Restomod vs Restoration

The First Big Choice 

City Classic Cars is asked almost daily, "what is the difference between a restomod and restoration?" And which is the better choice for your classic car needs?  "Restomod" and "Restoration" are two popular forms of restoring an antique or classic car to an appearance similar to when it was new. There is no right or wrong. The right choice involves budget, desired usage and long term plan for the project.

​What is a Restoration?

The wikipedia defines “restoration” as: 

res·to·ra·tion noun \res-tə-ˈrā-shən\ – the act of restoring or the condition of being restored as in bringing back to a former position or condition. The key word is former condition. A restorations is seeking to duplicate the original engineer’s creation often through similar techniques.  Restoration essentially refers to taking a great classic or muscle car and returning that classic back to life with a large host of the original factory parts. The purist restoration process involves repair of the visible parts (e.g., body trim, interior, etc.), as well as the parts not easily seen (e.g., electrical, suspension, brakes, etc.). The result is a beautifully preserved automobile in factory-new condition with authentic parts – just like it came off the showroom floor decades earlier.  Sabra Johnson of City Classic Cars defines metaphorically defines a automotive restoration as “trying to duplicate the Mona Lisa”.


Cars prior to 1948 are poor candidates for pure restorations because the technology was so poor which makes for a very unpleasant driving experience. City Classic Cars are excited and willing to restore projects to original condition from 1948-1972 and newer. Contact Carol Sosa at 832-717-0774 to discuss your project.

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 What is a ​Restomod?

The webster defines “modification” as: 

mod·i·fi·ca·tion noun \mä-də-fə-ˈkā-shən\ – the making of a limited change in something. A vehicle modification is the process of increasing the safety, performance, economy, comfort, and drive-ability of the vehicle by incorporating improved technology in the form of a modern drive-train and suspension, or more modern materials and electronics. A Restomod (restoration + modern parts/technology) draws from all the latest technological advancements in automobile technology over the past 4 decades to enhance the performance, comfort and safety of the classic car. A restomod car has the timeless appearance of the original, but the antiquated machinery of the classic vehicle is replaced with more modern, high-performance advancements of today. You achieve the same great look, but your vintage car will be revved up with all the latest bells and whistles to create a much better ride for the owner. This makes the car more modern. If you combine restoration and modification together, you get “restomod” which Sabra Johnson of City Classic Cars defines as: res·to·mod noun \res-tə-mäd\ – the act of restoring a vehicle’s appearance and mechanical appeal while improving the safety, performance, economy, comfort, and drive-ability by customizing the incorporation of improved technology in the form of modern chassis, drive-train convenience items.


Which to Choose? Which one is right for your? Some questions to ask are do you plan to sell the car in the future? What is the purpose of the vehicle? What’s is your time-line? Do you plan to drive the car or trailer to shows? At City Classic Cars our official position is to “make dreams a reality”; therefore, we are flexible as each owner has his and her unique dream. The guys in the Shop have all kinds of debates about which is the better option, Restoration or Restomod. We have this debate daily at City Classic Cars. What’s your choice? At times, the owner gets in the debates and starts literally preaching how Restomods are changing the world of classic cars.

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“Restomods are all the rage for its like having Mozart and Taylor Swift perform a duet together down the superhighways of Life while for others it is one part James Brown and 3 parts Tina Turner all in one driving experience… It’s like having Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Lebron all on the same basketball team with Stephon Curry as your sixth man... It's a custom driving experience”- Sabra Johnson


What’s your choice? Restoration of Restomod?  Stop by the City Classic Cars Shop at 16548 Stuebner Airline Rd in Spring TX for a free consultation.