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RESTO-MOD FEVER: Is a modernized classic in your future?

Written by independent automotive journalist Steve Magnante   Among the incredible Resto-Mods crossing the block at the Scottsdale Auction is this 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Converible ( Lot #1451 ).   For the past decade, Resto-Mods have exploded in popularity with car enthusiasts and on the auction block. As the name implies, these are vehicles rebuilt with a blend of restoration and modification at their core. Excepting the occasional zero-mile, matching-numbers barn find survivor, when the hammer drops, Resto-Mods often bring more dollars than stock restorations of the same platform. Lot #1366 is a 1966 Chevrolet Nova II Custom Coupe built by Kindig It Design. Were not saying its time to start modifying Ram Air GTOs, fuel-injected Corvettes, HEMI Road Runners, Boss Mustangs and the like. These vehicles still command top dollar when respectfully restored to showroom stock condition, especially those with matching-numbers status. Rather, its the more common bread-and-butter models and race-ravaged relics that are ripe for the Resto-Mod treatment. You can start small with simple bolt-on upgrades. Numerous aftermarket companies offer modern suspension, steering and disc brake conversion kits for just about any vehicle imaginable. Swapping from drum brakes to 4-wheel discs and maybe replacing the old recirculating ball steering box and multiple-link steering with a rack & pinion affair brings any car into the 21st century. And while leaf springs have served since the days of the covered wagon, as any 1967-81 Camaro owner can attest, they hinder rear tire width. This 1971 Plymouth Duster Resto-Mod ( Lot #1284.1 ) was the beneficiary of a 2,000-hour professional nut-and-bolt rotisserie restoration. We admit that old-school small-block and big-block Detroit V8s were formidable beasts, but their choke-equipped carburetors and pump-pump-pump-crank-pump-pump-pump-crank startup ritual can be a deal-killer with under-30 shoppers spoiled by the twist-and-go convenience of the EFI-equipped cars they grew up with. Again, the aftermarket is ripe with EFI conversion kits for any conceivable application. Then again, why not go all the way? Dodge HEMI, Chevrolet LS and Ford Cammer crate engines offer lightweight all-aluminum construction and as much as 707 horsepower in Dodges new supercharged Hellcrate HEMI offering. Often less costly than rebuilding an old-school V8, smart Resto-Modders have embraced modern crate engines with both arms. Most have EFI and idle like a new Corvette. If youre looking for a gutsy muscle machine thats as potent and reliable as one of the new Detroit pony cars but looks like it stepped out of a time warp, why not try out a Resto-Mod? Look for name-brand upgrades, expert craftsmanship, all-steel body modifications (fiberglass or carbon-fiber hoods, decklids and bumpers are okay) and take it for a test drive. It might just give you cake you can eat every day. Check out the Resto-Mods on the 2019 Scottsdale docket by clicking HERE .


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