Restomod vs. Restoration – Which is the Better Choice?

Restomod vs. Restoration

In the collectible car industry, “restomod car” and “restoration” are two words that you will often hear being used interchangeably. They might sound similar, but the two are very different methods of restoring a car to its original appearance. An antique car can undergo either “restomod” or “restoration”, considering its age, value, and the budget and preference of the owner. What are the differences of the two methods?

Factory-Stock Condition

The main goal in “restoration” is purely to return the car to its factory-stock condition. A car would be restored to its original specifications during the time of manufacture using original factory parts. Performance enhancements are not covered in a “restoration” job. The focus would be on repairing visible parts such as the body trim, interior, and parts not easily seen such as suspension and brakes.

On the other hand, there is more freedom and creativity in doing “restomods”. In addition to putting back the original parts, you can perform modifications such as adding a new engine or doing a new paint color. A “restomod” not only focuses on improving the car’s appearance but more on performance as well. A 1950 car that would undergo “restoration” might look in tip top shape, but restomod cars will not only look good but could perform better overall.

The Value of Restomod vs. Restoration

Most classic cars are most valuable when they are restored to their original specifications. To get the highest value, a “restoration” job must get every small detail correctly. Remember that the goal of a “restoration” job is to be as factory-correct as much as possible. The paint color, the engine, the nuts and bolts, the steering wheel, and all other parts must be same as the original parts at the time of manufacture, regardless of how old the car is.

However, for more common cars, a “restomod” might give them a higher value. Since these cars and their parts are easier to acquire, the modifications would make these more valuable than those cars that are just restored. Obsolete parts could now be replaced by the latest high-performance gears.

Review your Purpose

If you are a diehard car collector, “restoration” might be the better route to take. Restored cars would be considered as collector’s items as these are more difficult to find. However, if you are the type who really gets his or her hands on the wheels, “restomod” might be the way to go. A modified car would give you the nostalgic aesthetic, increased safety, and improved performance all at once.


“Restomod” and “restoration” might differ in some respects, but both methods are recognized in the collectible car marketplace. Cars would be appraised differently, depending on the car model, the restoration method, and the car’s rarity.

Ultimately, the car owner’s preferences would help decide which method would be best taken. One must revisit one’s objective and budget in doing car restoration. Whichever option one takes, car restoration would always be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for a car owner.

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