View Full Version : When does a Restoration become a Restomod?

Shelly Harris
10-05-2017, 06:06 PM
A 100% Restoration is a car comprised of all original authentic parts. So once you replace the points and condensor with a Pertonix inside the distributor..is the car still a Restoration? If we're true to our classification .. no the car is a Restomod, that is a car that has the appearance of the original, but it's mechanicals have been replaced with modern parts of today.

Note... the forum doesn't set out "Original" as a classification (we'd get so few posts so why bother) but many owners describe their cars as such. My thinking is that an Original is all Original even if a beat up wreck.

Should an Original command more money then a restoration, or a Restomod?

If I have a gorgious Restoration but want the security of driving with a Disc Brake modification, am I lowering the value of the car?

10-05-2017, 06:27 PM
For most collectible, classic cars, replacing original equipment (drum brakes) with modern equipment (disc brakes) will significantly lower the value of the car unless the change is easily reversible (Petronix back to points) and the original parts are retained to be sold with the car. Usually people do not carry this to an extreme, for instance, if you used a different set of points in the distributor.

I have served as a national concours judge (not for Continentals) at a number of different events and the standard is always to compare the car to how it would have been delivered from the factory. Any deviation (and the standards vary dramatically from organization to organization) from original would cause a deduction. Some organizations allow safety exceptions, e.g., the installation of seat belts if the work is done to factory standards.

Usually, concours quality cars will draw the highest prices. However, some restomods that are exceptional will draw exceptional prices. I try to keep my cars as close to original as practical since the 50s-60s cars were designed to be driven at speeds somewhat comparable to today's traffic and I tend to drive the older cars a bit slower than my modern cars. However, I will sacrifice some originality to use radial tires.

As always, just my opinion and I am sure others will have different and equally valid comments.


Dave Harris
10-18-2017, 01:02 AM
Yes restomods can indeed command substantial money, and even exceed the value of an original restoration of the same vehicle. I've seen it happen at auction.

I can't imagine that a swap to disc brakes would hurt the value, unless clearance issues forced you to alter the wheels & sizes. An easier job would be to just change to a dual master cylinder, but keep the drums. Because this is a safety modification, it's unlikely points would get lost in judging.

10-18-2017, 11:10 AM
When considering modifications, generally speaking people think of how the modifications will influence one or more of the following:

1. resale value

2. enjoyment/safety when using the car

3. how the car might be judged at a competitive car (usually against cars of similar vintage and usually the same manufacturer)

In many cases. items 1 and 3 are linked. A very high point car will command a very high value. National judging standards vary radically from club to club. If you look at NCRS judging, they even consider the size/spacing/type of stitching used for carpeting when judging. Other clubs might not look at the stitching but will have performance measures such as using sound level meters to measure how quiet a car is at idle and at different RPMs.

Safety exceptions also vary dramatically. Some clubs allow the use of radial tires (but specify what tire sizes are allowable), most allow professional looking safety belt installations, etc. Even within a club, there are usually multiple classes with somewhat different judging standards such as concours (as delivered from the factory), touring (a more regularly driven car), preservation (unrestored, original car), restomod, etc.

I would doubt that any national club would allow visible brake modifications without deductions in a concours class. However, the deduction might be small enough that an owner would decide that was an acceptable trade to ensure a more dependable, safer car.

We may be totally off subject since Shelly posed the question on value rather than directly questioning the effect on judging. If his car is very original, then changing the brakes might have more influence on value. If the car already has a number of deviations from original, then probably brake changes would have little effect and might raise the value to a buyer that wants to drive the car regularly.


Barry Wolk
10-20-2017, 01:37 PM
If you're referring to the Mark II, specifically, I think cars are worth far less with updated parts, if the original-type replacement parts aren't included. I know of only one Mark II that may have all of it's original parts. It only has 6,000 miles and the guy doesn't want to sell it. It hasn't run in 50 years.

If you do a brake upgrade, keep the old stuff. Keep the old engine, especially if its serial number number is what the car had. If you can make a modification that's reversible and it makes the car safer, I'm all for it.

I think the only real modification that will increase the value of the car is seat belts and shoulder harnesses. I figured out a way to do both.

Cars are used cars the moment they leave the factory. They either cost the manufacturer or the dealer carrying costs and the new car owner depreciation so most cars are a declining asset. Our collector cars are finally gaining in value. If you're a collector that bases their decisions on what their car might be worth, keep it totally stock. If you use it and modifications make it easier or safer to drive, that's great, too.

I never bought a car for its resale value, so maybe my view is skewed.

After just finishing a last nut and bolt mechanical restoration on a friend's Mark II I can tell you I'm glad I got it stock.

BTW, if you do everything on a Mark II restoration and bring the car back to original specs you'd be surprised how few improvements are really necessary. The owner is extremely happy.

10-20-2017, 07:25 PM
Barry, are you thinking about making a thread on seat belts/shoulder harnesses? You must of figured out an easy seat modification to lock the seat backs in place. I for sure, would be really interested in what you have come up with!

Barry Wolk
10-20-2017, 08:04 PM
Barry, are you thinking about making a thread on seat belts/shoulder harnesses? You must of figured out an easy seat modification to lock the seat backs in place. I for sure, would be really interested in what you have come up with!

While it would be wonderful to restrain the seat back I couldn’t devise a way to do that. However, using a mounting point for the rear seat belt I was able to install a shoulder strap that crossed my chest and attached to a substantial mount inside the transmission tunnel. It provides a surprising amount of strength and keeps front seat occupants in place and off the steering wheel and dashboard.

Barry Wolk
10-20-2017, 09:12 PM
181101811118112The first time I showed it I got high praise from the judges for showing the belts.

10-21-2017, 01:20 PM
Thanks Barry! I take it you are not using a lap belt? BTW, is your interior leather color black?

Barry Wolk
10-21-2017, 01:43 PM
A lap belt and shoulder sling. It gives the same restraint as a 3 point harness. With someone pushing me from the back seat the front seat back doesn't move at all.

Interior and top are now light blue. Did a color reversal on the seats. They looked too Bill Blass for the period. Also did away with the 9" wide armrest for the back seat,