Modified Classics

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Dinsdale Piranha
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A neighbour of mine has recently completed restoration of a Triumph Vitesse during which he has added a few touches of his own.  The car now sports large alloys, modern seats and a vivid metallic paint job in a colour that certainly wasn't available as an option.

The car looks absolutely stunning and a world removed from the rusting non-runner that entered his garage some months ago, yet I can imagine a certain element of classic enthusiasts biting through the stem of their pipes in shock at the sight of a hot rodded classic. 

So, should classics be restored to factory originality with maybe hidden performance upgrades, or should any changes be smiled upon as long as another classic is saved from the scrapyard?

James Elliott
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If making the changes is saving a car from the scrapyard, then go for it. If I had a car that was totally original, I would certainly like to keep it that way, but if you want to use a classic every day, then you do have to be more pragmatic I think. None of my fleet is totally original (whether it be the Kenlowe on the Elan or the Edelbrock on the Interceptor), but equally nothing has been done that is not reversible and that tends to be my stance on what is acceptable practice: the most important thing is to use them and have them seen and exercised, so if a degree of sensible, reversible modernisation is required, then so be it.

There is also the question of rarity, of course. To modify something unique or severely endangered beyond all recognition would be a pretty heinous crime on par with banger racing it, but if it is a car that is plentiful, it doesn't seem quite so wrong.

This is just one view of course, and it could vary hugely depending on the car, the circumstances and what someone wants to do to it, but I would like to hear some more.

n/a
Mr Bizzle
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It's a difficult one really.

Being a huge fan of 70's-80's Japanese metal I have always been in a bit of
a quandary over whether to restore to original or modify. I’ll put my hand on my
heart and say that I’m more of an “Admirer of classic form” rather than “Admirer
of the classic drive” I’m not suggesting you go out and start carving up E
types (but it’s been done!) however modifying classics is effectively “hot rodding”
which has been going on for decades.

If you haven’t seen it before, the below is a 70’s 240z with a VH45 twin
turbo v8 engine bolted to it. I believe it also has later s-body suspension
set. It’s a great example of a classic that is heavily restored and modified,
but looks great and drives “modern” (in my humble opinion)  while still retaining all its original charm
and character.

 

 

VH45 240z

 

MrBenovich
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i am inclined to agree with Mr bizzle on this. While some cars should be preserved in their natural state for future generations to enjoy, projects that take on a classic body with a modern flavour underneath should not be frowned upon. Many are tastefully done and clearly excite and involve the younger enthusiasts out there for classics.

And as a 240z fan myself, I think that snap you included looks fab.

drubie
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As long as the changes are reversible, it doesn't bother me what people do with their classics.  Things like the 240z were heavily modified in period anyway.  Cars that attracted heavy mods in period (like Escorts, or Holden Toranas) are sometimes made more desirable with a heap of improvements.