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63 RestoMod Versus Restoration


Sep 1, 2009
1963 Convertible
Hi All,

A long first post i know but I have to decide this before I ask any more.

I own a 1963 Convertable with a 350 from 1970 something. The transmission and the rest of the drivetrain is stock, down to the drum brakes. I love to drive it and want a car that drives as good as it looks.

I have had the gastank replaced, rear end rebuilt, and transmission rebuilt over the last few years and have enjoyed driving it. The 350 leaks oil, poses a fire threat with really old wiring, and is anemic at best.

I have two options RestoMod by removing the body and welding the frame, then adding: a Crate motor, Coil-over conversion, Rack and pionion powersterring conversion, and Disk brake Conversion. Plus the wiring and other 'minor' details (i know its a lot more than minor but they are just details)

otherwise I could pull the body, clean the frame and weld where needed, source a 327 and buy all the missing pieces (the chrome distributor cover comes to mind) and make it an original engine, at the same time i would need new wiring and other 'minor' details but all must be ncrs correct. Many (all) of the original components on the suspension need to be pulled, cleaned, new bushings etc, at the same time I would have to continue the yearly maintenance on the drum brakes which i hate how hard it is.

First I believe the cost to do both would be around the same, am I way off base here, have I left some thing major out or would the restoration be cheaper than i expect (I have 30k budgeted but ?

Second as for pure value which would return the highest value (original is a 'plain' 300/300 convertible), mostly would there be a HUGE difference?

Third what would you do and why?

Okay, well, you asked our opinion, so here is my 2% of a dollar:

If it was a coupe, I would restore it. It's a 'vert. Mod it. You are already missing the original motor, and who knows what else. You did not say if it was a fuelie car, or with knock off wheels or sidepipes-all desirable options in the NCRS world. Do you have the tank sticker? What is the build date?

I say, a built (perhaps injected) 383, AOD/or 5/6 speed, R&P, suspension, brakes, and a tire/wheel upgrade will turn it into a fun driving machine you will truly enjoy. And, I believe, it can actually cost you less than a full resto job, if you shop and plan accordingly. $30K buys a lot of upgrades. A resto will drive you nuts looking for that last "correct" part-and it appears it's a "standard"-nothing really *that* special in the first place (other than it's a midyear-:drool: ). The "frame welding" is a concern. Think that would pass NCRS?

Properly done, with nice paint and body-you probably won't lose any money. Add-upgrade to HID lights, too!

IMHO-YMMV. BTW-Welcome to CAC!

you have a tough decision.....

First, either way if you stick $30k into the car, if you add the value of the car now and then the additional $30k, you won't get your money out, IMHO. 1963 verts with NOM in nice shape go for about $40k+/- $6k. Your car as it sits now, you could probably get $25k for it, maybe a bit more.....so you see the math doesnt work if you are trying to break even.

Now if you don't care about the money side of it and want to enjoy it that is a different issue.

If you like to drive it and drive it a lot, then in my opinion putting a kick butt motor in it and driving it like it as stolen will bring you a lot of smiles....
...Second as for pure value which would return the highest value (original is a 'plain' 300/300 convertible), mostly would there be a HUGE difference?

:thumb A fellow Louisvillian!:thumb

I'm going to put on my flame suit first...:flaming
But with this economy, I'd hardly consider a project car to be an investment.

In fact, most all cars are simply easy to liquidate liabilities.:chuckle

Since you lack the original motor- and you want to drive it... I say resto-mod it. :cool

Why not go with an LSX engine, EFI, and an overdrive? While you are at it- convert it over to an SRIII chassis...

C4 suspension on mid year frame...

Tubular frame with C4 suspension...

IMHO- the value of the car is in your eyes since it sleeps in your garage. If you go to sell it, someone else will have to recognize the level of value or assign a lower value. You'll either accept it or reject it.
I would pay more for a good resto mod then an original car personally. LS-1 crate engine, steeroids rack, 4 speed auto or 6 speed manual, rebuild the suspension, etc. Sounds a lot more fun to me...

After spending two years and many thousands of dollars not to mention every free moment I had restoring a 1967 Camaro to it's original condition I vote Resto-Mod.

After finishing everything but the paint on the Camaro I found out it was not that fun to drive. Old cars from the 60's were not built nearly as comfortable as they are now. The seats were springy, the ride was bumpy, the outside noise was bad, etc. etc...

One other thing I will point out, it's usually cheaper to buy a restored car than it is to restore one. At least with a restomod I believe you will enjoy driving it much more and won't have to pay a premium for hard to find original parts.

My $.02
So i am not crazy: RestoMod It is!

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I have been leaning toward the resto mod direction myself but when dealing with something as historic as this I wanted to do a sanity check. There is nothing special about this car other than its a family heirloom that I won't sell.

Money isn't the real issue unless we are talking about a huge difference. Like its worth 25k now and if i restore it its worth 50 but if i restomod it its worth 30 but still spend the same amount.

I plan on having a car that I can drive hard and has that unique look. I think this will fit the bill.

I am going to open some new threads now that I have decided on this route.
i used a frame from corvette corrections on this 57. car was too far gone to restore. it has turned out really well.
Original Frame I think

Thanks for the input it seems like I am getting on track with all this great feedback.

Since the original frame is still in decent shape I am leaning toward keeping the original frame and having it cleaned up and strengthened. It makes sense unless the frame was too bad to restore, which it isn't.
I agree with the general concensus. I think I would have more enjoyment out of my car if I didn't worry about correct numbers and the like. Although, I must say I did learn quite a lot over the years which has kept me entertained.

I sometimes wish I had a car that I could be free with doing what I wanted to it mechanically, cosmetically...etc. but I feel too guilty doing it to mine.

resto mod and drive it hard!
Sounds like good advice.

I like putting together puzzles but I don't like having to find the pieces. I really think I would struggle with doing a correct corvette, but also struggle with the thought of moding a classic.

I have to confes that i have modded every car I ever got from a new stereo in a Taurus, Jeeps with 6 inch lifts, a 500hp AWD Subaru, supercharged pickups. I like to personalize my rides but the thought of ruining a classic scares me.

I believe i have matured enough to do this right as long as I am patient and believe I will get the most out of a restomod.

Now I have to decide on the fun things and do lots of planning.
Street Shops chassis require no modifications to your original body so your not ruining anything. You could restore your original chassis and find the correct parts with no time hack because your already driving your car on a newer, better and safer chassis.
Since it isn't numbers matching then I would go with the resto mod and enjoy driving the car.
But I would not cut on the body to do any modifications like wheel wells or tail lights. Enjoy.
the resto mod seems logical..
it doesnt hurt the value and can increase it some , depends.......
for a driver..definately disk brakes and air condition.
The only original piece nissing is the engine? The correct engine is important, however, if you were to find a period correct replacement motor, the value would not be too badly affected.

All the little pieces being original, a nice original fiberglass body, the frame in decent shape....I'd try to maintain the originality and restore the car. It is only original once. I love the resto rods too but I would start with more of a basket case car, buy one of those new tube frames and go from there.

Just my point of view. Good luck!
I suggest you you go with LS engine either 6 speed or 4L60E. Thats what I did with my 65. Will always love the BB, but now I have a car I really enjoy driving. It's wild to drive. Go to streetshopinc.com and look at what they offer. No modifications what so ever to your body. See my red 65 with the white hood.
back of my 63swc...SRIII frame with C4 rear suspension with Dana 44 and C5 front suspension....LS7 w/T56 6 speed.....



no motor in it yet....
You are going to love this car when completed. Probally enjoy it more than your Z06.
Do keep us poster on the progress.

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