SEMA says restomods are attracting younger classic car enthusiasts

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Gateway/Roush Performance/Trevor Jolin

The rise of restomods is fueling a younger generation of classic car enthusiasts and paving the way for new automotive business opportunities, SEMA says.

In a report titled “Classic Cars, Modern Markets,” the Specialty Equipment Market Association says “younger classic car owners are more likely to seek a restomod build, with 38 percent of owners under 45 going for a restomod, compared to 22 percent of older owners.”

Restomodding, generally speaking, is customizing older vehicles to include upgraded engines with enhanced performance, increased efficiency, and modern-day comforts. Some restomod companies include Gateway, Icon, and Legacy. Singer, for its part, prefers to call its Porsche 911-based projects “reimaginations.”

Gateway_Restomod_Bronco door open interior
Gateway/Roush Performance/Trevor Jolin

“Classic cars and trucks have been a key part of the specialty automotive aftermarket since it began, and for many people who own older vehicles, fixing them up or modifying them into something new is a passion project that can span decades,” says SEMA Director of Market Research Gavin Knapp. “This report will help businesses understand this unique customer base, how to reach them, and where the current and future opportunities are for the vintage and automotive restoration aftermarket.”

Gateway_Restomod_Bronco wheel tire hub brakes
Gateway/Roush Performance/Trevor Jolin

In addition to younger buyers’ attraction to restomods, SEMA’s report revealed that “a growing number of businesses (62 percent) see restomodding on the rise and, on average, say that half the work they do on classics is part of a restomod job.” In addition, despite loving old-school cars, classic owners are not shy about going online to learn and shop for parts. Not surprisingly, “younger owners are especially prone to learn and shop online.”

Other findings:

  • While 50 percent of owners use their classic vehicles for running errands, classic vehicles are much less likely to be used as commuter vehicles, with 15 percent of classic car owners doing so (compared to 64 percent of the general population).
  • Unrestored 1960s muscle cars and pony cars remain popular barn finds among collectors, but the emerging market for ’70s and ’80s vehicles represent an important opportunity.
  • And 80 percent of classic owners are comfortable doing at least some of the work on their vehicle on their own.

You can download the entire “Classic Cars, Modern Markets” and other SEMA reports for free here.

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