Resto Mod or All Original? A Deep Dive Into The Pros and Cons of Both
March 01, 2023

Resto Mod or All Original? A Deep Dive Into The Pros and Cons of Both

If you are a car enthusiast, you probably dreamt about restoring a classic car at least once. While owning and restoring a classic car is not easy, there’s something magical about it. It is one of the most rewarding experiences a gearhead could have. How could it not be? You are taking an old, beat-up car that had a rough life and finally giving it the life it deserves, and when you drive it around, it brings a joy that’s hard to match for almost everyone that sees it.

Of course, restoring a car is no mean feat. Whether you are a modernist fan of resto modding or like your classic cars all-original with matching numbers, it requires a lot of time, money, and expertise. You'll need a solid understanding of automotive mechanics and access to the right tools and equipment. You’ll also need to put in a lot of elbow grease and TLC to make them look and run great, regardless of your chosen method. Now that’s out of the way, let’s dive deeper into the resto-mod vs. all-original debate.

  • If you want a classic car to drive around daily or are a huge steampunk/cyberpunk fan, you should consider a restomod project.
  • If you are a purist or want a cool car to sit in your garage all the time, then you will want to start saving some money because you should choose a complete restoration project. Better yet, get yourself an all-original classic car and bask in its glory.
  • Eventually, it all depends on your wants and needs.

Restomod vs. Full Restoration: What Even Are They?

Restomodding and complete restoration are two different schools of thought in the car restoration community. Before diving into weighing in the pros and cons, we have to tell you what’s the difference between them.


What is a Restomod?

Restomod is a term used to describe a car restored with modern technology. The word "restomod" is a combination of "restoration" and "modification," which reflects the approach of preserving the classic look and feel of the car while upgrading its mechanical, electrical, and interior systems.

When building a restomod, you can use modern parts to improve the vehicle’s performance, comfort, safety, and livability. You can refresh the car's looks with modern components such as LED lights and body kits. You can also install a range of modifications, such as engine swaps, suspension upgrades, brake conversions, air conditioning installation, sound system upgrades, and custom interiors, among others. The goal of a restomod is to enhance the driving experience of a classic car while keeping its original charm and character intact.


What is a Full Restoration

Total restoration or all-original restoration is a simple term to explain. It describes restoration projects that use the car’s original parts that have been reconditioned or rebuilt with period-correct parts or New-Old-Stock (NOS) OEM parts from the factory. If you want to make your classic car look and run as good as the day it left the dealership, you must do a total restoration.

When you embark on a classic car restoration project, you should expect to pay a pretty penny. Also, a complete classic car restoration takes a lot of time. If you need a part, well, you need to wait for it to just pop up in your favorite marketplaces because the companies don’t build them anymore. You can also visit junkyards to dig for parts or pay someone to fabricate them for you, which is both expensive and time-consuming.

restored car

Despite the challenges, there's nothing quite like the feeling of driving a classic car that you've restored yourself. It's a real labor of love, and it's something that you'll be able to cherish for years to come. Whether you're restoring a classic muscle car, a vintage sports car, or a classic American cruiser, there's something truly special about bringing an old car back to life.

Pros and Cons: Should You Do a Restomod or a Complete Restoration

If you want a project car to wrench on and restore, you should know it is a steep hill. Many tried and failed before you. Be that as it may, working on a project car is fun, and if you can finish it, you will have a fantastic vehicle that you’ll be proud to drive.
Before you start your build or even get a project car, consider what restoration you want. Both restomods and classic car restoration have their advantages and disadvantages.


Advantages of Restomodding your Classic Car

  • While finding original parts for classic cars is hard, finding aftermarket parts have never been easier. More and more people are making parts and accessories for old classics, so you will find parts that’ll compel you.
  • You don’t even need to find aftermarket parts; the sky is the limit! Want to cram a 2JZ under the hood? You can! Because it is a restomod, you can swap the engine, change the dials, and install modern air conditioning and sound system.
  • Because most restomods use modern components, your car will be more reliable and easy to live with.
  • Technology advanced quite a bit in the last few decades, and cars have become safer. So, you can use modern brakes and safety devices like airbags for peace of mind.
  • Modern suspension parts and seats are far more comfortable. Also, sound-deadening materials will help you quite a lot.
  • Building, owning, and maintaining a restomod is much cheaper than fully restored classic cars.

Disadvantages of Restomodding your Classic Cars

  • Restomodded cars are hard to sell. You need to find someone that shares the same taste in automobiles.
  • Restomodded classics sell for less. While it is not always the case, people want clean examples of classic cars, especially if you change the aesthetics of your classic, and the value will decrease significantly.

Advantages of Restoring your Classic Car

  • Your classic vehicle will look the way it left the dealership floor all these years ago.
  • If your budget allows for it, it is the best way to preserve a piece of automotive history.
  • They don’t make them like they used to. We believe vintage cars look fantastic, and you will turn heads whenever you pop into car meets and shows.
  • A complete restoration requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but we bet you’ll feel satisfied in the end.
  • A tastefully done complete restoration commands a lot of money, especially if you can keep the numbers matching.

Disadvantages of Restoring your Classic Car

  • Full restorations can be very expensive, especially if you're restoring a rare or valuable car. The cost of parts, labor, and specialized services can add up quickly, and it's common for a complete restoration to cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.
  • Restoring a car to its original condition can take a long time, sometimes months or even years, depending on the extent of the work required. This can be frustrating if you're eager to drive the car or show it off, and it can also increase the overall cost of the restoration.
  • While full restorations aim to recreate a car as closely as possible to its original factory condition, there may be some small details that are difficult to replicate or that are lost over time. In some cases, it may be necessary to use reproduction parts or materials that are not exactly the same as the original, which can compromise the car's authenticity.
  • A complete restoration is focused on restoring a car to its original factory condition, so there is little room for customization or personalization. If you want to add modern features or technology, a restomod may be a better option.
  • Once a car has been fully restored, it requires ongoing maintenance to keep it in top condition. This can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you're unfamiliar with the car's mechanics or need to hire a specialized mechanic to perform the work.

When to Choose Full Restoration or Restomod?

There are a couple of factors in play when it comes to choosing what kind of restoration project you want to do. Before explaining anything, we should clarify that choosing between a complete restoration and a restomod depends on your preferences, goals, and budget. However, we can help you decide.

polishing car restoration

Now, you should choose to embark on a complete classic car restoration if you;

  • Are a purist who values originality and historical accuracy, because an all-original or fully restored car is the best option for you.
  • Are ​​restoring a rare or historically significant car, complete restoration may help to preserve its value and importance.
  • Are planning to show the car at classic car events or competitions, a complete restoration can help you achieve high scores and recognition.
  • Are willing to invest time and money into the restoration process and you're patient enough to wait for the finished product, a complete restoration can be a rewarding experience.

However, you should get a car to restomod if you;

  • Are looking for a classic car that's more reliable, comfortable, and convenient to drive, a restomod may be the best option.
  • Want to add modern features or technology, such as air conditioning, power steering, or a new audio system, a restomod can allow you to customize the car to your liking.
  • Want to improve the car's performance, such as by upgrading the engine or suspension, a restomod can help you achieve your goals.
  • Want a classic daily driver that won’t be too hard to live with.
  • Are on a limited budget or timeline, a restomod may be a more affordable and faster option than a complete restoration.

Ultimately, choosing between a complete restoration and a restomod comes down to your goals and priorities. Complete restoration may be the way to go if you want a classic car as close to its original factory condition. If you want a classic car that's customized to your preferences and modernized for today's driving conditions, a restomod may be the better choice.

restored car

How Can Pedal Commander Help You As a Classic Car Enthusiast?

While Pedal Commander can’t be installed on your restored classic cars, You can install it on your daily drivers and tow vehicles. If you own a classic car or planning to own one, you know how fun it is to drive a car with throttle wire. Those cars have an instant, linear throttle response, and sadly, drive-by-wire vehicles don’t really feel the same. But they don’t have to be that bad.

Thanks to Pedal Commander, the best throttle response controller on the market, you will get a much better throttle response without any lag and feel like you are driving a car with a throttle cable once again. With Pedal Commander, you will have access to 4 modes to change how your throttle responds, giving you total control over your vehicle.
If you are doing a lot of towing, you know how vital throttle control is. If you attend lots of car meets, investing in a Pedal Commander will be valuable because, with its Eco mode, it will pay for itself with fuel savings. If you want to learn more about how Pedal Commander works, click here!