What Is A Restomod?

What Is A Restomod?

Find out what a restomod is, and learn why this blend of classic design and contemporary upgrades is gaining popularity among car enthusiasts. Read now!

Many terms and phrases are used to describe classic cars, but few can spark as much controversy as attempting to define a restomod. The main reason for this is there are no concrete rules when building a restomod; instead there are certain elements that all restomods have in common. So what is a restomod? Keep reading to find out.

What Defines A Restomod?

The term restomod comes from the portmanteau (the combination of two words) of restoration and modification. These cars represent a popular and ever-growing segment of the classic car market, so the value of a car can vary greatly depending on what classification it fits into. Most of the restomods you’ll see are from the muscle car era (the late ‘60s and early ‘70s), but really, any car after the hot rod era (basically anything built since the late 1950s) can be transformed to fit the restomod definition.

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle restomodGM A-body cars like this 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle built by Velocity are ideal candidates for a restomod makeover.

At Velocity, our restomods are based on the 1966-77 Bronco, 1967-68 Mustang, 1967-1972 Ford F-Series, 1967-1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer, and the International Scout II.

Restoration vs. Restomod

Restomods are a type of classic car restoration, so they attempt to retain as much of the car’s original styling as possible. Unlike a restoration, though, some liberties are taken without going to the extreme as full customization, but much of the underpinnings are replaced with upgraded, modernized components. The goal of a restomod is to have a vehicle that is easy to drive without losing the classic looks that make these cars so desirable in the first place.

Take a Velocity restomod, for example, and you’ll see that the body is mostly true to the original with the only obvious enhancements being elements such as the wheels, lights, and some trim pieces; take a peek under the hood or body and you’ll get a glimpse of the true magic of a Velocity restomod.

Modified… and Modern

The most disputed aspect of the restomod definition is the -mod. Yes, the car needs to be modified, but, more importantly, these mods need to be modernized. Instead of restoring the vehicle back to its original specs, the key distinctions of a restomod are the use of modern components. While restomods are a step up from a fully restored original, this type of build is less extreme than Pro Street and Pro Touring cars, which are set up more for drag racing or autocrossing with increased price tags to go with those performance aspirations.

Top restomod upgrades generally include:

● Modern fuel-injected engine

● Four-wheel disc brakes

● Performance-oriented suspension

● Wheels/tires

● Exterior lighting

● Interior

Engine Swap

Who wants to worry about whether or not their classic car will start up? This is where swapping a modern fuel-injected engine really enhances the classic car experience. Velocity builds use either a Ford Coyote V-8 or the GM LT1 V-8. Not only does the use of modern engines increase the reliability of a restomod, it also makes the car easier to work on for maintenance and repairs.

Disc Brake Conversion

Many classic vehicles used drum brakes at the rear (or at all four wheels), and even those equipped with disc brakes, the calipers and rotors lack the feel and performance of a modern vehicle. That’s why four-wheel disc brakes are essential for a restomod. Four-wheel disc brakes improve both the safety and performance of a vehicle with reduced stopping distance.


Velocity Ford F250 SuspensionA four-link rear suspension delivers a much smoother ride than leaf springs.

Older vehicles weren’t designed with ride and handling in mind, so suspension upgrades help make these classics ride more like a modern car. Instead of leaf springs or worn out shocks, most restomods utilize suspension components specifically engineered for that vehicle including the use of coil-over shocks. Velocity restomods take the ride and handling a step further with a unique, custom-made frame.


Upgrading the wheels helps accommodate larger brake kits, but they also give restomods improved styling and handling. Wider wheel and tire packages maximize the handling of a vehicle by giving it a bigger contact patch for added lateral grip.

Exterior Lighting

Velocity Ford Bronco LightsThe Velocity Ford Bronco lights up the road with JW Speaker LED headlights.

LED lights not only improve the overall look of a restomod, but it also improves driving safety.


Interior upgrades on a restomod span anywhere from a back-to-basics restoration to a full-blown interior swap with a newer vehicle. Velocity takes this a step further by creating fully custom interiors including beautiful upholstery and modern technology.

Are Restomods Worth More Than Original?

Unless you’re talking about a rare, numbers-matching original, restomods can be worth more than fully restored cars and hold their value as collector cars, but as always that depends heavily on the specific vehicle and the intensity of the build. While there may not be a concrete list of upgrades that defines a restomod, at the end of the day, these cars add modern performance, comfort, and conveniences while keeping the looks of the original classic vehicle. And how can you argue about that?

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