Category: Restomod

Classic luxury meets modern performance when you restomod a 1987 Cadillac Brougham. Here’s how I’d build it. – David Conwill @Hemmings

Classic luxury meets modern performance when you restomod a 1987 Cadillac Brougham. Here’s how I’d build it. – David Conwill @Hemmings


I’ve talked about the weird things I want to do to some newer-vintage Cadillacs in the past, and I’ve also mentioned here that our family’s daily driver is a 1983 Cadillac Sedan Deville purchased new by my wife’s grandfather. It’s a really great car and I’m coming to like it a lot just as it sits. That said, I could envision giving into my tinkerer side with any number of Ford Panther or GM B-body cars from the 1980s—the Cadillac included.

Because I can’t lavish all that attention on ours (for both financial and sentimental reasons), I can at least use this 1986 Cadillac Brougham in our classifieds as a basis for outlining how I think someone really ought to build

Frame, Steering, Front Suspension and Brakes

Under what is unmistakably a Cadillac lurks virtually the same chassis that would eventually underpin the 1996 Impala SS—it’s got all the engineering and parts support you could want for.

The 1987 Cadillac Brougham isn’t technically a B-body. It’s a D-body, which is nearly the same thing but longer. Before 1985, this same platform was called C-body, but then General Motors decided it needed the C-body designation for one of its new front drivers, but couldn’t retire the actual C-body cars, so it resurrected the old D-body name for them.

It’s a great system, all designed for the 1977 model year and a well-engineered combination of handling, comfort, ease of operation, and safety. I’d be tempted to play with stiffer shocks, and perhaps a thicker roll bar (Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 pieces, perhaps) because I prefer a bit more handling at the expense of some luxury, but I could be equally happy with things simply as-intended.

The brakes, a typical front-disc/rear-drum setup with power assist, work especially well right out of the box and would have plenty of margin for more power.

Overall, the chassis needs nothing except a thorough inspection to ensure that everything is in spec and fastened securely. It’s one of the outstanding features of the car

Wheels and Tires

The standard 215/75R15 whitewall radial mounted on a 15-inch steel wheel could easily give way to a lot of variations—provided you stick with the 5 on 5 bolt pattern used on the Cadillac. For my part, I’d shake it up with black-wall tires and dog-dish hubcaps on body-color steel wheels.

Typically, this ’87 wears whitewall radials and steel wheels with wheel covers—in this case wire-spoke wheel covers. That’s fine and appropriate, but I find myself called in a slightly different direction.

I’ve really gotten to enjoy the look of black-wall snow tires on our ’83 Cadillac. Those tires seem to lend a dignified, ’40s air to it. While changing out the whitewalls for snows, I also made two discoveries. First, I discovered the wheels are equipped with hubcap nubs to fit a standard 10.5-inch hubcap. Second, the brake dust also made the black steel wheels look body color, making me think that this car would look good with the wheels exposed and also sprayed Light Chestnut Metallic.

I found myself wondering how the Cadillac might look with dog dishes. Then I further discovered that some Pontiacs in the ’70s came with blank hubcaps that otherwise have a much more appropriate shape for the Cadillac body than a regular baby moon. I figure if GM itself condoned un-marked hubcaps, they’d be perfect in the absence of ‘caps bearing an actual Cadillac crest.

Engine, Transmission and Rear Axle

The factory engine from 1986 to 1990 was a 5.0L V-8, known to most enthusiasts as the “Oldsmobile 307” after the division that designed it and its displacement in cubic inches. It’s interchangeable with other low-deck Olds V-8s, including 350- and versions, but given that the ubiquitous LS swap has already reached the GM B-bodies, it seems ridiculous not to use the hardware that already exists to use the newer engine and all the hardware that has developed around it.

If this were our Cadillac, which has the 4.1-liter High Technology engine, I’d be tempted to go no further than the 4.8L LS that was installed in countless half-ton pickups and barely rates a glance from power addicts hunting for 6.0L engines. But because this was already a 5.0L car, it seems more fitting that the 5.3L used in heavier pickups and SUVs be installed here along with its associated 4L60E four-speed automatic.

The biggest challenges would be a matter of packaging: You can’t build a Cadillac and not have air conditioning, power steering, and power brakes all on board. Also, I’m unclear if the stock intake setup from a pickup truck will fit under the hood or if something from an F-body, a Corvette, or the aftermarket would be required to keep everything looking externally stock.

The rear axle is the strong GM 10-bolt. It should hold up just fine behind a mild LS and an automatic with stock-sized tires. If you really had to mess with it, you could consider adding a limited-slip differential.

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Restomodding a house has America swooning; restomodding a car divides us. Why? – Jeff Koch @Hemmings


During the weekend, my wife is addicted to watching fixer-upper home shows in between naps on the couch. Lots of Chip and Joanna, and their various handy pals, dancing across the screen smashing old walls and painting new ones neutral grey on any given weekend. And that’s fine, considering the fact that I’m likely to nap through one of their marathons.

Staffer Tom Comerro celebrates the removal of a sheet of drywall during a kitchen renovation.Photo by Daniel Strohl

I managed to stay awake for one tale of what was pitched as a restoration project. A near-century-old home in Detroit had been sold off decades ago, then re-purchased by the original owners’ grandson, who also happened to be a contractor. He was going to bring this disheveled, fire-damaged wreck of a house back to new, he said, and would once again enjoy the place where a million childhood memories flowed. Period photos? History? All there. If it was a car, I thought to myself, I’d want to photograph it for a Restoration Profile piece in one of our magazines.

But a car is not a house (unless you’re in a motor home, which is a different question altogether). Outside, refinishing is practically mandatory on a house: Fix the crumbling fixtures, sort out the loose bricks with new mortar, and cover it all in a coat of paint. In the world of car restoration, preservation is huge. Original parts and original finishes all give a period-correct and accurate feel for what the car once was. If it needs to be refinished, restoration demands that it be done using period colors and finishes.

But it’s inside the house that the big transformation takes place. For a place that supposedly holds so many memories, gutting the inside of the place and knocking down walls feels (at least to this geezer-adjacent old-car fan) against the point. The living is done inside. What remains after the refurb is absolutely a more functional place to live, and I’m sure that the feng shui is vastly improved and makes it more comfortable. Many who love their cars and cherish the memories they generate want them frozen in amber. Car restorers will go to unreasonable lengths to make their cars look and feel correct—installing cloth wiring looms, developing methods to replicate otherwise-impossible finishes, finding entire other cars to crib parts from. No one in these home shows is looking to get a 1950s-era fridge running for the new kitchen or track down the original style sconces or re-use knob and tube wiring; those interiors are going to be full of new equipment and acres of counter space, taking up part of a previously-walled-off room that incorporates a newly-devised open-plan concept that takes up the entirety of the bottom level of the house.

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Can a ’65 Ford F100 on a Panther-platform Chassis Work as a Daily Driver? – Jeff Koch @Hemmings


My wife loves her daily-driver Ford Fiesta ST to bits—the power, the keen handling, rowing through the gears—save for one thing: the gas in the shock absorbers feels more like quarry gravel. She likes cars, a consequence of growing up with a father and grandfather who ran a used car lot in Spokane in the ’70s and ’80s. She learned to drive on a Trans Am from the lot, I’m told; when we met in Los Angeles 20-odd years ago, she was driving a stick-shift car. By choice. When I talk about car things, she doesn’t automatically roll her eyes, tune out or scold me for thinking crazy. So when she has the slightest inkling about anything car-related, I try to feed that. (Similarly, she indulges me when I get a home decorating idea; it’s not often, but it happens.)

She has forever loved the look, feel and even the smell of an old truck (old defined as a time before she was born in 19-cough-ty8). Yet she knows that she is not willing to put up with the nature of an old truck, particularly if it’s going to be something reliable enough to daily. The cut-and-thrust nature of morning traffic is far better suited to her 197-hp hot hatch than it would be to a properly restored vintage pickup. The perpetually-under-construction roads in our town would feel no better with two solid axles beneath her, and there wouldn’t be enough oomph to make her anything but an impediment in traffic, no matter how adorable she looked behind the wheel. Hot rodding might be the answer, with a bigger engine and Mustang II front suspension and all sorts of aftermarket components that might well be engineered to work with a stock truck, but not necessarily with each other.

Recently, an intriguing alternative came to our attention. This ’65 Ford F100 pickup now lives on a Ford Panther chassis. Panther, you may recall, was the codename given to the downsized full-size platform underpinning the Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis starting in 1979, with other applications coming on line later. From the mid-90s through 2011, when production ceased, and even long after, a Panther was probably your local PD’s cop car of choice. And while the beefy P71 cop-car package was built for beatin’, plenty of grandma-spec Grand Marquis models came down the pike as well—and benefited from regular updates. By the year 2000, a Grand Marquis came standard with overdrive automatic transmission, four-wheel disc brakes with both anti-lock and traction control, set-it-and-forget-it climate control, smooth suspension with anti-roll bars on either end, dual exhaust, power windows, and more. All of it was rigorously tested by engineers in Detroit and elsewhere. Here in the desert Southwest, there are approximately 17 billion of them, plenty of which look just like your great Aunt Helen’s last ride—low mileage examples with questionable roof treatments and scraped bumpers—and lots of them for sale around the $5,000 mark. Could something like this be a viable replacement for the Mrs.’ little orange rocket?

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Meet the rare Reo that proves originality isn’t always best – Paul Regan @Classic&SportsCar


It’s 1973, and Al Parkes has decided it’s time.

For too long his father’s old Reo Flying Cloud has served as little but a brooding hunk of metal beside the family’s suburban home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He has petrol, spark plugs and enthusiasm – but it hasn’t run since before he was old enough to remember.

It is only in the details that you realise this Reo isn’t in its standard spec

At this time Parkes is in his early 20s and life already has many ingredients of the American Dream.

He has ditched university for a career with McDonald’s, feet on the first rungs of a corporate ladder but heart set on owning one of the hot rod-era V8s that regularly shake the drive-through window.

His father, Don, is an engineer and there’s barely any distance between apple and tree when it comes to things mechanical.

The Reo’s straight-six coughs on its first taste of gasoline in more than two decades.

The last time it moved without the help of a tow was in the moments before Don was forced off the road into a ditch in ’53.

The front bumper was buckled and the wing bent – and with a growing family, a replacement vehicle with more seats was an easier prospect than repair.

And so the Reo sat, disturbed from its slumber only when the Parkes family moved home.

Like a stray dog it followed from garage to barn to driveway, including the one upon which it now sits rocking rhythmically to the tune of its tired starter motor.

Another cough. A longer splutter. Then it fires – filling the neighbourhood with thick white smoke, and Parkes’ head with dreams of a full restoration.

It was the beginning of a journey with the Flying Cloud that would go on to last most of a lifetime.

This Reo has been part of the Parkes family for longer than its owner – 71 years and counting – so he has lived a full spectrum of experiences with the coupe, from unexpected child’s toy to retirement plaything.

“My first memory of the car is in the family barn when I was about five years old,” he smiles. “We used to run up the fenders and leap off into bales of hay, hoping to avoid bruising from those great big chrome headlamps.”

At that time the ‘Old Brown Reo’, as it came to be known, was probably only about 20 years old, but such was the pace of car design in those days it already felt like a relic.

Living so close to Detroit, the streets were always full of the latest models and even though Parkes’ father was rarely in the market for new metal, he would frequently chop and change from used car lots.

Somehow the Reo lingered, in stasis between jalopy and classic.

“The first time we saw any value in it was in the early ’60s, when a guy walked past the house and offered my dad $1000 for it,” Parkes recalls. “I never thought to ask him why he said no; he worked six days a week and any time left was given to his hobby, flying planes.”

The smallblock Chevy V8 nestles snugly under the bonnet

The car’s value – sentimental, at least – was creeping up.

Don had owned the Reo for only a few years before the accident, having traded down from a 1948 Buick with onerous finance repayments.

It had been well kept in the hands of a local doctor and perhaps he felt it too good to scrap, or that someone else would reap the benefit after an easy repair.

Either way, there was never an active decision to keep it, but equally no desire to let it go. Instead it waited for familiarity to mature into nostalgia, and for that moment in 1973 when Parkes would crank it over

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Smart Upgrades and Ecoboost Power Make This ’65 Mustang Accessible to a Wide Range of Drivers – David Conwill @Hemmings


Had the original Mustang not been dubbed a “pony car,” it could have just as easily been pegged as a sport compact. It was just a regular Ford economy car, the Falcon, slightly reconfigured for better proportions and handling. Still, it didn’t weigh much (well under 3,000 pounds, even for a convertible like this) and the 120-horsepower, six-cylinder moved a base-model convertible in a suitably sporty manner for the era. Eras change, however, and today the average driver is used to not only more responsiveness in a vehicle, but better braking, lower engine speed on the highway, and a whole host of other conveniences—even while the car drinks far less fuel than the 20-or-so miles per gallon boasted by the original “Thrift Power Six” engine, created for the 1960 Falcon.

By 1965, the original four-main, 90-hp, Falcon six had matured into a seven-main engine of considerable durability and adequate economy. Sticking with a manual transmission, as this car was originally equipped, did a lot to improve the driving experience. A floor-shift three-speed was standard equipment in a Mustang, with a Dagenham four-speed borrowed from Ford of England as an option for drivers of a sportier bent.

The base Mustang powerplant for 1965 was a 120-hp, Thrift Power Six. An inline engine with its one-barrel intake manifold cast integrally with the head, the 200 was relatively economical and moved the lightweight pony car around just fine for 1960s traffic. Modern drivers aren’t used to the kind of preplanning that comes with antique power, handling, brakes, etc

In regard to engine sizes, the 2.3-liter designation has been around a long time now for Ford. It could have described the original Falcon six, but it has mostly referred to four-cylinders. At present, Dearborn’s 2.3-liter is a direct injection, turbocharged four-cylinder that is part of a Ford Motor Company program to replace cylinders and displacement with extremely precise air and fuel management. When paired with a six-speed manual, it is the modern Mustang’s equivalent of this car’s base powertrain setup.

The EcoBoost 2.3-liter four-cylinder is the modern equivalent of the 1965 Thrift Power Six, as it is the base powerplant in current-production Mustangs. As built by Ford, the direct-injected, turbo-charged engine produces 310 horsepower. A modern convertible Mustang has a curb weight of 4,193 pounds, so the same power will go a lot further in the 2,740-pound ’65. The power-to-weight ratio is even better than a 1965 Shelby G.T. 350!

This engine appealed to Paul Cuff, our feature car’s owner. Paul, of Angel’s Camp, California, is the owner of America Road Trips, which offers collectible car rentals and road trip planning services, like itineraries for cruising Route 66. Or, for instance, if you’ve ever dreamed about driving an old convertible along California’s Pacific Coast Highway, Paul can help you out including renting you the smartly restomodded 2.3-liter EcoBoost-powered Mustang featured here.

Pre-1967 Mustangs were based so closely on the 1960-’65 Ford Falcon that the narrow engine bay precluded the use of engines any wider than the Windsor small-block V-8. Notching or removing the protruding shock towers to gain space for swaps goes back to 1960, at least. Remarkably, the EcoBoost required only a bit of trimming in this area — one advantage of using a four-cylinder, even if it is covered with turbo-charging gear.

“The concept for America Road Trips rentals spawned out of a Route 66 road trip in April of 2019,” Paul says. “That trip consisted of late model Mustangs, Shelbys, and an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. In mid-2019, the process of searching for the “prototype” vehicle began in earnest. I wanted to take a vintage first-generation Mustang and incorporate virtually all the features that made our 2019 Route 66 road trip seamless and problem-free.

“That trip through the Desert Southwest in springtime had actually started out with plans to drive vintage cars, “but the desire for air conditioning and a late model drivetrain won out,” Paul relates. So, what if there was some way to merge the two? To that end, he sought out the assistance of the Grotto brothers, Mike and Dave, retired law-enforcement officers and builders of an award-winning Pro Street 1966 Mustang fastback known as Toxic 66.

Paul wanted people to have a worry-free experience driving his ’65, which he purchased as a non-running but cosmetically restored car in Colorado.

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A 1,000-hp restomod Mustang Mach I that came together through luck and coincidence – Barry Kluczyk @Hemmings


Tom Brown’s 1,000-hp restomod Mach I is supercharged serendipity

Early in Mad Max, when the titular anti-hero is introduced to the supercharged Interceptor, he asks, “How the hell did you get all this together?” “It just happened… A piece from here and piece from there,” was the reply from the mad-scientist mechanic Barry; and the wasteland road trash would soon be sorry he put all those pieces together. Very sorry. “It just happened,” is also how Tom Brown describes the build of his own bad, black and blown Ford—a ’69 Mustang Mach 1 that he calls Instigator, which sort of sounds like Interceptor. “The car and parts just came together.”
“We were sitting at the Woodward Dream Cruise a couple of years ago and I had my ’61 Cadillac convertible,” Tom told us. “My friend Brian Thomson said he had an NOS Northstar supercharged engine sitting in the crate, suggesting it would be a good swap into the Cadillac. I agreed and made a deal with him for it. Then Brian said, ‘Great, now all I have to do is get rid of that Mustang.’ I asked what Mustang he was talking about, and after that, it all came together.”
The next day, Brian pushed the Mach 1 onto the lift in his shop for Tom’s inspection. Brian had purchased it in 1979 and restored it in the years after, where it ultimately hit the ISCA circuit and won its class at the Detroit Autorama. The engine and transmission were removed in 1993, and, as one thing led to another, it became the ultimate man-cave accessory in his walk-out basement, where it sat for almost 20 years


This or That: Hemmings Auction Restomod Edition – Terry Shea @Hemmings


While we all have our favorite niches in this hobby, you’d have to be living under a rock if you weren’t aware that restomods have been hot for several years now, with plenty of action heating up the live—and online—auctions.

Restomods are most typically muscle cars with more modern engines, better suspensions and braking components, and often have a level of modification to the exterior and interior, with the latter geared as much toward comfort of driving as anything else. These changes can range from the more simple engine swap to a wholesale customization of a car in nearly every facet. The restomod craze is just the latest iteration of a desire to hot rod cars that goes back to the beginning of the hobby. And, like any good hot rod, a good restomod is its own animal, a one-of-a-kind vehicle that reflects the vision of its builder as much as a car can.

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1963 Ford Falcon Futura Is Simple And Sexy – Shane McGlaun @FordAuthority


1963 Ford Falcon Futura Is Simple And Sexy

There is a lot to be said for a restomod classic that is very cool, but is very simple and not over the top. Cars with too much done to them tend to look cluttered and crowded to many people. This 1963.5 Ford Falcon Futura is a very simple car. The car is coated in black paint, which was its factory color.

The current owner is a man called Craig Wick, and he owns a custom shop known for cool rides. The 1963 Ford Falcon Futura was a customer car that sat derelict for a few years until Wick made a deal to buy it. The car had already received a Mustang II-style front suspension upgrade

1963 Ford Falcon Futura Is Simple And Sexy

Read the article here

Related – America’s Lowest-priced Pickup: 1960 Ford Falcon Ranchero