conversion. This is the first convertible to come out of Petty’s Garage, Richard Petty’s high-performance speed shop.
Legacy by Petty’s base coat is the trademark Petty Blue color made famous by “The King” Richard Petty’s number 43 Superbird, but it’s the story-telling graphics airbrushed on top that really stand out.
Renowned airbrush artist Mickey Harris(shown above) is covering the vehicle with amazingly detailed images of key moments in Petty’s career, including his spectacular crash on lap 106 of the 1988 Daytona 500 and, as depicted by eagles, Petty’s Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award. Petty is the first motorsports athlete ever to be honored with this award.
Harris airbrushed every rendering freehand while onlookers and Petty himself watched during a recent open house at Petty’s Garage, located in the former home of Petty’s race team in Level Cross, N.C., on Nov. 11-12.
The car’s owner is R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman, president of the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI). Petty and ALI have a longstanding relationship: Petty and his son, fellow NASCAR legend Kyle Petty, host Lifting It Right, a DVD focusing on vehicle lift safety that is produced and distributed by ALI and its members.
“Automotive lift safety is not just for the service professional; it’s important in the hobby and collector market too,” said Petty as he stood next to Legacy talking shop with Harris, O’Gorman, and Greg Steadman, general manager of Petty’s Garage. In addition to Harris’s spectacular paintings, Legacy by Petty will also feature ALI’s website, www.autolift.org under each door opening. The website is a resource for shop owners, technicians and the public to learn more about buying and using a vehicle lift safely, whether in a professional shop or at home.
Once Legacy by Petty is complete, it will make appearances across North America, honoring Petty’s career. It is targeted for completion by Petty’s Garage by the end of the year. Unlike many shops that farm out much of a build, Petty’s Garage does it all in-house, bringing in top professionals for specialized work when needed.
Outside experts collaborating on Legacy by Petty’s build include Murray Pfaff for creative input and final design renderings, Drop-Top Customs for a fully functional convertible conversion. Kicker Performance Audio has designed the audio and video system while Katzkin Leather created the leather interior that matches The King’s crocodile skin boots.
Once Legacy by Petty is fitted with a fresh 426 Hemi engine and the project is complete, Petty’s Garage will host another open house during which the public can see the finished car and meet those involved in the project, as well as The King himself.