‘They don’t make cars like they used to’ is a phrase often quoted by old people wound tight in the grip of nostalgia. But nostalgia lies. They don’t make cars like they used to, because old cars are generally rubbish. They leak, they break down, they’re slow and they smell of unspecific grandparents. In fact, very few things improve significantly with age - wine, experience and Rachel Riley make for a very short list.
There are loads of examples as to why. In adopting pedestrian-friendly bonnets, cars lose their slinky, low noses along with the option of bouncing a pedestrian’s head off the engine block. With strong, crashworthy monocoques, you not only lose the ability to be squashed flat during a roll, but also the airy, glassy, thin-pillared elegance of yesteryear. So you get two rather stark choices: pretty, characterful, unreliable deathtrap, or soulless modern conveyance. I may be over-simplifying this, but you get my point.
But there is a third way. Because there are people out there who like the style of the old with the convenience of the new. The resto mod crowd. And the movement is growing. Take the recent launch of Ares Design in Italy - showcasing several models inspired by the old, but powered by the new. The company’s ’64 Corvette Stingray features all the grace of the early sixties design, but with modern Corvette C7 (2017) underpinnings. That means slinky outside, 6.2-litre LS3 V8 with 525bhp inside - and the right suspension to be able to handle it. Then there’s ‘Project Panther’ - a re-imagining of the swoopy, edgy brilliance of the classic DeTomaso Pantera, but with a modern Lamborghini strapped underneath (pictured above).
Here’s a few more.