Tim Tebow’s 1995 Ford Thunderbird refurbished by Richard Petty Racing

Above is a feature of Tim Tebow preparing for the NFL Draft after graduating from the University of Florida. Despite playing in front of crowds of 90,000-plus people in The Swamp, winning two national championships and a Heisman Trophy, Mr. Tebow got about Gainesville in a 1995 Ford Thunderbird that cost him $500.

A couple of years later, after signing a lucrative NFL contract, Tebow can afford a far more awesome car, but Petty Racing refused to let the old Thunderbird die.

[Related: Check out another pic of the new Tebow race car]

Thus, Richard Petty’s race team completely redid it in order to support Tebow’s charitable foundation. This via Jacksonville.com:

“It’s hard to believe this incredible car is the same car I paid $500 for and would only start when it felt like it,” said Tebow, who starred at Nease High School. “I have always been a fan of Mr. Petty and I am so thankful for his support of my foundation.”

The full restoration by Petty’s Garage is complete with custom fabrication and high-performance upgrades, including a new body, engine, suspension, brakes, wheels, tires and a brand new interior. Details were put into every aspect of the car, including a new 2012 Ford Coyote 5.0 engine with naturally aspirated 500 horsepower. The car also rolled out last weekend with new Forgeline wheels and Continental Tires. Everything from the front to rear bumpers has that special Petty’s Garage touch.

“We really worked hard on this car for Tim’s foundation,” said Jeff Whaley, vice president of sales and operation at Petty’s Garage. “We wanted to exceed every expectation that the Tim Tebow Foundation had on this build. They have been so wonderful to work with on this joint project.”

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