The Rise of the Restomod

July 29, 2021

Drive

The Rise of the Restomod

To really take a deep dive into the world of Restomods we need to journey over the Atlantic and visit the company the arguably brought the phenomenon into the limelight, Singer Vehicle Design. By no means the first, Singers timing was absolutely impeccable as Catherine Wheel lead singer Rob Dickinson had a love for something not necessarily on the top of everyones list at that time, the classic 911 and his own 1969 911 that he restored into a lightweight would become the catalyst the started the journey. Rob dubbed the car the Brown Bomber and the car quickly became famous drawing attention within the Californian streets, one admirer even handed Rob a glass of champagne at the lights to toast his achievement (only in LA.) 

 As any businessman would, Rob quickly noticed a gap in the market and with a relatively open cheque book got to work building what we now know as Singer Vehicle Design. Full of passion, Rob persuaded a small group to help fund the first car from the brand and in another stroke of genius, showed the car at Pebble in 2009. Looking back at this now it seems like an incredibly bold move as Pebble is ‘THE’ place for authenticity and perfection, not to say that what Singer had made was any less than perfect, but it was essential a bastardised 911. However, the future was born.

1962 EMORY OUTLAW ROADSTER BALI BLUE


THE ORIGINAL

Back in the 1930’s cars were well and truly part of daily life. But with the first generations that only new one mode of transport came a new challenge, how do I stand out? Right about that time Neil Emory (Grandfather to Rod) was a well know name in custom car design, famous for pioneering channeling and sectioning early hot rods (Channeling is bringing the side of a car lower than the chassis.) Later in his career Neil became a name in the Porsche world after being invited to work on the marque by Chick Iverson, a German car dealer in Newport Beach. For Rod Emory authenticity is everything and decades on Rod is powered by that same love of automotive that his grandfather had. The way that Emory talks about this is incredibly inspiring and as well as passing on lost arts like panel forming and gas welding, Rob Grandfather also passed on some of his tool just showing the real dedication to the craft. 

 Established in the late 90’s Emory Motorsport is responsible for some of the most iconic 356 Porsches builds of this generation. Celebrated by Porsche as the company who “builds the most iconic, yet personalised Porsche 356s on the planet” in 2019 Emory motorsport set out on a journey to build their most ambitious project yet… the 356 RSR. The definition of a restomod, the RSR took design cues from modern Porsche GT cars such as the over arch fender vents and hood scoops. The body came from a rusted-out 1960 356 B coupe and once all of the bodywork had been completed Emory used a 1990 964 C2’s chassis, allowing Emory to fit aggressive KW coilover suspension, wider, grippier tyres and larger 964 brakes to ensure the car could handle the power from its 911 derived, near 400 HP four-cylinder, twin-turbocharged engine.


INSPIRING A NEW MOVEMENT

The rise of the restomod over the past decade has opened the door to some amazing and inspiring builds from Alfas and Range Rovers to Lancia Delta Integrale. With an abundance of choice now in the market and a shift in perspective it seems that this is not just some fad that will blow over and that this may be the new way to own a classic car. From personal experience anything that offers drivability in a classic package will always be top of the list and with the added fact that the resto versions of classics usually take the downfalls of the originals and improve upon them. 

The Alfahoilics GTA-R has been decorated by some motoring journalists as driving at its very best and if you don’t think this thing is achingly cool then you should probably check that your Prius is still plugged in. The company is based in Bristol, United Kingdom and is famous for being the one-stop-shop for all parts necessary to restore and improve an Alfa Romeo 105 Series. They have been doing it since the early nineties when the financial situation led to the decision not only to do full restoration work but offer clients the opportunity to work on their cars themselves and provide off-the-shelve, mail-order parts.

Author

Mitch Kemp

Photographer

Hoodpin Studios

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