Amid the news of muscle car wars in Detroit, emerging hypercars hitting 300 miles per hour or more in Europe, and electric vehicles taking over the automotive industry, the world for gearheads continues to develop day in and day out. Technology seems to have accelerated the pace at which cars get better and better, making four-figure horsepower stats commonplace, rendering 0-60 times almost irrelevant, and real-world MPG estimates a joke.
But even as the car world has moved forward by leaps and bounds, there's still something special about a classic or vintage collectible. The only problem is that classic and vintage cars are slow, uncomfortable, and unreliable. Enter the world of restomods, where creative builders bring old classics into the modern era with powerful drivetrain swaps, exterior design changes, and revamped interiors complete with all the amenities of a brand-new car.
But not all restomods are created equal. Keep scrolling for 8 beautiful restomod builds and 8 that missed the point of the original.
16. Perfect Project: Purple Is The Color Of Royalty
This restomodded Ford Mustang looks absolutely stunning in a dark purple with silver racing stripes. Everything about the Fastback body style here is enhanced by little touches like wheels (that aren't too big) and clean details that hearken back to Carroll Shelby's original groundbreaking Shelby Mustangs. Even the ride height is just right.
15. Perfect Project: Jaguar Of Dreams
Jaguar has arguably never made an ugly car (outside of some of the sedans that came out in the 2000s, maybe), though the company has long struggled with reliability issues. One way to help with that is a ground-up restomod project like seen above, which features some seriously clean lines and an American V8 under the hood, too.
14. Perfect Project: Not Dom's Charger
In the Fast and Furious franchise, Dom's Charger gets wilder and wilder with every movie, all the way to the mid-engined, all-wheel-drive ice racer status. But this earlier 1967 Charger looks just about perfect—those wheels border on over-the-top but the fat rubber at the back helps the stance come together perfectly.
13. Perfect Project: Fiat Should Have Done This
The Fiat X1/9 is a divisive model that some people just love to hate. But no one should get riled up about this restomodded example. Sure, it's lacking the smooth lines of many restomod projects, but the X1/9 was always a strange, angular little mid-engined sports car, so a JDM-style build actually suits the form well.
12. Perfect Project: Singing Praises
via Oracle Time
Singer Vehicle Design of Sun Valley, California, has emerged as perhaps the world's pre-eminent restomodding company. Singer takes Porsches and transforms them into modern supercars with performance that is downright scary, interiors that are sumptuous and yet sporty, and price tags that truly boggle the mind. Singer basically turns Porsches into the best possible version they can be.
11. Perfect Project: The Ultimate Driving Machine
BMW has simply lost its sense of historicity recently, as the company's cars get bigger, heavier, and number. Arguably the best Bimmer ever made was the E30-generation M3, which paired a screaming four-banger with a perfect exterior and nimble handling. But a restomodded E30 M3 like this one just ups the ante into the realm of perfection, thanks to wider wheels and hopefully a bit more power under the hood.
10. Perfect Project: Chop-Top Lancia
via CAR Magazine
Lancia might be a relatively unknown automaker here in the United States, but the rest of the world knows all about the company that invented the V engine and dominated rally racing with the Integrale. Lancia's early cars, like this Aurelia, were gorgeous—and this outlaw-style build on the Aurelia's perfect lines just came out great.
9. Perfect Project: Alfaholics
via Top Gear
Alfaholics makes, without a doubt, the best Alfa Romeo restomods on the planet. The UK-based builders even just revealed a full carbon-fiber body for the iconic GTV, though that build remains a ways off. For now, the Alfaholics GTA-R 290 will just have to do, with a stronger engine, lightweight body panels, and revised suspension to transform a GTV into a stone-cold stunner.
8. Ruined: Humpback Whale
This AMC Javelin restomod might be powerful and potent, but the truth of the matter is that it just looks bad. The terrible color choice only serves to highlight the car's strange proportions. The enormous hood helps this Javelin look like a bloated humpback whale that's going to crush the thin spokes on those wheels and pop the low-profile tires.
7. Ruined: Should Be Outlawed
via Bless This Stuff
Outlaw Porsches are an entire class of restomod builds to themselves, though not all of them come out looking great. This build—courtesy of Rod Emory, one of the most famous outlaw Porsche builders out there—loses the elements that make a 356 so amazing. Instead of clean lines and nimble tossability, it's just got way too much going on.
6. Ruined: A Calling Card Of Sorts
Sometimes, body shops and vehicle customization specialists need to build a restomod that simply draws attention—and this Mustang proves the old adage that no press is bad press. It's even been nicknamed the "Calling Card" because it looks so radical and is sure to turn heads at any car meet, even if it's for all the wrong reasons.
5. Ruined: Rodeo Drive
via The Drive
The Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air has a mystique to it that comes from Will Smith's TV show, the wide range of celebs that live there, and Rodeo Drive being right nearby. But Rodeo Drive is a terrible place where the world's gaudiest brands sell ridiculously expensive products to the world's most plasticine people. This Chevy Bel Air would be more at home Rodeo Drive now that it's had a lot of work done.
4. Ruined: If It Ain't Broke
A second-generation split-window Corvette Stingray can be one of the most awesome cars on the road, though this restomod went too far and reached a point where it's lost much of what made the original, aggressive design so awesome. Those wheels are too big, the tires too thin, and the front end just looks too busy and takes away from the Stingray aura.
3. Ruined: Never A Good Idea
via Resurrection Muscle Cars
Simply put, it's never a good idea to put yellow rims on a car. Even a Volkswagen Beetle in yellow looks bad over yellow wheels, so there's no chance a bright yellow Camaro like this restomod will ever be able to pull off the gimmick. Perhaps the builder just like Transformers, but Bumblebee would not approve of this project.
2. Ruined: Destroyed Classic
via Yahoo Finance
The De Tomaso Pantera was an awesome car to look at throughout its long production run. But this restomod project proves that not everyone who has the time, money, and skill to produce a clean build should be allowed to do so. The exterior just looks all wrong and almost flimsy—not something anyone wants to hear about their Italian-American thoroughbred.
1. Ruined: The Ultimate Parking Machine
BMW began proving to the world that it could build premier sports cars with the 2002, a nimble little sedan that was tossable, relatively powerful, and great to look at. This restomodded 2002, however, now looks like it's going to rub its fender flares right off if it accelerates, brakes, or turns—so it'll just have to sit around looking silly forever, apparently.
Sources: Alfaholics, Mustang and Fords, LA Times, and Wikipedia.