Legacy Motorsports Builds Custom Dream Cars In Hendricks County
Photographer: Bobby Williams
“It was such a fun car. Dad drove the wheels off it,” Legg says. “It was better than any roller coaster ride at Disney World or King’s Island.”
By the time he reached high school, Legg was itching to own a Mustang of his own. When he turned 16, however, his dad encouraged him to buy an old pick-up truck as a fixer-upper. It served to be a wonderful father-son bonding project.
“That truck ended up being a pretty cool ride,” Legg says. The Mustang, on the other hand, which he finally obtained in college, “turned out to be a hornets’ nest of problems.”
Legg earned a business degree from IUPUI, married his beautiful wife Karyn, and in 1998, with his bride’s blessing, began modifying Mustangs as a hobby and selling them for a small profit. He got the idea from reading about two brothers on the west coast who crafted a DIY Kit car by providing customers with everything they needed except an engine, transmission and rear end. When Legg assembled his first Kit car — a 1967 Shelby Cobra replica — he was over the moon.
“I couldn’t believe it started,” he says. “I couldn’t believe it moved. I couldn’t believe it turned. I thought, ‘Wow, this must have been how the Wright brothers felt when they built their first airplane.’”
When he sold it on eBay in 2005, he had 50-60 bidders clamoring to get their hands on it. Ultimately, it went to a man in Tokyo.
After putting his blood, sweat and tears into the automobile, it was tough to say goodbye. He thought he’d build another right away, but life got busy with work and family (he and Karyn have two daughters: Emma and Sarah, now 20 and 18, respectively). Before he knew it, six years had passed.
One day Karyn said, “You should build another car.” So he did — this time a blue 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe. With only six of these vehicles made, he suspected that supply and demand meant that the market would be hot. He was right. In 2013, the happy buyer came from Asheville, North Carolina. He’s also had customers in Canada and Mexico.
After experiencing so much success, an old high school friend encouraged him to turn his life’s passion into a side business. Legg, who works full-time at Indiana Oxygen, liked the idea and earlier this year opened Legacy Motorsports. He knew that to interest buyers, he would need to create cars with universal appeal in terms of color, interior, tires and stripes.
“Hey, you’re asking someone to spend $70,000-$100,000 so they get to be picky,” says Legg, who knows full well that “if you build it, they won’t always come.”
“You’ve got to appeal to the masses because if you go out on a limb creatively, you just narrowed your margin,” says Legg, noting that the really fun part is sitting down with the customers and mapping out their dreams, much like a home builder. Though customers make choices based on their personal preferences, Legg reminds them of the dollars and the sense behind every decision.
“Purple may be your favorite color, but if I paint your car purple and you decide to sell it a few years down the road, you won’t make big money on it,” Legg says. “On the other hand, black ones, blue ones silver ones you might make $5,000.”
The process of building a custom car typically takes between 700-900 hours or nine months. It seems appropriate that it takes the same amount of time to grow a baby given that Legg’s customers want to baby their precious vehicles.
“This is a recession-proof industry, really, because if guys have two nickels to rub together, they’re going to throw it at their motorcycle or automobile,” Legg says.
Some people try their hand at building their own but don’t find the process to be enjoyable the way Legg does.
“There’s definitely more to this gig than two guys working out of a garage,” he says, quick to point out that his shop is not an auto manufacturer but rather an assembler that also knows how to title and plate the vehicles.
“You dump 5,000 screws on the living room floor, open the 30-page instruction manual and suddenly erecting a 12-drawer dresser takes you all day,” Legg says. “Some folks realize they’re in over their heads with the car assembly. They’d rather pay us to do it.”
Legg is looking to expand into pick-up trucks and Broncos. He’s also currently working on recreating a Shelby track van, which were used primarily to haul things such as milk, mail, dry cleaning and auto parts.
“These vehicles are shaped like a toaster, and the motor sits behind you,” Legg says. They’re not fast or powerful, but they were the Cushman golf cart of their day.”
To Legg’s knowledge, no one else is recreating these Shelby track vans. In June, he attended a car show in London, Ohio, where 200 Cobras were on display.
“What do we do when 200-plus Cobra owners come together? We bring a Cobra Van,” says Legg, noting that his goes between 48-52 mph “depending on which way the wind is blowing.”
As far as what’s next, he says he’ll take his cues from the market.
“It’s a lot like art,” Legg says. “You pay attention to what starts popping up at car shows.”
For now, he’s just thrilled to be doing what he loves and, in the process, generating a product his customers adore.
“When you create something really beautiful that works and people appreciate it, there’s an immense satisfaction that comes along with that,” Legg adds.
To learn more about Legacy Motorsports, visit legacymotorsports.com. Their shop, located at 172 Williams Trace, Suite 198 in Plainfield, is by appointment only. Call 317-709-2002.