You are here

Five old cars reborn with new insides

  1. It’s an inescapable consequence of progress, but old things are worse than new things. People that still use vinyl or tweed or bone china - James May, in other words - will tell you that heritage often trumps utility. But it also trumps common sense. Which is precisely why people still own classic cars.

    So here’s the perfect compromise, a trend that’s resulting in some very good new cars for the heavy of wallet. Boffins are taking wheezy old classics and fitting them with the stuff that makes new cars better - cleaner, faster engines, better brakes, proper steering components and suspension that doesn’t need oiling every 30 feet. Rather like the Jensen Interceptor the boys drove on Sunday.

    And to show our wholehearted supported for this endeavour, here are five of the best.


    This German company starts with a sumptuous Mercedes W111 coupe shell, restores and braces it then tips in large amounts of AMG tech.

    There’s a 5.5-litre 360bhp AMG V8, five-speed automatic ‘box, beefed-up running gear and lowered, stiffened suspension.

    Inside, there’s an enormous sound system, sat nav, re-jigged sports seats and uprated climate control facilities, which are all hidden under a sixties façade.

    It’s a tad pricey, though - £263,000. Yoinks.

    Read more about the Mechatronik W111 here


    Heed the cautionary idiom -
    a book should NOT be judged by its cover. At a glance, this an old air-cooled
    911. It will not be fast, but it will kill you with irretrievable, pendulous
    But it is. And it won’t.
    Singer takes a classic long-wheelbase 911, strips
    it, seam-welds the monocoque, reinforces it with carbon-fibre, installs an
    engine from the 1990s 911 lineup (ranging from 300bhp to 425bhp), fits a
    bespoke interior, and Brembo brakes from the 993.

    Prices depend on options, but wobble between £120,000 and £190,00 

    Read more about the Singer 911 here


    Built in 2001 to doff its cap to the classic GA3-219, the Volga V12 Coupe is effectively a resculpted, coachbuilt BMW 850CSi.

    It keeps the 380bhp 5.7-litre V12 - which goes from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds - and interior (albeit with new leather and carbon trim). The wheels are retrofied wire efforts and the body’s entirely custom, bearing little resemblance to the humble family car it’s based on.

    A bit of a departure for a manufacture usually charged with mobilizing Kremlin ministers, then.


    As used by Jeremy for the title sequence of not-real seventies copsloitation series, The Interceptors, the SX features an original Interceptor husk with a 6.2-litre supercharged GM LS9 (as fitted to a Chevrolet Corvette) under the bonnet.

    And unlike the Chrysler 6276cc and 7212cc V8s thrown in when they were first built in the seventies, it turns petrol into something other than noise - 620bhp, to be precise.

    There’s also a six-speed manual gearbox, redesigned independent rear axle, carbon ceramic brakes, fully adjustable suspension and 19-inch carbonfibre and magnesium wheels.

    To you? £151,000.

    Watch Jeremy drive it here 


    At £50,000, this is by far and away the cheapest offering in our lineup. But it is an MGB.

    Luckily, all the stuff that makes MGBs rubbish and depressing - engine and suspension - has been unceremoniously binned. They’re replaced by a modified 215bhp two-litre Mazda MX-5 engine, modern coilover suspension, re-jigged geometry up front and a fancy five-link system astern

    OK, so the power figures might not tighten your trousers, but remember that this thing only weighs 900kg, which works out as 240bhp per tonne.

    You’ll have to wait till 2012 to get one, though.

    Read more about the Frontline MGB here

Read more on:

Share this page: 

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear’s code of conduct (link below) before posting.

Promoted content