< Back to all news

What is a restomod and how can ECT help you with acquiring a great one?


How to define the automotive term "Restomod"

What is a restomod and how can ECT help you with acquiring a great one?

Today, we at Exotic Car Trader explain what a restomod is, and how we can help you acquire a great one, should it pick your fancy. You’ve probably come across the term whilst perusing our listings, browsing the web, or from the lips of an automotive fanatic friend or colleague. Let us shed some light on the topic.

What is a restomod?

In the briefest possible terms, a restomod is when you take a classic vehicle and restore it to a suitable standard (we at ECT typically prefer a high standard) but modernize some aspects of it as well, typically in the pursuit of more performance, capability, and comfort. An important point that differentiates a restomod from a hot rod is that the exterior appearance of a restomod is typically unchanged, whilst a hot rod can easily be identified as one through a cursory glance. With a restomod, you might be able to spot some giveaways such as larger, cross-drilled brake rotors lurking behind wider, low-profile tyres, or twin tailpipes when the original came with only one. You might even spot an intercooler lurking behind the front grille if a turbocharged engine lurks under the hood, but that’s typically the extent of visible changes. Most of the magic lies beneath the skin.

Why a restomod?

Classic cars are great things to own. They have immense collectible value, look, and sound great and often turn a lot of heads whilst being driven. However, they are stuck using technology from the era in which they were made. For example, most classics from the fifties and sixties didn’t come with air conditioning, and often had rather temperamental heaters – not ideal for a particularly cold winter. Engines were typically carbureted and require specialist attention these days to get them running efficiently, particularly if there is more than one carb. Drum brakes were common on the rear wheels – and sometimes, the front ones as well, meaning you had to plan your braking. And let’s not get started about cars from the seventies and eighties when emissions standards came into the fray, and the average V8 was putting out less than 200hp! Sorry to burst your bubble but one of the most popular TV cars of the eighties, Knight Rider’s KITT was actually running around the sets with a stock 305 motor that put out just 165hp! Now you can understand why a restomod looks so attractive. You can have a car of your preferred model or from your childhood era, but with some tasteful modernization to better suit your current lifestyle. The most popular areas for restomods include:

  • Upgrading cabin amenities such as installing air conditioning, better stereo systems with Bluetooth connectivity, multiple speakers, subwoofers, and seat upgrades.
  • Upsizing the wheels to a modern set of alloys with lower-profile tires. This is usually necessary if a brake upgrade has also been done, as the original wheels will be too small for bigger brakes.
  • Improving the brakes. The most common brake restomod is to install rear disc brakes for a vehicle that traditionally came with drums from the factory. ABS systems may also be added to ensure improved overall braking performance, particularly if there has been a power upgrade too. Some might even go all-out with larger, cross-drilled rotors and four, six or even eight-pot calipers.
  • Upgrading the suspension to a stiffer configuration for a sportier ride or beefing it up for enhanced off-road performance.
  • Installing an air suspension system that provides a smoother and more comfortable ride, as well as the ability to adjust the ride height and even make the vehicle ‘dance’ – we’ve all seen those ‘lowriders’ in the movies and hip-hop videos doing their thing. How do they do it – air suspension! You get buttons or a little joystick in the cabin which you use to make your vehicle dance, and some systems can even be remotely operated.
  • Adjusting the ride height from stock. A car might have its ride height lowered to give it a leaner stance, whilst a truck or SUV might benefit from an increased ride height that affords better ground clearance in off-road conditions.
  • Changing the transmission from a manual type to an automatic – or vice-versa in some cases!
  • Upgrades to the stock engine. These can range from improving intake and exhaust systems and work through an entire spectrum of mods, all the way to turbocharging or supercharging.
  • Swapping out the engine for an entirely new one, which is almost always more powerful, and may or may not even be from the same manufacturer as the vehicle! For example, you might find a retro Ford vehicle packing a modern Chevrolet LS crate motor, for example.

Looking for a Restomod? Let ECT help

At ECT, plenty of restomods have passed through our hands and we know what to look out for. Our stringent quality processes ensure that we provide the best experience to buyer and seller. We have handled many amazing restomods, some of which packed some surprising firepower under their hoods yet looked completely unassuming on the outside. So, if a restomod is your thing, have a look through our listings and get in touch with us. We are glad to help.

About Exotic Car Trader

Exotic Car Trader offers a curated selection of high-end, collectible, and noteworthy cars. Our media-rich listings provide an immersive look into every car we sell. As a brick-and-mortar company with strong ties to South Florida car culture, we strive to set a high bar of transparency every step of the way. If your car would look right at home with our current listings, have a look at how our car consignment program can be tailored specifically to your needs.

More articles:

The Complete Guide to Selling a Car on Consignment

4 Signs That You Can Trust a Car Consignment Company

Car Consignment Fees Explained

We are not attorneys. This article does not contain legal advice.


Exotic Car Trader is the fastest growing marketplace built specifically for automotive enthusiasts. Click below to learn how you can sell your car with us.