Automotive restomodding is nothing new in 2023, yet it still manages to capture our attention, whenever some multi-million dollar company or group of enthusiasts with genuine ideas and talent come up with something more fascinating than anything you would have seen before. Just in the last year we were introduced to some of the most spectacular restomod examples, such as the BMW Z4 based Smit Oletha, the incredible Singer 911 DLS or the Volvo P1800 Cyan.
What even is restomodding?
If you are one of those people who doesn’t fancy automotive modifications and thinks that their originality is sacred, you might have even missed this whole phenomenon. Essentially, a restomod vehicle can be crafted to different extents, yet the ultimate objective remains the same – a blend of restoration and modification. The modification aspect involves enhancing components to elevate performance, handling, even safety, aesthetics and interior, while also restoring and cherishing the qualities of the chosen vehicle.
And even though all of it might sound complicated and expensive with increasingly more developed and unique restomods coming out, it’s also easier than ever to have your own take on the subject. With careful planning, resource management and some 3D printing here and there, anyone can set off on their restomodding journey.
One of the most crucial parts of restomodding a vehicle is the idea and main point of why you are doing this. Most likely you already have a car that will become your canvas in mind or in your garage, but not all cars are fit for a quality restomod. Everybody has their opinions on this topic, one of them being how sacrilege it is to electrify old muscle cars, as some people actually do. Getting rid of a feisty V8 in a 60s American Muscle means eliminating the whole point of the car, whereas converting a Citroën DS with electric power is a much more logical and interesting move, since the engine is nowhere near the whole point of that car. Your chosen car and finished restomod should never go out of style and have clear values on what it’s supposed to represent. Character, consistency, cohesiveness and a passion driven plan is what will set your restomod apart from everything else.
Your Goal And Budget
Are you aiming for car show accolades, weekend leisure drives, or profit through auctioning? Generally, regular restored vehicles may match or exceed restomod value, unless the restomod in question is of the highest quality and execution, overtaking historic or other values. However, profit prospects will most likely be quite slim. For those seeking a quintessential weekend ride or showstopper, restomodding is a great choice. Restomod enthusiasts span diverse backgrounds, lacking a typical archetype. Despite widespread admiration, not all owners share equal time and financial resources. Restomodding is a genuine and time-consuming process, especially when sourcing original or unique, custom made parts. Specialized assistance can increase expenses, leading to potential frustration, especially if progress is slow. Efficient planning and documentation therefore are very crucial.
Who Is Going To Build It?
You are lucky if you have the skill, tools, premises and most likely friends who can help you build your dream restomod by yourself, but most likely services from various specialists are still going to be needed. When looking for a shop that will help you build your restomod, look for a place with good reputation, that takes pride in their work and pays attention to detail. The restoration professionals should keep you informed about progress, timelines, and any potential issues that may come up. It's also crucial to choose a shop that offers warranty on their provided service for protection against any defects or issues that might surface post-restoration or fabrication.
Describing particular areas of design, appearance and how to execute them within the realm of restomodding is as difficult as describing the Bohemian Rhapsody to a deaf person. However, when talking about the exterior of your restomoded vehicle, it should remain part of your whole idea of what this project should become. More often than not, the exterior isn’t altered too much, since it is usually a big part of the reason why a vehicle was chosen for a restomod project. Therefore, try to maintain the essence, style and beauty of the car, which can be improved with a new paint job, a lowered body, or tasteful improvements like unique design headlights, wheels or custom trim.
Brakes and Suspension
Even small enhancements to the original suspension setup can be significant upgrades for how the vehicle will act on road. Anything that contributes to the improvement of steering, handling, and suspension will be a huge part of how your restomod will be different from the original. Modern coil-over-shock kits, stabilizer links, and custom control arms are great ways of completing this task, not to mention various air ride setups, or magnetic dampers. The tires available today are also much more performance oriented compared to those created even 20 years ago. Opting for high quality suspension parts and tires will unlock great new opportunities for handling and road feel.
Interior and Safety
Updating or creating the interior of your restomod demands meticulous attention to various crucial aspects, each contributing to the overall harmony and visual appeal of the final result. Aesthetic cohesion is very important. Ensuring that your interior seamlessly aligns with the overall theme through thoughtful consideration of color schemes, materials, and design elements. Integrating modern comfort and technology becomes imperative, updates in seating for extended drive comfort, advanced audio systems, and contemporary conveniences. Upholstery, flooring, and interior trims demand premium materials for both visual enhancement and long-term durability. Preserving vintage elements, such as specific dashboard features or gauges, pays homage to the original era of the vehicle. Customization adds a personal touch, be it unique stitching on seats or personalized details, making the restomod distinctly yours.
Power and performance
Any mods that increase the vehicle’s power and performance, engine response, character, or even changing the whole powertrain go here. Some opt for enhancing or even redesigning the original engine, as it is done with “Singerised” Porsches. In a lot of cases, the engine is chosen and sourced as a complete unit from a major manufacturer, for instance the General Motors Ecotec 4 cylinder or the Ford 2,3 liter Ecoboost unit, both of which can be bought as budget friendly crate engines. A classic restomodding solution is obviously the reliable, powerful and compact LS from various generation Chevrolet Corvettes. The world’s your oyster when talking engines, just don’t stray away from your main idea for this project.
Enjoying The Ride
Embarking on the journey of restomodding is a thrilling endeavor that requires a lot of delicate vision, planning, and of course, execution. The art of breathing new life into classic or even near classic vehicles, as we’ve been seeing lately, has demands for a clear understanding of individual goals. We've explored the key considerations, from setting the idea to choosing the right components that align with your vision, but the main thing to remember is that the essence of a successful restomod lies not just in the transformed vehicle but in the fulfillment of the builder's automotive passion, craftsmanship and the timeless allure that classic and restomod cars bring to everyday life.