I'd like to congratulate those of you planning to properly ‘restomod’ your classic. And equally, well done anybody who desires not a screwhead less than complete originality.

Unlike me, you know what you’re trying to achieve, and so this column isn’t aimed at you. This column is for the people trying to navigate through the murky area between reinventing their classic cars wholesale and going entirely by the book. And whether because of cash, personal philosophy, availability of parts or a combination of all three, I suspect that’s most of us. 

So, now you're stuck at home and with time aplenty for fettling and scouring eBay for parts, what I want to know is how far you lean towards either extreme, and whether or not unlimited funds would prompt you to lean even further.

If, say, you could afford to transform your slightly crusty but largely authentic Porsche 964 into a gleaming 4.0-litre Singer, would you? Knowing the driving experience of your GT Junior could be made more enjoyable with some targeted modifications, could you honestly stick to your guns and keep it completely original? Answers in the comments, please.

I’ll go first because I think mine is a familiar story. My natural tendency is indeed to keep things original. That was, and vaguely still is, the plan with my eight-valve Integrale. I like the idea of driving it and experiencing the exact same sights, sounds, sensations and smells as the person who shelled out £17,625 (though I can't quite believe it, this equates to £47,600 today) in 1990. 

Likewise, imagine you’re driving a time-warp Lotus Elan down dusty country roads lit only by its crummy halogen lamps. What you've essentially done is teleport yourself back to 1962 at the wheel of one of the world’s most covetable and advanced sports cars, and who wouldn’t want to experience that? 

Point being, a perfectly original car – and by that I also mean one's awareness that the car is so – can take you to a special place. The problem, as ever, is that the idea of keeping your car in the same specification in which it left the factory gates is usually sweeter than the reality.


Which is where the cheating begins, and it always starts small. My Lancia has polyurethane bushes that are much better than the original, porridge-spec rubber ones. And while the original brake calipers remain, the car uses modern Brembo discs and Ferodo pads. Neither is much of a departure from original spec, though, and both are justifiable in terms of safety. No big deal.