SERVICING CARS FOR OVER 25 YEARS!
First of all I am a Christian and have been blessed more than I can share. This is the story of my path.
At 10 years old I mowed yards with my granddad and brothers. We worked hard every summer, so the work ethic was instilled at an early age. In 1973, I was making $125 per week (a lot of money). We had dirt bikes, go-carts, bikes—anything I could customize. My granddad had a 1962 Chevy Impala which we drove on gravel roads and in fields. We also painted it with a rattle can (I guess that was my first paint job).
I bought my great aunt’s 1954 Chevy for $125 when I was 13 years old. That was the day my car career began. I customized it even though I didn’t have a license to drive it (although I did once and while).
At age 15, I got the first car I could drive legally—a ‘69 Roadrunner. An exciting day indeed! I was the guy in high school with the cool cars (yes, I did power park at school). It seemed like I traded cars every week. I had ‘55-‘56 Chevys, Roadrunners, GTXs, ‘67-‘69 Camaros, Firebirds, trucks, etc.
I played a little football in college, but ultimately left and began working on heavy equipment for International Harvester. I bought my first hot rod around 1979—a 1931 Ford 5-window coupe highboy that I customized and painted to resemble the ’32 highboy in American Graffiti. I proudly drove it to the NSRA Nationals in Memphis in 1980.
I started a new career in the early ‘80s in tool-and-die for a large company, MTD Products. This is where I advanced a keen eye for detail and perfection. I became a full-fledged tool-and-die maker, working on Ford frame dies and other products.
My father-in-law was a farmer who had built a new 40 ft. x 40 ft. tool shed next to the old cow milk barn. While I would work on his equipment, it was there I started my first full-blown, full-build hot rod—a 1940 Chevy 2-door sedan. I built this car from the ground up, making just about every piece of the car. It was also my first chop-top job.
As the ‘40 Chevy took shape, people started taking notice. It would see over 20,000 miles with my wife Beth and three boys. After I finished the ’40, I started taking on part-time hot rod projects.
I continued with that for a busy 4 years. In August of 1991, I made the choice to step out on faith in God to pursue my lifelong dream. I opened Legens Hot Rod Shop as a full-time career. I took over my father-in-law’s tool shed/milk barn/lean-to/ anything that had a roof/anything he would let me use. I built a metal shop, body shop, machine shop and paint booth. This was the home for Legens for 8 full years.
I purchased 8 acres of land a half mile from the town of Martin, TN in 1999 and built a 7,200 sq. ft. shop with a product showroom, office, finish room, parts area, interior room, full pit downdraft paint booth with bake and heat, a mixing system room, body shop with primer room, wet sanding area, full metal shop, machine shop and product production area. At any given time there are 10-15 projects in the shop. We’re in the process of breaking ground to expand the shop again.
In 2001, we started producing a few products and custom parts. We introduced our Fuel Filler Concealment Kit one year later. It received NSRA Product of the Year. It received SRMA’s Best New Product the following year. Our idea was simple, build a product that would solve problems for our clients and adapt them as a customer product.
With hundreds of builds under our belt, we stepped out again in 2007 and purchased Don’s Hot Rods of Germantown, OH. They had about 120 street rod products which would expand our offering to more than 135 products. We moved all operations to Tennessee and began production.
I have been blessed by God which has allowed me to do something I love, and to be able to honor Him. I am also blessed to have my wife Beth who supports me in following my dream. I have been blessed with three boys (Brady, Buddy and Barkley) who also owned and drove muscle cars all through high school and college. They still have hot rods today. I have also been blessed by some very talented co-workers and some awesome customers who gave me a chance.
Thanks to my mom, dad and Beth’s parents Bobbie and Nola for helping me get started. We’ve been awarded awards, been covered in magazines and had TV coverage, but nothing compares to the relationships that have been built over the last 25 years.