SPARTA, Mich. — While the village of Sparta is not a very large place, there are plenty of unique stories to be told. One of which involves Tim Lenon and his company Legend Restorations. He’s been restoring cars since 1997, but had an interest in them far longer than that.
When you enter Tim’s shop, you’ll notice his workspace is whistle clean. He refuses to sand and paint in the main part of the shop, saving that type of “dirty work” specifically for the paint booth that is sealed off from the rest of the shop. I guess that shows his meticulous attention to detail keeping a clean shop, tools in their place, and it looking more like a showroom than a garage.
Legend Restorations has been responsible for restoring several different cars from the ground up. Sometimes their job may just be to fix or repair some minor issue, but their specialty can include everything from body work, paint work, and interior design. Some of Tim’s highlights include a rare yellow 1970 GSX Buick. A 1957 black Cadillac Seville. And a 1966 Shelby GT-350…only 11 of which were made and never sold to the public.
Perhaps his proudest restoration work was done when Hollywood came knocking. Tim was called upon to restore a 1953 Light Blue Cadillac Eldorado for the movie “My One And Only.” The film was made in 2009 and starred Renee Zellweger and Kevin Bacon. The car was a fixture throughout most of the film and Tim was flown to the set in Albuquerque, New Mexico to supervise many of the scenes that utilized the car. Some of those movie set photos (as well as other cars he’s restored) can be found hanging on the walls in his shop.
Tim tells us the story of having strawberries and chocolate between takes with some of the cast and crew, and another instance where he arrived at the breakfast tent a little early (before anyone else) only to be greeted by Renee Zellweger. She sat down with him, joined him with a bowl of oatmeal, and they talked about running.
Another photo hangs from the movie set on his wall showing the Cadillac on an old country, dusty road in the middle of nowhere. Tim said the movie folks wanted an old windmill in the shot, so they dragged the car and crew well out-of-town to shoot it. What the picture doesn’t show and what no one else would ever know, is a prison is located just outside the shot to the right.
Tim has done work for clients all over the world. Some of the more recent ventures include cars from Haiti and Australia. In fact, one person actually had their vehicle airlifted on a 747 to Chicago to get it in to Tim’s possession in a timely fashion. So some of his clients can be on the upper spectrum of owning classic cars. If you’ve ever wondered about the terminology of classic, antique, vintage…here it is defined. Tim says he considers antique cars to be from the 1920s. Vintage cars from the 1930 and 1940s. Classic cars from the 1950s. And muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s.
Legend Restorations also does insurance work if your car has been involved in an accident. So the next time you have a few door dings or something a little more major, Tim and his crew work with insurance companies all the time. Make sure to check out their website here, or visit their shop in Sparta at 10 Prospect Street.