Here are 20 of the best restomods of 2020
Old looks, new hearts: check out what 2020 had to offer in the world of restorations
Gateway Ford Bronco
As Singer is to the 911, so Gateway is to the Bronco. And at the start of 2020 we first got news of its intentions to fit the rather excellent old Bronco with a Roush-tuned Ford 5.0-litre V8. These are very good intentions.
Coupled with a ten-speed automatic gearbox, Gateway’s Bronco promised some 460bhp and a 0-60mph time of less than five seconds. Which is… alarming pace, really.Advertisement - Page continues below
Legacy Overland Toyota Land Cruiser
We’re suckers for old brutes with massive V8s, and thus were entirely smitten upon hearing news of this, a 5.7-litre GM V8-powered FJ40. The secret heart transplant comes courtesy of Legacy Overland, who also deemed it prudent to update the FJ’s brakes, steering, suspension and tyres.
Why secret? Because by looking at it, you’d never tell it had gone all Ship of Theseus. Indeed, it looks pretty much identical to how it rolled off the factory floor back in ’82.
E-Type UK’s um, Jaguar E-Type
Red lippy aside, this is less a restomod in the sense of ‘shove an enormous modern V8 in there’, more a case of meticulously going over a car that had been sedentary for 40 years. We empthasise.
British E-Type restoration outfit – handily dubbed E-Type UK – stripped the entire thing, sandblasted it, replaced bits of the floor, fitted better brakes, modded the 3.8-litre sixer, and stuck on a sports exhaust and new five-speed ‘box.
But also, red lippy.Advertisement - Page continues below
Mercedes-Benz Classic’s 600 Pullman
One of the most extraordinary limousines of all time, here treated to a restoration befitting its status. Mercedes-Benz Classic spent seven years and €3m retrofitting the Grosser’s interior with one from the Maybach 62. Step forward then, electric heated seats, a fridge, champagne flutes, even a full-size television. There are diamonds in the roof lining, a new surround sound system and enough leather to start a factory.
Icon’s Ford Ranger
Getting a warm, fuzzy feeling? Us too. Icon – known to do wonderful things with Broncos – decided what a 1970 Ford Ranger needed was a brand-new 5.0-litre V8 and 426bhp. Good decision. Upgraded suspension, tyres, brakes and power steering were also thrown into the mix to create one of the coolest pick-ups we’ve seen.
Legacy Classic Trucks’ Dodge Power Wagon
Legacy really ran with the whole ‘take something old and bolt something new’ brief seriously for its 1949 Power Wagon. Stripping the classic ReallyOldTimer down, it’s then built back up with either a 3.9-litre Cummins diesel (350bhp, thumbs up), or a 6.2-litre LS3 V8 with or without a supercharger (430bhp and 620bhp, very thumbs up).
Other new things occur underneath like suspension, axles, driveshafts, transfer cases and what-have-you. Probably a good idea.
Mechatronik’s Mercedes-Benz SL
Mechatronik made a reasonably seismic announcement earlier this year: it plans on restomodding the classic 107-generation Mercedes-Benz SL. Safe to say our tails were wagging.
We’ve not yet had the full debrief on ‘Project 107’, but judging Mecha’s previous efforts in this arena, we suspect it shall be Good.Advertisement - Page continues below
Eagle’s Lightweight GT
Peak E-Type? Possibly. Eagle’s rendition of Jaguar’s own Lightweight E replaces the body panels with aluminium, and fashions much oily technical content from magnesium, Inconel and titanium. The XK straight-six is 4.7 litres in size, there’s new suspension, monster brakes and even air conditioning. You reading this or just drooling at the pic above?
Twisted’s electric Defender, the NAS-E
Yet another new-old Defender, only this time it’s very yellow, very rare and very electric. Officially dubbed the NAS-E, Twisted wanted to repurpose the North American Defender 90 with a newly eco bent, and thus fitted a 214bhp Remy Borg-Warner motor underneath. Together with a 60kWh battery, it’s said to offer 200 miles of range.Advertisement - Page continues below
Everything M3s’ BMW M3 CSL
Not a restomod as such, more a resto-gearbox. And one we simply had to add, for obvious reasons. UK BMW specialist Everything M3s offers a conversion for the glorious E46 CSL, swapping out the sequential manual for a proper six-speed manual gearbox. CSL owners, you know what to do.
Lunaz’s electric Rolls-Royce Phantom V
‘Oh, hi there, Mr Floor, my name is Mr Jaw, a pleasure to meet you.’ Or something. This is Lunaz’s idea of ensuring the simply glorious Phantom V remains relevant in our newly electrified world. Naturally each car is stripped, and then fitted with a whopping battery, sensitive upgrades like air con and heating systems, and restored woodwork.
Marvel at it. MARVEL.
Cyan Racing’s Volvo P1800
Before you say it, no, this one’s not electrically powered. Nor does it have a supercharged ninety-trillion-litre V8 underneath. The eye-wateringly desirable, restomodded Swede packs a humble four-cylinder. Though not that humble, because said engine comes straight from the car that won the 2017 WTCC title. Which means 414bhp and the ability to expertly manage DRIFT ANGLES.
Icon’s Chevy Thriftmaster
Icon again, here injecting a dose of LS3 V8 into the 1950s. The old Chevy gets a healthy upgrade to a not-insignificant 430bhp and much torque, along with a four-speed auto, new suspension, big brakes and “the performance of a modern-day sports car”. Because that’s what you want in a 1950s truck: full-bore performance. Eek.
RWB’s electric MGB
It’s your good friend electricity, announcing a triumphant entry into the humble MG. RWB’s electric classic isn’t a Tesla-baiting monster, but a rather more sedate affair. Good. There’s a 94bhp power output via a battery up front and a motor out back. It’ll do 0-60mph in nine seconds, and travel 160 miles on a full charge. Perfect car for silent, peaceful drives, then.
Himalaya’s ‘Summit Series’ Defender
Still not able to let go of the old Defender yet? Himalaya will ensure that is literally the case, though ‘holding on for dear life’ might be a touch overzealous. Because this particular Defender boasts 650bhp via a supercharged 6.2-litre LT4 crate engine. Other things underneath are new as well, though we’d politely suggest new… underthings for the owner after a spirited drive.
Swindon Powertrain’s Mini EV
Calling all spannerisers! Swindon Powertrain offers up a box of tricks for the much-loved Issigonis motor, including a motor, a transmission, a diff and lots of wires. Said box of tricks turns your classic Mini into a classic Mini EV, which you can fit yourself. Bruised knuckles ahoy!
Totem Automobili’s electric Alfa Romeo Giulia GT
Yeah, us too. This, the first product to emerge from Totem Automobili, is entirely gorgeous and entirely modern. Underneath the ‘GT electric’ lies a 50.4kWh battery and a mid-rear mounted motor, all producing a really very healthy 518bhp. Totem claims 0-62mph in 3.4secs, which puts it firmly into the realm of ‘that’s really very fast please make it stop now thanks’.
A late entry, and one that’s not really… finished. Much like Maserati’s early Nineties efforts, then (badoom-tish). Maserati itself is undertaking what it calls ‘Project Rekall’, which aims to restomod a boxy Ghibli or Shamal. One to watch in 2021...
Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by Callum
Last, and by no means least on this list - there's nothing 'least' about a V12, people - is this incredibly special recreation. It is of course a first generation Aston Martin Vanquish, here carefully restomodded by none other than its designer, one Ian Callum. "I bought one," Callum told TopGear.com on its arrival. "And when I looked at it, I thought there are things with the car that are not quite right, now that I’ve learnt a bit more. I remember at the time it was somewhat compromised in some areas, because the budget was tight. I started to go about redesigning it for my own purposes.”