The eight best restomods

20th April 2021
Ethan Jupp

Resto-mods are perhaps the ultimate car enthusiast’s indulgence, aren’t they? The greatest cars ever made are enhanced, exaggerated and reimagined, often budget no-object, by the individuals that are most passionate about them. Messrs Singer, Eagle, Alfaholics and their kin have been doing their thing mostly over the last decade. Here are our favourites.

Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer DLS

The Singer’s reimagined Porsche 911s have had us salivating for over a decade. A previously inconceivable new life for a 964 is to those who can afford hypercar-humbling sums and glacial wait times, everything you could ever imagine loving about classic 911s, exaggerated to the extreme. At least, we thought they were extreme. Until the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study came along. A crazy 500PS (368kW) from an air-cooled engine prepared by Williams, completely reworked all-carbon body, bespoke race-style suspension only now being seen on the latest GT3. It’s a recipe for uncontrollable salivation. Deliveries of the Singer DLS are set to begin soon of what may be the ultimate expression of what a custom 911 can be. Anyone who is anyone in resto-mod world aspires to ‘Singer’ whatever car their hand is turned to. Who else is at it and what other machines are on offer? Next up… 


Eagle Speedster

Eagle are arguably actually the dream resto-modders that predated Singer. Henry Pearman has been monetising his E-type love and expertise since Eagle’s founding in 1984. The work by Eagle you will most likely know best didn’t happen until the late 2000s, as Eagle took a proper step beyond the trappings of originality with the E-type. We of course are talking about the Eagle Speedster. First appearing in 2011, the Speedster was what came out of the remit a Dr Rick Velaj gave to Eagle: “I want something a bit special”. What he got was an open-topped, chopped-screen 4.7-litre E-type hot rod, re-trimmed, modernised, its beauty and muscle exaggerated in every direction. Peak E-type porn, as are the Low Drags, Lightweights and so on, that Eagle have created since.



Peak saloon car performance with inimitable Italian sexiness. Of course, dodgy reliability and the constant threat of tinworm might put one off the sporty Italian screaming saloons of the 1960s. Given a healthy enough budget, that’s where Alfaholics can help. They’ll build you a screaming Alfa Romeo Giulia beyond the dreams of Giuseppe Busso, called the GTA-R. It features lightweight carbon-fibre body panels over seam-welded steel, true to Bertone’s already perfected form and 240PS-plus (176kW) at a screaming 7,000rpm from the tricked-out twin-spark engine. The whole thing is overhauled with little mind paid to costs as a boon for dedicated driving enthusiasts. Cancel that 720S order and get yourself in there.


Mechatronik Mercedes-Benz SL

Mechatronik are Merc masters, sellers, and classic car enthusiasts at large. While one side of their business is the stocking and sale of old Benzes, there is also a ‘New Tech’ side that prepares and hotrods too. Think W113 SLs with the monster 6.2-litre V8 as an engine swap. Now, they’re taking their fettling to the next level, overhauling R107 SLs. How? The best way we can describe it is, imagine if the ‘Black Series’ models were a thing in the 1970s and 1980s. As for what’s going on underneath? We’re not yet sure. The official debut is mooted for summer 2021. Does that mean it doesn’t belong on this list, seeing as it doesn’t exist yet? No. Just look at the prototypes! How can that possibly not be awesome.


Cyan Volvo P1800

Perhaps an unlikely recipient of this kind of ultimate driver’s car makeover is the Volvo P1800 but receive it it has. More a stylish GT than hair-raising sportscar in its day, Cyan Racing have overhauled The Saint’s old company car into something still very pretty but utterly refreshed underneath. Though “moved forward in a delicate way”, much of the old is out in favour of the new. Under the bonnet is a two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder based on the Volvo S60 racing unit. There’s a bespoke five-speed manual, bespoke independent rear suspension, a limited-slip diff and a widened track. All this and so much more has turned the stately P1800 into a certified racing blue classic hot rod. We approve in the strongest possible terms.


Automobili Amos Lancia Delta Futurista

You could be forgiven for wondering if the top-end restomodding game is exclusive to curvacious ‘60s sportscars whose looks originally wrote cheques the dynamics could never cash. If that’s not your bag, if you’re retro motoring affections lay with an entirely different style of car, perhaps Automobili Amos have the car for you. Meet the Lancia Delta Futurista, an alloy-bodied, carbon-faced, money-no-object Lancia Delta and it’s absolutely stunning. It packs over 330PS (243kW), weighs just 1,250kg and quite unlike the original Delta Integrale, is exclusively a two-door. Eugenio Amos, the man behind the Futurista, longs for cars from not so long ago that still had personality, substance, rawness. We’re all for harnessing that magic in as many cars as possible, not just the Goodwood Revival darlings.


BMW M3 Redux

Indeed, the restomodding craze has evolved beyond just the legends of a specific era. As the Lancia and this BMW prove, modern classics of the ‘80s and ‘90s are next. This is the BMW M3 Enhanced and Evolved by Redux. You know the drill: lower, tighter, faster. The 2.3-litre S14 engine is pushed out to 2.5-litres, with a bespoke loom, motorsport crank, rods, pistons and a billet valve cover. That engine is brought to life with a lightweight flywheel, limited-slip diff, quick-shifting close-ratio five-speed box and much more. The donor car is stripped back to the shell and completely rebuilt and the cabin is trimmed per customer requests. This is a subtle evolution of an existing legend, ironing out kinks, broadening its muscles and tightening it down. Sounds perfect.


Thornley Kelham Lancia Aurelia Outlaw

Going out on something of a more traditional restomod hot-rod, here we have the Thornley Kelham Lancia Aurelia Outlaw. Once again, the company is a specialist of the breed. Once again, they have years of experience maintaining but not necessarily modifying these cars. But the Outlaw is modified, significantly. They take an unrestored Aurelia, widen the front and rear wings, lower the roofline by three inches, de-gutter the roof and much more. Under the bonnet goes a race-spec Lancia Flaminia V6, modified to 2.8-litres and fuel-injected. The suspension is re-specified and the interior is furnished like smoking club, with Connolly aniline leather and Alcantara spread throughout. It’s a gorgeous thing.

A fairly healthy selection, but if you were, or are, one of those one-percenters who find themselves bored of the ever-expanding hypercar clique, which would you have?

  • Singer

  • Eagle

  • Alfaholics

  • Cyan

  • Automobili Amos

  • BMW

  • M3

  • Thornley Kelham

  • Porsche

  • 911

  • Jaguar

  • E-Type

  • Alfa Romeo

  • Giulia GTA

  • SL

  • Volvo

  • P1800

  • Lancia

  • Delta

  • Aurelia

  • Mercedes

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