There’s been a trend in the market the past few years that leaves me totally confused.
Owners are taking vintage cars and updated or backdating them to perform better than they did when new. These resto-mods are often selling for six figures. This can be more than a nicely kept original.
Even more confusing to me, these bastardized old cars often bring more than a similar, three-to-five-year-old late model car.
I just don’t understand.
Without question, a stock 1967 1600-cc Alfa GTV on its skinny 155×15 Pirelli Cinturatos is a flawed car. It doesn’t accelerate, handle or stop very well. I would argue that those deficiencies are a part of its charm. It requires a deft touch to extract its performance. Standing on the brakes or smashing the gas pedal are not going to save you from driver errors.
Let’s talk Porsches. A few decades ago, I owned a stock 2-liter 1968 911L. I think I paid $8,000 for it and sold it a year later for the same amount after I drove it on the 600-mile Monte Shelton Northwest Classic.
What I recall most about the car is its light and nimble feeling. Was it tail-happy? I don’t know, as I never drove it that hard. I recall it was fun, and much more powerful than my 1300-cc Alfas.
Since then, I have owned a Porsche Boxster S, a 996 Twin Turbo and a 996 Carrera. In terms of performance, all of them were vastly superior to the 911L. But it is that car that I remember. I had to work to get it to work for me. My skills were necessary to get it to hustle on a back road.
The newer cars required less from me to do more.
So, I ask, why mess with a good thing? If you want modern performance, why not buy a modern car? It will be better and safer in every way, and often cost less than an updated resto-mod. This is true with Porsches and faux-GTA Alfas from Alfaholics.
I see 911s from the 1970s with 3.2-liter and larger engines stuffed in them. Plus, massively upgraded brakes, and altered suspensions and more modern gearboxes.
Especially confusing to me are the Land Rovers from Arkonik. With their six-figure price tags, I would guess that the chances of them being driven in challenging off-road situations are slim. My own off-roading experience with a D90 200 Tdi has taught me that rarely does more power benefit you. Absent computerized nanny-aids, driver skill is the ultimate determinant of progress. Further, scratches and dents are part of the game; a perfect Rover resto-mod is not well-suited to this environment.
So that’s this week’s question: For the same money, why would you choose a vintage car that has been resto-moded to increase its capabilities over a nicely kept original?
I know what my answer is. What’s yours?