Is it possible to buy a car with a cooler name than Espionage? If there is, we can’t think of one. Ironically, despite the car’s name, there is nothing covert about this stunning piece of automotive artwork. The Wisconsin-based Ringbrothers have been responsible for some of the most beautifully built restomods of the last few years. Not all of them have been to everyone’s tastes; its customised De Tomaso Pantera had a particularly heinous interior, for example. But for SEMA 2015 Ringbrothers unveiled its most coherent package yet.
The Espionage is based on a 1965 Mustang, but there is very little of the original car left. The body is made completely out of carbonfibre and is four inches wider than stock to create a subtle ‘widebody’ look. The interior is festooned with machined aluminium and the C-pillar mounted fuel cap is exquisite. Unfortunately, the car is not completely perfect. Even with this level of attention to detail, the Espionage is powered by, horror of horrors, a Whipple-supercharged GM LS7. Then again, you can’t argue with a 959bhp V8.
Singer Vehicle Design, founded in Los Angeles by Rob Dickinson, has been creating its interpretation of the ultimate 911 since 2009. It is very likely that you will have seen some of their coupés. But for 2015, they have built their very first Targa, and the level of detail is absolutely exquisite.
The classic Targa hoop features two air-filtering louvers instead of the classic three, and it has been coated in the company’s signature nickel. In true Singer fashion no expense has been spared, and even the Targa roof panel is made out of hand-crafted carbonfibre.
The car is powered by the 964’s 3.6-litre engine which is re-built to 4.0-litre specification by engine guru Ed Pink. The motor is then mated to a six-speed gearbox from the 993 which was picked for its unique feel and throw. Reviews of the 3.8-litre have been extremely complimentary so we can only imagine what this 4.0-litre motor feels like.
I was lucky enough to see this particular car along with the 3.8-litre coupé at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed and I can genuinely say that it looks even better in the flesh. The details are never ending and the car looks worth every penny of the $400,000 it commands.
Jaguar E Type restorer Eagle is responsible for producing some of the most stunningly beautiful machines on sale today. Now, you might argue that it has a fantastic platform to start with, and you’d be right. But it’s a challenge in itself to improve on a car that Enzo Ferrari once called “the most beautiful car ever made”.
However, we think that’s exactly what it has done. Their Eagle Speedster has received glowing press coverage and Jeremy Clarkson even stated that he had never driven a car that he “wanted more” than the Speedster. High praise indeed.
But in terms of pure aesthetics its Eagle Low Drag GT wins hands down. Based on the factory Low Drag Coupe of 1962, the GT manages to be svelte and muscular at the same time. Surprisingly, the GT uses an orginal donor car chassis, but the bodywork is all hand-formed aluminium.
Underneath the skin things are equally as impressive. The GT features a bored and stroked 4.7-litre straight-six with an aluminium engine block which is paired to a five-speed gearbox. Ohlins adjustable shocks, 16-inch magnesium wheels and four-pot AP racing brakes finish off this masterpiece. Want one? Well you’re in luck. A GT is currently for sale for a cool £695,000. Better start saving…
The MGB might have a bit of cult following in certain circles, but the original car was pretty awful. For one, it didn’t handle very well, probably because it was based on the Austin Cambridge’s chassis, which wasn’t even that advanced in 1954. And the MGB had a penchant for rusting at the first sight of moisture, which is not great when making a car in the UK.
However, like many old British sports cars, there was plenty of potential which was never realised. Classic restorers Frontline Developments clearly saw this potential and have turned the MGB into the car it should have always been. They start with a brand new body shell in 1965 specification, which they seam-weld for added strength. Added to this is a brand new 304bhp 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and an uber reliable Mazda MX-5 gearbox.
To deal with this signficant increase in power, the suspension has been completely overhauled with new coilovers and six-link rear suspension. The specific list of changes is endless and the craftsmanship is world class. Unfortunately, all of this comes at a price. If you want your own FD MGB Roadster expect to shell out £79,900.
The Alfaholics GTA-R 290 is our favourite restoration project of 2015. Alfaholics started primarily as a business that developed racing parts for classic Alfa Romeos. As the demand for parts grew the more the company started to develop, and its 1967 ‘step-nose’ GT 1300 Junior in effect ended up as its personal test car.
On first inspection the car looks almost stock, which is a testament to the quality of work that has gone into it. Yet almost everything has been modified to within an inch of its life. The body is a steel monocoque which has been fully seam welded. And to reduce weight further, the bonnet, boot and doors are all made from high quality carbonfibre.
The drivetrain is equally as impressive. The 2.3-litre Alfa Romeo Twin Spark unit has full Motec engine management with electronic fuel injection. This helps the Alfa to put out a healthy 240bhp at 7000rpm. The suspension has also been completely replaced with new wishbones, adjustable gas shock absorbers and lightweight springs. And to bring the car to a stop the Alfa utilises Superleggera billet aluminium six-pot 300mm vented discs. A truly astounding package with a truly astounding price: yours for £120,000.
These are our favourite restomods of the last few years, but what projects have caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below.