Classic Cars Meet Modern Tech in Today’s Restomods

It’s the new approach that’s changing the restoration scene

by | Jul 10, 2019 | Restoration

Photo Credit: Elias Garcia

Classic Cars Meet Modern Tech in Today’s Restomods

It’s the new approach that’s changing the restoration scene

by | Jul 10, 2019 | Restoration

Photo Credit: Elias Garcia

The latest craze in the automotive world is restomods, or rebuilding classic cars using modern materials and technologies. This isn’t new in the world of restoring classic cars, but it’s the new approach that’s changing the restoration scene. Typically, restoration shops will intake a variety of makes and models and then they’ll restore the car to your liking. Afterward, they move on to the next project that rolls through their doors – often a completely different type of car.

With new restomod shops, the company will choose a single make and model to work on and specialize in only that type of vehicle. They choose a model that stands out for performance, style, or a heightened emotional attachment from its owners. It must be a car that will tug at people’s heart strings – and their wallets.

Recent advances in technology and model developments have created a successful environment for restomod companies. Developments in carbon fiber alone have reduced overall car weight and improved all aspects of vehicle performance. If the original manufacturers had used carbon fiber, the cost of the car would have been astronomical. Even though carbon fiber still comes with a hefty price tag today, its relative price has decreased enough that it can be more widely used.

In addition to carbon fiber applications, engine technology has also improved significantly over the years. Many of the restomod models of today originally came with carbureted engines. Now the same manufacturers offer modern, fuel injected crate engines that are much more powerful and efficient. With engine mounting points remaining the same through generations many of the new engines simply drop into these restomods.

Restomod Engine of a Singer Porsche

Of course one of the biggest technological advancements increasing the feasibility of restomods is 3D computer scanning and printing. With 3D printing now accessible at the consumer level, restomod shops can create a 3D prototype of a part to aid the decision making process before money is spent producing it on a CNC machine. Some cars have decades worth of research and development, which has uncovered some weaker points of certain cars and how to improve them.

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Singer Vehicle Design is one of the companies to bring this craze to the forefront. The company was one of the first to implement many of the above listed practices. Their base is the 964 variant of the Porsche 911. They begin by replacing every fender, front and rear hoods, and bumpers with lightweight carbon fiber versions. Next, the engine is reworked using an improved design that starts from the intake, making its way through the internal components, and ending with the exhaust. Once the engine improvements are made, the suspension, brakes, and wheels are upgraded. After all the performance improvements have been completed, Singer moves on to the aesthetics, as the restomods must look the part. The Singer cars have modern interiors with a nod to their 60’s and 70’s styling inspiration. The end result is a Porsche in shape, but with an exterior that clearly shows that it is more than just another car off the assembly line.

Whether a Porsche, or a Mustang, or another model, these cars that have been through a restomod have had a massive overhaul, one that takes tons of time, energy, skill, and, of course, money. The investment does not come cheap.

Restomods require a business model with a long term game in mind. These shops do not receive their cars from customers, nor do they receive funding at the start of the project. Additionally, it may take up to a year to complete a restomod, if not longer. It’s not a business model that makes sense until you factor in, once again, technological advancement. In this case, it’s advances in communication and marketing that have made this business model possible.

Interior of a Restomod Singer Porsche

Social media influencers put these cars on millions of screens worldwide. The prototype model car selected becomes the face of the company, rather than the actual person behind it. Mix this in with recognition from some of the world’s biggest car enthusiasts such as Jay Leno and Chris Harris, then there is no need to hire a traditional sales team. Needless to say, these cars come with a price tag that can range upwards of six figures, while some have even exceeded the million dollar mark, and are only within reach of a select few.

That’s what makes these restomod companies so successful— or at least it may seem that way. They’ve invested the time and money to produce a high end product, without cutting corners, to target their specific market. It’s the limited production numbers that makes this market appealing to collectors and those who resell cars for profit.

With more and more companies following this lucrative business model, we do not see the restomod trend going away. Which car will be the next popular restomod? I look forward to the next design trend!

Fuel Tank of a Restomod Singer Porsche

Restomod Singer Porsche

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