Our Two Cents: Our ultimate offbeat restomods
Sure, cars like the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro are great candidates for a slick retro-fit to modern powertrains, high-tech suspensions, and all the other bits that make restomodding so popular. But what if you want to get a little weirder? I wanted to see if my co-workers would channel their inner Project Valentino, and consider something akin to the insanity of my restomodding of a Fox-body Lincoln Continental. Even it doesn’t feel that insane after you’ve done all you can to a Fox-body Mustang … but I digress.
Let’s ask our team about their ultimate offbeat restomod: What would they make if they had all the money and labor in the world to create it?
Model T EV
I really think an EV Model T would be so much fun. It doesn’t need to go fast, and technically you only lose the need for the timing adjustment. The throttle lever could be a rheostat and then the driver uses the same three pedals of the stock ‘T. It would be perfect for popping around town. — Kyle Smith
Here’s one that I’ve been pestering Kyle about for a while: a Honda K-series swapped Corvair. Why, you ask?
Honda K-series are the LS equivalent of 4-cylinders and are easy to come by. The Corvair’s transmission requires a counterclockwise rotation engine, and that’s precisely how the K spins its crank. You can keep it simple and build a high-RPM screamer that makes 200–300 hp, which is way more than stock, or you can add a turbo and crank the wick WAAAAAY up for some extra danger. — Greg Ingold
“But, but boxer Subie swap!” — Sajeev Mehta
“Nah, that answer seems too obvious.” — Greg Ingold
A Fighting Fit Boxster
I’ve always thought it’d be fun to build my 986-generation Boxster the way I think it should’ve left the factory. The chassis would be set up as a modern equivalent GTS-spec—more capable than the base cars, but not as stiff as the GT3. Light-weighting with carbon body panels and a front end updated with 996.2 headlights and GT3 front bumper. Expensive leather and stitched interior surfaces to make it feel less budget-oriented. Add in a Mezger 3.6 from that generation GT3. Grab the wheels off the original concept car. And then finish it all off in a subtle ’50s Porsche color like Azure Blue. — Eddy Eckart
A not Lil’ Red Dodge
I had a 1979 full-time four-wheel-drive, short bed, stepside Dodge pickup in red—sort of an anonymous Lil’ Red without the embarrassing side graphics and exhaust pipes. It was during the gas crisis so I got a four-speed manual with the 225 cubic-inch slant-six, thinking it would save me money. It did not.
I got 10 miles per gallon sitting, driving, off-roading: No matter what, it got 10 miles per gallon. Still, I loved that truck and always wondered what it would be like with a proper V-8. I’d drive a restomod version of that pickup every day. — Steven Cole Smith
Already doing it (or I will when I get around to it): EV powertrain in a Lamborghini Espada. The E-Spada if you will. I want one that I can daily drive on short trips, and the gas Espada is singularly terrible for that, what with 17.5 quarts of oil in the engine to warm up. It takes 10 minutes before the oil temp needle is even off the peg, and you can’t really run it hard until the needle moves.
Also, they stink. And leak. The engine is both the best and worst thing about any old Lamborghini. Electrifying is a perfect solution, and with a 100-mile battery, the weight distribution works out about the same as a fully fueled gasser. Got the rolling shell donor, just need the time and money, and for the EV conversion industry to develop a bit more. — Aaron Robinson
I’d pay some angry Corvette purist to build a C8 Corvette with the engine up front. I don’t really think the packaging would allow for a big V-8 beneath that low nose, so maybe I’d spec it with an Iron Duke four or a 13B rotary, just to make that angry purist even angrier. — Stefan Lombard
All Corvettes are red … block.
Stefan, you’ve inspired me. I love Corvettes, and I love 240-series Volvos. I also love Corvette-swapped 240s—but we gotta do something with all those jettisoned Swedish four-cylinders. Lord knows they have a lot of life left in them. (This is true no matter how many miles the engine may have. Any 240 owner will back me up.) Why not a Redblock-swapped Corvette? I’ll be generous to the purists and pick a C4—the least sexy of the breed, and the squarest. — Grace Houghton
Since I am already answering this particular question with my Project Valentino, it’s hard to top what’s currently emptying my wallet. Then I thought of other designer editions, and the Bugatti Veyron Hermès edition is the only thing crazier than what’s currently in the hopper. Unlike the Valentino-fettled Fox-body, I doubt you can squeeze any more out of that Bugatti’s factory engineering, but perhaps more aero would be worth it. I’m thinking a fan in the back like that Chaparral race car.
But wait, there is more power afoot: Gut the powertrain and slam in the EV-guts from the Rimac Nevera. It would chop off a second from the Bugatti’s 0–60 time, be even more silent/train-like than it currently is, and it’d ensure I never deal with camera-laden gawkers at the gas station. Not that I’m famous, but I ain’t got time for that. — Sajeev Mehta