Legacy by Petty: The King’s Story Told by a Dodge
Legacy by Petty is a custom Dodge Challenger build for the President of the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI); it was the result of more than 11 months of design and development, and was done by Petty’s Garage. The car tells the story of Petty’s professional life, from his NASCAR Rookie of the Year start to his record-setting 200 race wins, and from his seven NASCAR championships to his recent work promoting 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 Richard “The King” Petty’s number 43 Superbird; airbrush artist Mickey Harris covered the vehicle with 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, 2010.
Petty's Garage did the entire build in-house; the Legacy by Petty was supported with final design renderings by Murray Pfaff, a convertible conversion by Drop-Top Customs, and artwork by renowned airbrush artist Mickey Harris.
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.
Legacy by Petty features “www.autolift.org” under each door opening. The site teaches shops and the public about buying and using a vehicle lift safely. Once Legacy by Petty is complete, it will make appearances across North America, honoring Petty’s career while at the same time educating consumers about the importance of buying and using certified vehicle lifts correctly.
Greg Steadman, the former NASCAR crew chief who is now Petty's Garage's general manager, said, “ALI’s people and our team kicked around the idea of honoring the King in a way that was truly unique and it just kept rolling with unexpected and highly detail oriented turns - like finding crocodile leather for the Katzkins custom leather interior which matches Richard’s boot leather. The fact the King started his career in a convertible back in ‘58 means something to Petty fans.”
Legacy by Petty is the result of more than 11 months of design and development. It is targeted for completion by Petty’s garage by the end of the year. Once Legacy by Petty was complete, Petty’s Garage hosted another open house during which the public saw the finished car and meet those involved in the project, as well as The King himself.
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