The Rise of the Restomod Market: Comparing Popular Classic Car Modifications

The Rise of the Restomod Market: Comparing Popular Classic Car Modifications

The classic car market has long been a haven for enthusiasts who cherish the timeless aesthetics and driving experiences of bygone eras. However, in recent years, a new trend has emerged: the rise of the restomod. These meticulously crafted vehicles blend the best of both worlds, meticulously restoring the classic look of a beloved car while subtly integrating modern performance enhancements and creature comforts. This fusion has not only revitalized the classic car scene but also attracted a new generation of enthusiasts seeking a unique driving experience.

This article delves into the burgeoning restomod market, exploring the key factors driving its popularity and comparing some of the most popular modifications undertaken by restomod enthusiasts.

Why Restomods are Gaining Traction

Several factors are propelling the restomod market forward:

  • Shifting Demographics: The traditional classic car collector base is aging. Restomods, with their improved performance and modern amenities, cater to a younger generation of enthusiasts who appreciate vintage aesthetics but prioritize drivability and comfort.
  • Technological Advancements: Modern technology offers a treasure trove of options for restomod builders. From fuel-efficient engines and improved suspension systems to upgraded braking and infotainment setups, these advancements allow for significant performance and comfort upgrades without sacrificing the classic look.
  • Environmental Concerns: The "electromod" trend is gaining traction, with enthusiasts converting classic cars to electric powertrains. This not only reduces emissions but also offers a unique and exhilarating driving experience.
  • Investment Potential: Restomods can be seen as a sound investment, especially for iconic and rare classic cars. The combination of classic aesthetics and modern performance can significantly enhance a car's value.

Restomods encompass a wide range of modifications, catering to various preferences and budgets. Here's a look at some of the most popular areas of focus:

  • Engine and Drivetrain: Swapping the original engine for a more powerful and fuel-efficient modern unit is a common restomod practice. This not only improves performance but also enhances reliability. Upgrading the transmission to a modern automatic or a performance-oriented manual further elevates the driving experience.
  • Suspension and Handling: Replacing the original suspension system with modern coilovers or adjustable struts allows for a more comfortable and controlled ride. Upgraded sway bars and bushings further sharpen handling, making the car more responsive and predictable.
  • Braking System: Replacing the original drum brakes with modern disc brakes is a crucial safety upgrade. High-performance brake pads and rotors provide superior stopping power, ensuring confidence behind the wheel.
  • Wheels and Tires: Upgrading to wider wheels and modern high-performance tires enhances the car's stance and grip. This not only improves handling but also creates a more aggressive aesthetic.
  • Interior Comfort and Convenience: Restomods often incorporate modern amenities like air conditioning, heated seats, and upgraded sound systems. Digital instrument clusters can be seamlessly integrated to provide essential driving information while maintaining a classic look. Integrating modern infotainment systems with Bluetooth connectivity and navigation further enhances the driving experience.

Several classic car models have become particularly popular platforms for restomods:

  • Ford Mustang: The iconic Mustang is a perennial favorite for restomods. From early first-generation models to later iterations, enthusiasts have a vast canvas to work with. Upgraded engines, modern suspension systems, and bespoke interiors are just some of the ways enthusiasts personalize their Mustangs.
  • Porsche 911: Renowned for its timeless design and exceptional handling, the Porsche 911 is a prime candidate for restomods. Restomod builders often focus on preserving the car's iconic silhouette while subtly upgrading the engine for increased power and refinement. Modern suspension systems and braking components further elevate the driving experience.
  • Nissan Skyline/GT-R: A legend in the performance car world, the Nissan Skyline/GT-R is a popular platform for restomods that prioritize raw power and exhilarating performance. Restomod builders often swap the original engines for high-performance modern units, while upgraded suspension, brakes, and aggressive body kits complete the transformation.
  • Land Rover Defender: The Land Rover Defender is a beloved off-road icon. Restomods for the Defender often focus on enhancing its off-road prowess with upgraded suspension systems, winches, and off-road tires. Modern amenities like air conditioning and improved sound systems can also be incorporated without sacrificing the car's rugged aesthetic.
  • BMW 2002: The sporty and nimble BMW 2002 is a popular platform for restomods that prioritize driver engagement. Restomod builders often focus on weight reduction, upgraded suspension systems, and more powerful engines, creating a thrilling driving experience that pays homage to the car's racing heritage.

The Future of Restomods

The restomod market is poised for continued growth, driven by several factors:

  • Accessibility: As technology becomes more affordable and readily available, restomods will become accessible to a wider range of enthusiasts. The emergence of aftermarket parts specifically designed for popular restomod platforms will further streamline the process.
  • Customization: The ability to personalize a restomod to individual preferences is a major draw. From subtle performance upgrades to extensive overhauls, enthusiasts can create a car that truly reflects their tastes and driving style.
  • Sustainability: The electromod trend is likely to gain even more traction as electric vehicle technology continues to evolve. Restomods with electric powertrains offer a unique blend of classic aesthetics, exhilarating performance, and environmental consciousness.

However, there are also challenges to consider:

  • Preservation Concerns: Some purists argue that restomods compromise the historical significance of classic cars. It's important to strike a balance between modernization and preserving the car's original character.
  • Skilled Labor: Restomods require a high level of craftsmanship and expertise. As the market grows, the demand for skilled restoration specialists and mechanics will increase.
  • Regulation: Depending on the extent of modifications, some restomods may face regulatory hurdles related to emissions or safety standards.


The restomod market offers a unique and exciting way to experience the best of both worlds: the timeless aesthetics of classic cars and the performance and amenities of modern vehicles. As technology advances and customization options become more abundant, restomods are likely to become even more popular. However, it's crucial to find a balance between modernization and preserving the historical significance of these iconic vehicles. Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or just discovering the world of classic cars, restomods offer a compelling proposition: a chance to own a piece of automotive history with the drivability and comfort to match your modern lifestyle.

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