I recently met with a builder that had just completed a 63 “Split Window” Corvette Stingray; the car was an awesome display of muscle, then he tells me that the car has a full 2006 Z06 under carriage, chassis, and suspension. He describes how it performs like a new ‘Vette and gets 27 (MPG) miles per gallon. Now to me that sounds exciting to know that this car has classic looks but will drive and handle like a new car with more modern technologies. I imagine that there are the purists out there reading this article that will cry “foul” and say this is not how a classic sports car should be treated.
But hold on before you throw this resto-mod crowd under the bus. What’s wrong with a muscle car with modern car flair…….Isn't that taking a classic and making it better??
I understand that the true “old school” collector wants to restore the timeless classic to an all original condition and try their best to find period correct or OEM (Original equipment manufacturer) parts to bring their baby back to its original state. Sometimes a car or truck cannot be restored to original condition and that is prime time for a resto-mod. Many times a barn find is simply missing too many parts or they have rusted away with time. Before we go much further, let’s define “resto-mod”: a combination of the words “restore” and “modify”, which is a perfect way to describe what takes place. The builder/collector decides to fully restore a vehicle but to modify it to meet his or her taste. During this rebuild, it’s the perfect time to upgrade some of the parts and make the car more like new. There are many after-market vendors out there today who cater to the builder who is looking for newer technology, ways to make their car handle like todays newer sports car, and provide a safer ride as well. Another added bonus to this type of build is the quality and reliability of the newer parts.
These resto-mod builds can range from mild to wild and it basically depends on how deep your wallet is. You can just add a few suspension goodies or install a whole new drivetrain and power plant! The possibilities are endless and can reach as far as your imagination takes you. I've recently seen some wild combinations that deserve a second look. The crate engine packages that Ford and Chevy offer these days make it simple to drop instant power and torque into your ride.
In just the last few years there are companies offering retooled sheet metal that give you a giant leap forward in your build. For instance, Dynacorn International Inc. now offers steel replacement body shells and chrome trim pieces for the classic Mustang and Camaro that will simplify your project and save you hours of labor and sweat!
I’m not trying to sway you away from restoring your favorite classic hot rod and bringing that “numbers matching” classic back to life, but if you find a non-original vehicle that is calling your name, then consider a resto-mod and make it your own. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing a fully restored classic in its original condition because it has that fresh off the showroom look and can give you a sense of what the car looked like when it was new. However, it is always cool to see a 67 Camaro with a LS7 Corvette engine, all new gauges, and a Z06 suspension or 67 Mustang with a 429 Crate engine and custom exhaust system under it.
Hopefully I've given you some insight on your next build or maybe you have been inspired to consider a resto-mod project, but just remember whatever you do, make it your own and enjoy the journey along the way.