This Guy's Garage: Leigh Gordon/Goochland County, VA
There’s a car commercial on the radio these days that claims the average American will own 12 cars in his lifetime. Clearly, they didn’t include car guys in that survey, or the average would have been much higher. Between Leigh and his two sons, Andrew and David, the current car count is probably closer to lifetime average, as it should be. Leigh’s garage hints at that with the eclectic collection of machines that ranges from the muscle cars at center stage to his father’s ’41 Lincoln Continental coupe way back in the corner. There’s also a stock 392ci Hemi sitting on the floor in all its completeness, just waiting its turn. Leigh says the motor is intended for a rat rod ’51 Ford F-2 pickup project that’s about to begin. As Leigh says, “My two sons and I are gearheads to the core, and we do most of the work in the shop. It has been an engine assembly room, paint booth, fabrication shop, and restoration area that has served us for untold hours of extensive work. We have spent many hours and created countless memories together in this shop. We also built the entire shop from the ground up.” That makes sense when you learn Leigh owns the Gordon Construction Co. There’s only room for the Cliff’s Notes on each of the cars.
"The ladder bar 12-bolt is going in the Chevelle, since I blew the stock 12-bolt to pieces after a great 1-2 shift." - Leigh Gordon
1. Our favorite Gordon story involves the ’65 GTO convertible. Leigh bought it right out of high school in 1971. It’s complete with a Tri-power 389 and a four-speed, and Leigh says after he and wife Paula married, they drove the car to their honeymoon, with tin cans tied to the bumper. The Goat is undergoing a complete restoration, and while Leigh will retain the original motor, he hints that a tweaked 400 and a five- or six-speed will constitute the drivetrain.
2. Obscured by all the muscle cars is the family heirloom ’41 Lincoln Continental coupe that Leigh’s father bought in the late ’40s. It’s powered by a massive flathead V12 and a three-speed on the column. The 292ci engine had aluminum heads and cast-steel pistons and made 120 hp. Imagine what this engine must weigh!
3. The blue ’71 Malibu was wife Paula’s car purchased new in Arlington, Texas. With 150,000 on the clock, older son Andrew began wheeling it to school. Not surprisingly, the original 307 soon expired, demanding a 383 stroker, 700-R4, and 4.11:1 gears. That still wasn’t enough, and before long the Malibu sported a mild 396 that was quickly replaced by a 619hp, 496ci.
4. The black ’69 GTO belongs to son Daniel, who undertook a complete frame-off restoration when he was a mere sophomore in high school. Leigh says, “It took over 10 years, but he finally completed the car this past summer.” It now has a Butler Performance 467ci motor with a twin-quad Offy intake, a Richmond six-speed, and a 150-shot of squeeze. Daniel drives it all the time, rain or shine, according to his dad.
5. The red ’48 Ford F-1 is entirely stock right down to its original 239ci flathead and the three-speed trans with barely 65,000 miles on the speedometer. Leigh bought it from the second owner and “brought it back to life with new paint, wiring, brakes, and some other minor refurbishing. Otherwise, everything is original from 1948. You wouldn’t believe how sweet it drives.”
6. The parts along the wall include a Pontiac Tri-power intake with factory carbs, an old school 3x2 Offy aluminum intake, and the lockers that were originally used at Goochland High School.
7. The green Harley is a ’57 Panhead that Leigh built from scratch parts in 1973, and it hasn’t changed at all from its rigid frame, suicide shift, and raked wide glide.
Cars not pictured are Andrew’s ’90 Corvette with a TPIS Mini-Rammed 383 and his ’00 Ram Air, six-speed Pontiac T/A. The project the Gordons are looking forward to next is rat-rodding a ’51 Ford F-2 pickup body and framerails. Leigh says, “We’re going to chop everything.”