Words and photos by Ian Tocher
After owning and driving one of the most flamboyant ’41 Willys (below) ever seen on the Pro Mod circuit, Pinetown, NC’s Terry “Legbone” Leggett returned this season with this classic-looking 2007 Mustang GT 500. Built by master chassis man Tommy Mauney and painted by Extreme Graphics’ Kevin Mayer, the bright orange ‘Stang is competing this year in the hyper-competitive ADRL Pro Extreme series.
“My wife and young ‘uns, they just love all that wild paint stuff, but as far as I’m concerned, a solid-colored racecar is the prettiest thing there is,” Leggett says. Still, while laid up at home in Pinetown, NC, recovering from back surgery, he remembers feeling indecisive about the new car’s eventual image during its construction last fall at Mauney’s Spartanburg, SC, shop.
“I had a lot of TV time and some program came on, one of those racing shows, and Ford had a display there with an orange Shelby and I called both of them right up, Tommy and Kevin, and said, ‘Look, this is the color we’re going to paint it.’ I like solid colors, but I like to be different, too, so I thought a look like that would be both.”
Representing the first of Mauney’s third-generation Pro Mod design to hit the track, Leggett’s Mustang incorporates several new bar placements and some bigger tubing, but still weighs in at just 2,250 pounds with the Alan Johnson-prepared 526 Hemi bolted in place. The chassis is certified to 25.1E specs and its designer and builder estimates it’s up to 30 percent more rigid than some older versions.
Mauney, a two-time IHRA world champion, took over driving Leggett’s Willys mid-season in 2006 after his back troubles forced him to give up the wheel. Mauney again got the nod this year with the Mustang, which also afforded him a first-hand opportunity to check out his handiwork when it made its first laps at Darlington, SC, about a week before Christmas last year.
“I wanted to drive [the new chassis] myself just to see where it was before we sold it to anybody else,” Mauney says. “I told Terry the very first day we tested—and people will probably think I’m just saying this as a selling point—but I’m nobody’s hero and I told him it was one of the best-driving cars that I’d ever been in.”