Restomod vs restoration. A philosophical debate

The German company RUF Automobile, known for the production of restomod cars based on classic Porsche, has just announced the launch of a new model, the restomod Porsche 964. Inconic car of its time (1989 to 1994), the 964 was the first 911 to receive all-wheel drive and Tiptronic automatic transmission. Transformed by RUF, it is now equiped with a turbocharged engine of 425 horsepower and a carbon fiber body. It performs like a modern sports car – but is it still a classic car? What is the point of such restomod cars ?

A matter of definition

Let us define restoration and restormod. Restoration refers to bringing a classic car back to its former glory using the original factory parts. Restomod is a restoration process incorporating modern technology to improve the performance of the car. In most cases, the exterior appearance of the vehicle is retained, but the mechanics and the interior are modified thanks to contemporary technologies.

A question of use? Restomod cars can be used for daily use

The debate between restomod and traditional restoration may seem simple. If you are planning on using your classic vehicle for everyday use and want something reliable, a restomod project will be what you are looking for. Conversely, if you are looking for a car that will only be outside on special occasions, a traditional restoration may be the way to go. Both projects have their interest. It all depends on how you intend to use the car.

A priori, a restored classic car is more valuable than a vehicle that has received the restomod treatment. However, restomod vehicles are increasingly in demand. This is particularly true of retrofit cars with electric propulsion. Especially since the owners often keep the original mechanics in spare parts …

A philosophical debate

However, the debate is deeper. It opposes the purists, who consider the modernization of a classic vehicle to be a sacrilege, to the modernists who want to insert vintage cars into modern life. Both purists and modernists love vintage cars. But they don’t have the same relationship to the past.

The problem is that it’s not easy to just pick one side or the other. If you think about it, both sides have valid points. For an extremely rare classic vehicle, restoration is necessary to preserve the history of the vehicle. But if you need a reliable vehicle to take your kids to school and commute to work every day, there’s nothing wrong with going the restomod route …

And then the ideal is sometimes the enemy of reality. It can be difficult to restore an automobile. Not only is it expensive, but it is also sometimes impossible to find the spare parts. Identical restoration is a long and uncertain adventure.


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Hardcore traditionalists

Let us add that the alternative to the traditional restoration is not, for all, the restomod. Some argue that an older vehicle should stay as it is, with its dents, rust and mechanical shortcomings. Even when a part fails, it should be repaired while retaining its original appearance, whatever it may be.

An impossible conclusion

The only conclusion here is that both schools of thought – car restomod vs car restoration – are valid. In the end, it all depends on the goal, budget, and philosophy of each car owner. The main point is to share our passion for vintage cars. And that we feel free to live this passion in our own way.


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