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The Most Beautiful Restomods

1970 Dodge Charger Tantrum (SpeedKore Performance)
iKnowAuto Staff
Vintage and classic cars are awesome! But over time, they don’t always age well. Flaws in the cars construction create expensive and damaging corrosion problems. Outdated suspension and engine designs can make for a slow and boaty ride.

JAN 7, 2019

Since about 5 years after the dawn of the car, there have been car restorers - enthusiasts who recondition a vehicle, back to factory spec. But more recently, we’ve seen a growing number of ‘resto-modders’. These car-nuts will take an old car and restore it, whilst adding tasteful and subtle upgrades to bring the car closer to modern standards. We love this movement! It rescues dilapidated trucks and cars and gives them a whole new lease of life.

Here are the most beautiful restomods we could find:

Alfa Romeo GTA

The Alfa Romeo GTA, a beautiful restomod, was built as a racing car. Alfa Romeo released 500 road going models to meet homologation sanctions. The track going models were hugely successful, securing numerous wins in the Trans-AM championship in the late 60’s and prevailing at the 24 Hours of Francorchamps.

Alfaholics, purveyors of classic Alfa Romeos in the UK for several decades, took a rusty shell from a road-going “Stradale” model, removed all the heavy gauge steel body panels and replaced them with lightweight aluminum panel work.

They also fitted hydraulic power steering and air conditioning but perhaps most importantly, transformed the cars handling and performance with a Monza Twin Spark engine running on 45mm Webers, coupled to a competition LSD axle. The suspension has been brought into this century with adjustable dampers and lightweight struts. The Alfa now sports 6 pot billet brake calipers. The result is subtle but utterly stunning.

David Brown Automotive Makes a Beautiful Restomod, the BMC Mini

I never thought I’d hear those words together. David Brown, for those who don’t know, designed the early Aston Martins, the DB in DB4 standing for, you guessed it, Mr. David Brown. This company, DB Automotive have no connection with the previous Aston Martin owner, but it’s a nice touch.

Extensive alterations have been made, but visually, this car looks like it just cruised here straight from the 1960’s. DBA has achieved the perfect balance of modern enhancements that do not radically alter the cars appearance or styling.

Surprisingly, the DBA Mini is fitted with the same plucky 1275cc, 78hp engine. DBA has added a five-gearbox, for a quieter highway journey. But it’s the interior where you’ll notice the most re-working. The passenger compartment is now nothing short of sheer luxury. A classy combination of leathers mingle with a modern in-car-entertainment system and it even has AC. The DBA Mini is on offer starting at $60,000, with higher-end models tipping the scale at $90,000. Cheap? No, but charm-laden.

1981 Ferrari 512 BB Boxer Restomod

This 1981 Ferrari 512 BB Boxer is the perfect example of a beautiful restomod. You’d think restomodding a Ferrari would be like washing a cheeseburger down with champagne, but done right, it can really enhance the original car.

Historically, Ferraris aren’t lacking in the power department, but Carobu Engineering managed to extract more brawn from the 5 liters, 12 bore boxer engine. This was done to give modern sports car performance but retain the stock engine look.

Due to 15” wheels, the company was limited to a choice of just one tire offering from Michelin. A decision was made to fit larger 17” rims, improving the handling but also increasing the tire selection options. The finished car is modest and timeless.

1970 Dodge Charger “Tantrum”

SpeedKore Performance, of Port Washington, Wisconsin has built this beautiful restomod and turned it into a beast. Somehow, Tantrum isn’t the right word. Try Meltdown.

Externally, the Tantrum still looks like the low slung, coke bottle waist Dodge. However, upon closer inspection, it’s obvious this is no normal 70’s muscle car. To start, most of the external body has been remade from carbon fiber. And the result is breathtaking.

The front grille is a CNC one-off, milled from a 72-inch solid billet of aluminum.

Under the hood is where things really start to get crazy. In place of a traditional Viper V10 swap or a modern Hemi, you’ll find, a marine engine! The engine is supplied by Mercury Marine and is a 9.0 liter, twin-turbocharged, 1650 bhp sea monster! To handle all that power, SpeedKore chose a bulletproof Tremec T56 6 speed and of course, the cockroach of the auto world, the Ford 9 Inch axle. The Tantrum doesn’t have a 0-60 time listed, probably because they are worried about shearing all landmass eastward of Wisconsin into a new continent.

Miata Powered MG LE50

This beautiful restomod was built as a tribute to MGB’s 50th Anniversary, Frontline Development took a classic coupe body shell and engineered in a modern drivetrain and suspension set-up. Gone is the feeble 1.8 gasoline engine that came with the car, in its place sits a 2.0 liter, 4 pot supplied by Mazda. Also missing is the factory fitted, ungainly 4-speed transmission with overdrive, replaced by a 6-speed modern gearbox. The interior has been completely re-designed from scratch, with swathes of hand-formed plush leather and extreme soundproofing. This is the definition of restomodding! Yours for $77k.

Jeep FC150

The Jeep FC150 is an iconic but underloved vehicle, but nonetheless made into a beautiful restomod. Produced from 1956 to 1965, some say the modern minivan is derived from the FC150 blueprints. 

 The original FC150s had tiny 2.2 Hurricane F4 engines. Recently, Jeeps’ lead designer convinced the company to buy an FC150 and restomod it. They dropped the body onto a 2005 Wrangler TJ frame and fitted with a 4 liter I6. The truck has a 3-speed auto and Dana 44 axles. Off-roads, it’s pretty unstoppable. We think this looks superb and it’s a shame that the FC150 wasn’t developed further. 

The Restomod is here to stay

Restoring and modernizing classic cars is a mindset that won’t go away. As we’ve seen, it’s possible to create classy, tasteful, automotive masterpieces. What are some of your favorite restomods? Let us know in the comments.