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Resto-Mods. Choose Wisely Grasshopper.

If you have tuned in to Speed Channel, Discovery Channel or A&E you have seen evidence that pure unmolested collectible cars are starting to lose the public interest. The new crop of resto-mods and complete customs are stealing the attention of individuals who are looking for something different.

Companies like Speedster Motor Cars and K.A.R Auto Group are gaining market share by combining the best of both worlds: old car styling and modern conveniences like air conditioning and power seats. Other companies are recreating cars that are just not available in the market at any price. Got to love entrepreneurship.

Further evidence of this trend was spearheaded by Ford with the GT and the retooled Mustang. GM is a bit late to market but the new Camaro looks fun. Again the magic formula old lines with modern conveniences and yes I did repeat myself.

Even the car shows and concours events have a resto-mod category. Check this event out. One huge factor that contributes to the market change is the unavailability of original parts...thanks to town ordinances and the EPA crack down on salvage yards. Foreign reproduction parts shown at SEMA just do not make the grade.

Buying a Resto-Mod or Custom

Buyer beware. Unless you're a restoration professional or a well-seasoned collector it can be difficult to evaluate the level of workmanship and quality of base parts and components used. Body work and a nice paint job can cover many imperfections. You may never find out what is underneath until you have a fender bender.

Resale
The great thing about a customized vehicle or resto-mod is that you can add any option, color combination or widget your heart desires. The problem comes when you decide to sell. You need to find the right person with similar tastes and pockets almost as deep as yours. Yup you guessed it, "The proverbial needle in a haystack." Oh, did I mention be prepared in most cases to take a loss and in some cases a huge loss? The best way to look at it is "I had fun with my pride and joy and the bath I am taking now is just the cost of owning a customized car." Sounds a bit like buying a boat doesn't it? Been there, done that and got the t-shirt!

Remember: do your homework; ask lots of questions; choose carefully.
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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Good points! Value of these cars is tied *entirely* to the quality of the workmanship and the quality of the components used.

    I have no problem with modifying mass-production old cars, like say a '65 Mustang coupe---there are a gazillion of them out there. Or even a plain-jane 67 Camaro...by all means stuff in a big block and modern transmission and brakes.

    The only time I draw the line on resto-mods is when people chop up a very rare car, because then it is lost to history....well, I'll even qualify THAT....a rare car that people also CARE about....nobody much cares what you do to yet another "rare" 4-door Studebaker.

    MODERATOR

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,710
    Like when some semi-custom Packard etc gets lowered, tacky wire wheels, a metalflake paint job, and a Chevy 350.

    I wonder how many original 32-33-34 Ford V8s are left.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Well if it's an old 4-door Packard 6 cylinder car, that wouldn't be so bad. Nobody much wants those anymore. But a straight 8 coupe, yeah, that would be a crime.

    I rarely see original 30s Fords anymore---they were being chopped up when they were nearly NEW--LOL! The whole rod-custom industy/hobby was born with the first Ford V-8s....in fact the whole idea of "collecting old cars" originated with the Ford people. In the 1950s/60s, nobody saved old cars except the Ford nuts.

    It was only after domestic cars became so awful that people started looking back to the wonderful styling and fun built into older cars (this started late 70s, early 80s).

    MODERATOR

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,710
    I've seen butchered Packard touring sedans, a 34 roadster (!), resto-rod Pierce Arrows, many torn apart Airflows and early Zephyrs...it's amazing what people will do.

    When I say an original Ford, I mean one that isn't chopped and de-fendered and running a newer engine. Period performance mods are cool, but these flamboyant 70s and 80s customs get kind of tiresome. I think most of them have been rodded. From what I've seen in Hemmings, the originals do being good money though, as much as the rods.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Great money for originals. But the rods are often as not just bolt-on stuff.

    You can get good money for a 30s Ford rod if it's done by a well-known builder and if the workmanship is outstanding. Otherwise, all those bolt-on "catalog" rods are the same price...$25,000 to $35,000 no matter how much you put into it.

    MODERATOR

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,710
    I've seen over the past decade that period rods - done in the 50s - are very desireable. I am sure some of that speed equipment can be rare and valuable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Oh yes, period rods can be quite valuable, but again, not just some cobbled up rat rod.

    MODERATOR

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Does anyone else watch Overhaulin' and wish they would occasionally keep the Rally wheels or something similar on a car instead of putting 20"s on everything?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    I always wonder if these cars just fall apart after being assembled by maniacs popping leapers all night.

    MODERATOR

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    I was in Scottsdale-Phoenix for auction week and saw quite a few resto-mods that were spoiled by oversized, over-chromed wheels.

    I hate chrome wheels, always have, always will.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • I totally agree.Taking a car & rodding it or resto-modding it is fine.Sticking huge ,ugly wheels because HE thinks it 's a great look,is just wrong.the Huge wheel thing needs to die off already.To put all that time& money into a car,then putting it on 2os,makes it look cheesy&plain dumb
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I hate chrome wheels, always have, always will

    In general, I agree with you. I don't like the look of chromed aluminum wheels. However, sometimes I like chromed steel wheels (what a concept, STEEL wheels).

    The good thing about the current giant-wheel phase is that it is easily reversible.

    james
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    It doesn't make any difference to me if chromed wheels are alloy or steel, I don't even particularly like the optional chromed wires on classic sports cars.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    I *particularly* don't like chromed wire wheels on classic sports cars...makes the car look totally cheesy...it's the "oversized rhinestone on the finger" syndrome.

    MODERATOR

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,350
    What if you wanted to choose on a whim? I mean, I have always thought that, for instance, the mid-'60s Buick Skylarks were pretty cars; not classic or even wonderful cars, but pretty. Even weirder, I kind of like the styling of the 4-door hardtops. If I had money to burn I might like to put a modern drivetrain, modern suspension, modern brakes, etc. into one and drive it around. Going further back, I might even do something like that to a '55 or '56 Ford Fairlane. Any other nut cases out there who have some off-beat car they would like to resto-mod?

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    If I could afford someone to drive me around, I'd put a Northstar drivetrain into a 1946-
    49 Cadillac Series 75.

    Nobody makes Limos with this kind of class (or headroom) anymore>

    image

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Jay Leno does that all the time.

    Resto-mods are fun, and I've driven quite a few of them. They can drive and handle really well if you know what you are doing. The only problem is that you'd better hold onto it forever because it's going to cost a lot to do right, and you'll never, ever see your money out of one again. You'll only get back .25 cents on your dollar, if you're lucky.

    MODERATOR

This discussion has been closed.