- The Eagle Lightweight GT

The rapidly evolving restomod - Out with the old and in with, well, the old?

It may be a relatively new phenomenon, but the humble restomod is evolving faster than a million-year-old fish out of water.

1y ago

It may be a relatively new phenomenon, but the humble restomod is evolving faster than a million-year-old fish out of water.

If you’ve been living under a Citroen Picasso for the last few years and aren’t quite clued up with the definition, a restomod is what you get when you blend an old car with newfangled gubbins. Think of it like your nan, but with the internals of Conor McGregor - sure she looks like a classic, but push the right buttons and she’ll roundhouse you into a different dimension.

I’m quite fond of my nan, she’s pretty great and I wouldn’t change her for the world. I would, however, pay good money for her to square up to Floyd Mayweather with a legitimate fighting chance - maybe that’s why I’m so keen on the restomod.

The Redux BMW E30 M3

The Redux BMW E30 M3

Out with the old and in with, well, the old?

An old car feels different to a new one.

Step inside and you’re immediately aware that you’re taking up less room on the road, there’s more glass so you can see more, there are different smells, different sensations and it feels different.

But, overall, old cars are all a little bit rubbish. It’s not their fault, it’s just the way it is with the rapid progression of automotive tech, but it’s that feel that all the tech in the world just cannot match.

With safety regulations and all the rest of it, the so-called golden era of the car has well and truly gone. But instead of leaving this old gold to be either outgunned by a Toyota Yaris or be destined for a life in a shed hoarding dust and spiders, the solution of restomodding becomes increasingly tempting.

We’ve got all this new technology - fantastic tyres, incredible brakes, exotic materials and all the rest of it - so why don’t we update these golden-era cars to rival the new metal on the roads.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

More than just fettling in a shed

The idea of modifying a car isn’t anything new and people have been fettling in sheds around the world since the dawn of petrol.

But there’s more to a restomod than just banging in a bigger motor and a body kit that the average Max Power reader would swoon over. A restomod is about updating the car’s technology, but ultimately improving the original features and the original feel of the car.

If you take a MK1 Escort, for example, and you take it out with big dreams of how it’ll drive, you will, ultimately be disappointed. But if you take that to some restomodding experts along with a hefty pile of cash, they can build that car into the dream you’ve always had. It’ll be updated with later technology and it will still feel like a MK1 escort, but the end result will be so much more.

It’s hard to quantify feel and, as everyone’s is inherently different, no two opinions are really the same - perhaps that’s why the restomod is so captivating. There’s nothing to say that one build is better than another because it’s entirely personal in a way which new cars simply cannot be.

The art of the restomod is quite simply that - a work of functional, driveable art. It’s a blend of engineering and creativity that, as a petrolhead, is hard to beat.

The Porsche 911: Reimagine by Singer

The Porsche 911: Reimagine by Singer

It starts with a Singer

There are few petrol nerds on the planet who aren’t aware of the California-based company Singer and for good reason too.

The high-end Porsche hot-rodders have deservingly built a global presence over the last decade and it’s quickly spiralled into something I don’t think that anyone was expecting. The effortless blend of old and new combined with an outrageous 6, or in some cases, 7 figure pricetag generates unfathomed volumes of want that tickles fettlers in all the right places.

What Singer got right that many builders, hotrodders and restomodders got wrong was their entire philosophy. Their approach that “Everything is Important”. It’s a simple message, but it speaks volumes in the final product and it’s forced the rest of the tuning and modifying world to recalibrate.

From the subtle, but vital tweaked body shape, to the exquisite material usage both inside and out - everything is taken care of and everything works impeccably.

An explosion of new activity

From seeing the success of the Singer business model, countless companies and custom shops have jumped aboard the restomodding train, all excitingly adding their touch to their chosen vehicles.

The Porsche 911 has become the number one go-to old car to pull apart and piece back together, but there’s a library of other ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s silhouettes quickly coming together. From the Eagle E-Type to the Redux E30 M3, it’s safe to say that we’ll soon have access to an impressive selection of brand new old cars.

To say that I'm excited is a drastic understatement. Let's just hope that petrol isn't criminalised anytime soon.

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Comments (14)

  • Good article but this did not start with Singer. Eagle were restomodding E Types long before Singer started on 911's as were Alfaholics with Alfa 105's. What perhaps Singer did differently was market their cars as an aliternative to a new 911 (or Porsche Supercar) rather than just the buyers of an old one who wanted it upgraded.

      1 year ago
    • I think you’re bang on the money there - I think Singer were the first to really put the idea on map but by no means were they the first.

      They get a lot of praise in the industry but it wasn’t a new idea - it’s just presented in a whole new way and in an...

      Read more
        1 year ago
    • Funny thing is I went to the Singer London launch a few years back and was distinctly unimpressed with the car. While it looked great on the surface some of the interior materials didn't look like they would last very long. It didn't help that...

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        1 year ago
  • I did a series of restomod battles in my posts... By far, Singer won each one. I like the Mechatronik though.

      1 year ago
  • Hate to bearer of reality - but Boyd Coddington became a Millionaire on the success aspect; and gained fame with the old-time concept of RestoMods.

    Boyd left Earth in 2008...

    Chip Foos is another LONG-TIME RestoMod person.

    Ken Miles was known for his RestoMod daily driver.

    To name but a few...

    Did you research your article perchance?

      1 year ago
    • Coddington and Foose obviously contributed massively - but I’m not sure how many people in the street could tell you of what they have done.

      I think Singer really forced restomodding into the mainstream and, for me at least, showed that...

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        1 year ago
  • Old cars seemed to have much more character than newer ones, well some anyway, so Restomods do it for me!

      1 year ago
  • Some of my fav’s have been the alphaholic’s cars and a Lancia delta integrale that although costs over $200k seemed like a perfect ride.

      1 year ago