Restomods - What are they and how are they different from Restorations?
Published on 6/3/2021
Restomods - if you're an enthusiast of classic cars and hot rods, it's a term you've likely heard thrown around a lot. The most simple definition is a classic car or truck restored and modified to include modern technology. The purpose is for the vehicle to be faster, more reliable, handle better, stop better, be safer, have modern conveniences - you know, all those things you want that muscle car to have but didn't come with from the factory back in the 60s or 70s. The dream for many hot rod enthusiasts is to own the perfect "driver", the classic car that has the look and sound of an old-school muscle car but drives, stops and handles more like a modern car. It's difficult to achieve that with older technology.
Think of it like renovating an old house, if you are going to trouble of reviving an old car, do you really want to outfit it with old technology? Would you put old fashioned single pane windows in your old house? How about an old computer, would you rebuild one and put the same amount of memory and hard disk space in it as when it was new? Nope. Unless you're seriously concerned about preserving the originality of an older car, there is almost no reason not to upgrade an old drum brake system to power disc brakes - or add a few modern conveniences (cup holders and phone chargers anyone?) Of course there are always exceptions where it doesn't make sense to go restomod - such as rare models or collectible cars that are worth more preserved in their original gear.
Other more advanced upgrades can involve swapping to a more modern engine or transmission. Some of today's muscle car engines make much more power than those from the old days and they do it more reliably and more cleanly (less emissions and less oil leaks.) A transmission swap could mean changing from a manual to automatic (or vice versa) or adding overdrive in the form of extra gears for much better highway cruising and fuel mileage. Chassis stiffening using frame connectors and torque boxes definitely make an older car feel safer and more modern. Brake and suspension upgrades are always a major improvement. Swapping out carburetors for Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) is a popular enhancement to bring cold and hot start up reliability, consistent idle quality and improved throttle response to your older ride.
For those worried about originality and maintaining the vehicle's value, there are a few simple answers. If you have the storage space, keep the original parts that come off the car. For example, if you have a collectible car with an manual transmission but you drive it a lot and really wanted an automatic, go for it. Just hang on to the old transmission in case you ever need to sell the car or have it appraised. Same goes for original engines, axles, brakes, carburetors, etc. The other thing to consider is that the values of Restomods is at an all time high and climbing according to publicly available auction data.
Consider this, restoring a 1968 Camaro with a six cylinder back to factory spec could cost you four or five times what the car is worth, but dropping an modern LS or Small Block (V8) engine with a modern transmission, suspension and brakes in the car and now you have a ride that is worth something a lot closer to what you have to spend to get it there. And you now have a car that is much safer and more enjoyable to drive - a win win!
No matter how you plan to restore or upgrade your classic car or hot rod, it's important consider upgrades and improvements. Call it a restomod, call it upgraded, either way it's best to consider all of the aforementioned options during the process. The best feeling in the world is to drive a very nicely enhanced and restored classic car that is safer, more powerful, better handling and has more modern features than the days of that car's past. Feel free to reach out to us and discuss any of these options and the best way to get there with your classic car or restoration project.
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