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  • Three Restomod Builds Go Big at SEMA 2019

Three Restomod Builds Go Big at SEMA 2019

Gas, Diesel, and Electric Restomods Hit Las Vegas

Dec 16, 2019

Ford, Mopar, and Chevrolet brought their A game to the restomod scene at the 2019 SEMA Show, and they each went about it in a totally different way.

Ford kept the exterior of its fabulous 1968 Ford Bronco looking relatively stock, keeping the most significant upgrades invisible. Mopar started with a 1968 Dodge D200 pickup, modifying it into a brute with loads of old-school flair and vintage grunt. And Chevrolet turned a humble 1962 C10 pickup into a thoroughly modern "E-10" all-electric hot rod, featuring plenty of low-end torque and ground-scraping style.

Photo 2/10   |   Big Three At Sema 2019 001

Jay Leno's 1968 Ford Bronco

Ford decided to kick things up a notch with a restomod owned by none other than Jay Leno. The comedian and car personality revealed his 1968 Ford Bronco, assembled by LGE-CTS and powered by a 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500's supercharged 5.2L V-8, at the Blue Oval booth at the 2019 SEMA Show.

Restomods are cool, but sometimes they alter styling to the point that the original vehicle is unrecognizable. That's obviously not the case here, thanks to reproduction body panels by Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration, as well as vintage-styled 18-inch "John R" Detroit Steel Wheels. Wrapped in BFGoodrich Rugged Trail T/A tires with a relatively tall, skinny profile, the rolling stock looks great under the Bronco's clean, Tonight Blue and white bodywork.

Photo 3/10   |   A classic color scheme, vintage-inspired grille, and old-school stance belie this 1968 Ford Bronco's 5.2L supercharged V-8, which was ripped from a 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500.
Photo 4/10   |   Big Three At Sema 2019 003
Photo 5/10   |   The Bronco's interior is similarly subtle, with retro styling finished in the best leathers and upholstery money can buy.

Leno's 1968 Ford Bronco has plenty of it thanks to a Ford Performance 5.2L supercharged V-8, a beating heart ripped straight from the 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500. In that application, the engine makes 760 hp, although we suspect it's been detuned slightly in the Bronco to preserve its Tremec Silver Sport five-speed manual gearbox and Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case. The prepped frame receives Fox 2.0 factory race series coilover shocks, Eaton Detroit Truetrac differentials, Carolina Driveline driveshafts, and Wilwood disc brakes.

Photo 6/10   |   Big Three At Sema 2019 005

Mopar Lowliner Concept: 1968 Dodge D200

The truck you see here started out life as a humble '68 Dodge D200 Camper Special, but as you can see, it's received a second life as the Mopar Lowliner Concept. (Don't get excited. In spite of the "concept" in its name, there's no chance this thing will ever see production.)

Painted in production-spec Delmonico Red—though with a non-production candy clearcoat—and Dairy Cream accents, the Lowliner recalls a classic, high-dollar hot rod build of the 1970s. The frame is fully boxed, the wheelbase was lengthened, and the truck is lowered on an air suspension for a dramatic appearance. A Cummins 5.9L I-6 and six-speed manual transmission provide motive force, giving this thing a strong dose of power and torque, but in a decidedly old-school way.

Photo 7/10   |   The Mopar Lowliner's rich Delmonico Red candy coat does an excellent job of highlighting the Dodge D200's gorgeous body lines. The tilt-forward hood is a nice touch, paying homage to much larger diesel trucks.

Those classic-inspired colors belie some genuinely modern body modifications. The exterior has been significantly dechromed, with much sleeker bodysides that jettison extraneous trim bits. The Mopar Lowliner also features a number of vintage-inspired accents, such as 22-inch smoothie wheels, Dodge's unique "fratzog" emblem emblazoned everywhere, and the actual original steering wheel.

Photo 8/10   |   Big Three At Sema 2019 007

Chevrolet E-10 Concept: 1962 Chevy C10

SEMA isn't just about gas- and diesel-burning vehicles anymore, and the Chevrolet E-10 concept is proof of that. Based on a 1962 C10 pickup, the E-10 boasts 450 hp and plenty of instant-on torque courtesy of two Chevrolet Performance eCrate concept electric motors. Those concept motors are similar to what you'd find in a Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchback, making production a feasible option.

Unusually for an EV, the Chevrolet E-10 also boasts a four-speed SuperMatic 4L75-E automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. Powering the drive unit is a pair of battery packs, each providing 60 kWh of energy. The batteries are found in the bed under a hard-shelled, side-opening tonneau cover, giving the E-10 smooth and clean styling.

Photo 9/10   |   The Chevrolet E-10 takes an old truck into the 21st century with an all-electric drivetrain powered by a bed full of batteries and electronics. But even without its headline-grabbing EV-ness, it's still a very modern truck thanks to sleek styling and an excellent color scheme.

The EV concept will make the jump to 60 mph in an estimated 5 seconds, with quarter-mile times in the high 13s. To appease the less imaginative hot-rod enthusiast, the truck has an external speaker up front and two in the rear, simulating the induction and exhaust noises of a conventional V-8 (OK, boomer). At the very least, the driver can select between an LS7 Z28 sound, a "futuristic" sound, or silent.

LEDs fire the funky headlamps, taillights, and illuminated Bow Tie emblems in the grille and tailgate. Bronze-painted wheels measure 20 inches up front and 22 inches in the rear. And the E-10's stance has been appropriately lowered to match current hot rod trends.

We're not sure if electric-powered vintage vehicles are heretical or fantastic. Regardless, we find ourselves lusting after the 1962 Chevrolet C10 concept a whole lot.

Photo 10/10   |   Fun detail: the twin electric motors under the hood are joined together in a V-shape, recalling a hot rod-typical gas V-8. Respect your elders, kids.

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