Classic car - is this possible?


I always loved the '69 GTO, and thought that GM could make millions by simply taking a modern platform and putting an exact replica body on it.

(similar to the brand new “retro” Camaro, Charger, Challenger etc, but this would be an exact copy of the original - not simply “based on” or “inspired by”).

- do any companies currently take classic bodies and marry them to modern chassis?

- would it even be possible to do this?

- any ideas?


There is a whole range of restorations, ranging from 100% original to every modern system possible under the original body, including engine, trans, brakes, suspension, and parts of the interior. Those are sometimes called resto-mods. But I don’t know if anyone puts the old sheetmetal on a new chassis, since new cars are all unit construction. And I think you overestimate the market for these, compared to the costs involved, nice as the old designs are. If GM does it, they have to meet all current car regulations. Probably can’t do that with a '69 body.


Yes it is possible but the bodies are not exact. I only know of one and I do not know the name of the manufacturer but they do Corvettes. I know a person who has one. It’s a 1998 platform with a 2006 engine/transmission with a 1962 body. The body is lower and wider than a 62 and it looks awesome.


It is probably not possible to make a car meeting modern safety standards in the exact shape of the old cars. The pillars in particular make this difficult…they’ve got to be thicker. Also a lot of the sharp angles found in old cars (in the structure, not the bodywork) are points where impact stresses will be concentrated, so some shapes of the 60s and 70s may not actually be exactly possible. Retro cars like the Challenger are about as close as you’re likely to get.

That said, there are companies that put classic bodies on modern chassis. I’m not sure if any do them for general sale, but they come up at auction occasionally. And far more put new suspensions, engines, and transmissions into the old bodies.

You can also buy a brand new 67 or 68 Mustang or Camaro body.

To have someone else do this for you, you’d best be willing to spend a LOT of money. Particularly if you’re doing something like a Challenger on a Viper platform. You’ll note none of those sites which explicitly or implicitly offer their services quote prices. This is “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” territory.

It isn’t as simple as popping the body off and dropping it on the new frame. All new cars save the Panther platform are unibodies, and a lot (most?) of the old muscle cars were, too. Both cars have to be gutted, and then the upper part of the frame has to be rebuilt in order to restore the structural rigidity (unless you want it to handle like a shopping cart). The floor pan of the donor car may need modification…else you’ll have to find a car with the exact same wheelbase and really close to the same width. Even doing a milder resto-mod replacing the suspension and drivetrain can come to many hundreds or even thousands of man-hours.


Yes, here’s what they look like:


ther are (hot rod) shops that will do it. I’ve seen a camaro with a monaro underneath. but the body had to be widened 3 inches.

you can buy a brand new 1st gen camaro body with 4th gen subframes for suspension parts.

you can also buy a new 1932 ford 3-window for 50k.

main point is, you gotta get yourslef a shell, and take it to a good shop. example: Hollywood Hot Rods, or one of those detroit shops that build the concept cars.



This looks SO much better than a modern 'Vette IMHO.
Curves are so much sexier than wedges.


There’s also a shop on the west coast that’s been making for years now replicas of Porsches including the 356 and the model that James Dean was killed in (959?) using modern mechanicals. Can’t remember the name, but they have a website.


“I always loved the '69 GTO, and thought that GM could make millions by simply taking a modern platform and putting an exact replica body on it.”

No, they could NOT make millions…After they sold 5000 of them, the market would be satisfied, sales would drop to ZERO and they would LOSE millions…The big car companies need to sell at least 100,000 units a year before they are interested…“Toy” cars have a VERY limited market…


Ford, GM and Chrysler found this out with the T-Bird, the SSR, and the Prowler. Lots of folks will say ‘I’d buy one!’ at the car shows, but not so many pull out their wallets…


good point - I guess that’s was was so great about this era of muscle cars - they were awesome, yet affordable


There are some fundamental issues that hold back more of this sort of thing.

Firstly, there’s two kinds of old cars. There’s cars that are truly classics like the GTO that, for one, you wouldn’t want to mangle by doing a major remodel like this, but also you probably wouldn’t want to use it as a daily driver anyways, and so most collectors have surmised that getting the factory equipment in tip-top shape is safe enough for what limited driving they do.

The other kind of old car is just some old jalopie which might have cool retro styling but for whatever reason haven’t ever picked up much of a following. If you upgraded one of these, the issue would be insuring it. You’d basically be driving a car that costs as much as a new car, but is only worth a grand or two tops on paper. Sure you can claim some of the aftermarket equipment, but you’re never going to recoup the cost of labor, etc.

It’s certainly not that people don’t do this, but this is part of why not many do.


Thanks for posting the pics. The one that belongs to the person I know is red with white. So cool.


I’d rather just have an upgraded original like the Mr. Angry Charger

Modern suspension, modern brakes, modern tires, big block,etc. You can tell it’s not stock just by looking at it. But restomods are usually a bit more understated compared to that Corvette-thing


I think that the only cost effective way to do this would be with body-on-frame construction. GM could do it by designing a modern GTO that is similar to the old one and place it on a Corvette frame. But the first generation GTO has a 115-inch wheelbase and the C6 has a 106-inch wheelbase. They might have to create a new 115-inch wheelbase frame, or at least update the A-body frame used in the 1960s.

Since it’s limited production, the cost for unshared components would be high. This is to cover non-recurring costs, like engineering and tooling. The stamping dies for the body would be especially expensive.

A modernized version of the GTO would eat into Corvette and Cadillac sales, and why would they want to do that?


This is off subject, but I would like to see them make the smaller cars look somewhat like the larger cars, you know, like father and son/s There was an Audi commercial lately about haveing the best lights in the neighborhood and these people had 2 Audis, different size but looked a lot alike.


You’re right that a typical auto insurance company won’t insure the type of car you’re describing beyond book value, but that’s where the “Special Interest” insurers come into play. Grundy and Hagerty are two companies that come to mind, and each offers “Agreed Value” policies for older vehicles, and at very affordable rates. We have a '51 Chevy and a '71 Caddy insured with Grundy, with a combined agreed value of $32,000, unlimited pleasure driving (no commuting or work related driving allowed), and the total annual policy cost is a little over $300. And we’re in Massachusetts, better known as Auto Insurance Hell !