We don’t shy away from our love of American muscle cars here at MC&T. Whether they be classic examples or the latest and greatest offerings coming out of Detroit, these machines never fail to captivate the MC&T staff. Of course there are a few misnomers related to these American icons, particularly that they are revered mostly by older generations. It is true that the folks who grew up with these cars during the high-era of the segment certainly make up a good portion of muscle car fans. It isn’t quite accurate however to say that these people are the only ones with a passion for these classic cars. According to a new research report from the folks at SEMA, younger enthusiasts are particularly interested in restomodding vintage muscle cars.
Restomods are not an entirely new concept, but we’ve seen an explosion in their popularity in recent years. Restomodding is a term applied to vehicles that combine old school looks with modern performance bits, such as upgraded chassis, updated powertrains, and other creature conforms unavailable in the 1960s and 1970s. Companies like Speedkore, Gateway, Ringbrothers, and Icon have propelled themselves into the spotlight with their efforts in this aftermarket space. While these builds may frustrate the purists among us, they certainly have their fans. According to SEMA’s research, 38 percent of classic car owners under 45 seek out a restomod. Among those older than 45, that figure drops down to just 22 percent.
The reason behind this shift in the classic car world can likely be attributed to a variety of factors. Classic cars may be beautiful, but they don’t exactly drive as good as they look. And while there is certainly something to be said about the experience a bone-stock classic can provide, the level of performance on offer isn’t necessarily impressive by today’s standards. Furthermore, vintage muscle cars are getting up there in age these days, and with that comes a host of challenges in order to keep them going. If someone has dreamed of owning one of these machines and using it regularly, this can prove disappointing. By modernizing some components, owners are able to alleviate these qualities they may find undesirable. A vintage muscle car looks like it should be the fastest thing on the road, and now we have the tools to make it so.
This shift has had a significant impact on the business that shops do as well. According to the report, 62 percent of shops are seeing a rise in restomod work. On average, these shops say that half of the work they do on classic cars is now part of a restomod build. This presents a great business opportunity for the builders, while allowing owners to tinker with their own cars as well.
There is no need for the purists to panic however. The SEMA report does highlight that the vast majority of classic car owners are among the older crowd that prefer to keep things as close to factory spec as possible. As time goes on however, the balance will likely shift towards the younger folk’s preferences. If restomods are able to keep people enthusiastic about muscle cars and classic cars in general, it’s something we should all be excited about. There will always be museum-grade and collector-grade examples out there to preserve the heritage of these old-school rides, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with the remaining lot.
You can read the SEMA report for yourself at the link provided here.