To the purists, the subject of “remods” or “resto-mods” (taking an old car and improving — or sometimes “improving” it) generally causes pearl-clutching and mutters of “chucking away the heritage” or “losing all its value” or “can’t show it anymore” and “turned it into a bastard”.

As a rule, as all my Readers are aware, I am generally against fiddling with the past.  But not in this case.  Not with cars.

Because, as any fule kno, some old cars look fantastic, e.g. the 1964 Austin Healy 3000:

…or the 1970 Alfa Romeo Spider 1750:

…but are total shit to own because of their propensity to rust, overall mechanical unreliability, and our old friends

and its Euro-cousin .

So when Evil Reader Ken S. sent me this link about fixing up a Series I E-type Jag, I wasn’t mortally offended — especially when I consider some of the reservations about the E-type expressed in Comments to an earlier post.  And the resto-mod is pretty damn impressive, I admit… although I must say that replacing the Jag’s wonderful 3-liter powerhouse with a Ford V6 did cause a momentary catch in my throat.

Still, when I saw Jay Leno’s take on Ken Lee’s resto-mod of his Dino, I agreed with Jay completely:

This is the car that Ferrari should have made.”

…and even though Lee had dropped a more powerful engine into his Dino, at least it was a Ferrari F40 and not a Chrysler hemi.

And all that said, I have no problem with pairing reliable and cheap-to-fix American engines with (say) Italian styling, like Monteverdi, Iso Rivolta and Bizzarrini did, back in the 1960s.  Here’s the last-named’s P538 model:

The same can’t be said for the Jensen Interceptor, which paired the excellent Chrysler V6 with… British Leyland-style assembly.

If you wanted to do a resto-mod on this one, you’d probably have to ditch everything except the engine, and have a coachbuilder make you a replica body.  And keep Lucas Electrical away at gunpoint.

My secret hankering, by the way, is to get some smart coachbuilder to drop a Dino body onto a Porsche Cayman chassis and make all the stuff work.  The dimensions are almost perfect.

Yes, in Ferrari Yellow.  If you’re going to fuck up, fuck up at the top of your voice.


If this doesn’t make you proud to be American, go and live in Switzerland*:

The Cannonball Run record has been broken seven times over a five-week period after illegal road racers took to the empty streets during coronavirus lockdown to drive from New York City to Los Angeles.
The newest record holders, who have not been named, completed the 2,800-mile cross-country journey in less than 26 hours, beating last month’s record of 26 hours and 38 minutes.

That’s only a little less than twenty extra hours’ time spent flying from NYFC to LFA (taking into account the total time needed to get to the airport early, waiting around, boarding, taxiing to the takeoff point, and the flight itself, about six hours usually).

It’s also a whole lot more fun withal.

The rally has also become a lot easier to evade traffic cops, seeing as said fuzz are too busy ejecting families from parks, enforcing lockdowns on bars and florists, and all the other useless shit the various government entities are amusing themselves with.

All these new records — essentially breaking the law each time — make my chest swell with pride.  More, please.

*Switzerland, despite having some of the best roads in Europe, absolutely hates cars, and most of all fast driving.  Swiss speed limits are the lowest in Western Europe, and are savagely enforced with astronomical fines, confiscation and even imprisonment for transgressors.  Oh, and all motor racing is banned.  Fucking pissant wankers.

Not Much Argument

Some Brit place did a poll:

That’s not a bad list (and yes, the Ford GT40 is a Brit car — designed and prototyped by Ford UK).  I would take issue, however, with the omission of the 1960s Rolls-Royce:

…and the equally sumptuous Bentley of the same era (pre-German takeover):

I would also have replaced the Lotus Elan Mark I (below):

…with the Esprit:

I also feel that a lot of the older iconic Brit cars were ignored — like the MG TF:

…and the pre-war (later Jaguar) SS:

Compared to those two, the Lotus Elan is a clown car.

Feel free to agree / disagree or add your own entrants in Comments.

Then And Now

I’ve never been a huge fan of Porsche, mostly because I’ve never much cared for the shape of their cars.  But I will say that the newer models don’t look too bad:

Here’s the original Targa:

And an overhead of the 2020:

That is actually quite toothsome.  Let’s hope they don’t catch fire like the earlier 4S models did.

Here’s the whole story of its launch.