The current year has been the year for resto-mod’s. I get the point, take your beloved vehicle (or buy one, if you don’t have it), replace old parts with modern derivatives and voila, a wolf under sheep’s clothing.
I love the idea, especially when done exquisitely like in the case of Singer and Paul Stephens. Both firms took the very much loved 911s of old and peppered them with modern touches and made them right in tune with modern cars.
It turned out to be such a huge business that now manufacturers themselves are having a crack at it. Jaguar made the Eagle Speedster to bring the E-Type back and made huge money from it. Porsche, unsurprisingly, having seen the profits that resto-moders make with its cars has made its new version of the old, or as Porsche loves to call it, classic Turbo and named it the ‘Project Gold’.
The car is too flashy for a brand that is synonymous with understated looks, but it sells nonetheless.
Not to be left out, Italian giants Ferrari and Lamborghini have their own restoration up and running. I get it, it is good business
Recently, Mahindra announced that it will bring the Jawa brand back and I thought it would be great. But initial impressions are not that exciting.
As far as I know, the engine of the bike is the same as the Mahindra Mojo, so all the additional fins are useless, for the engine has liquid cooling. The spy shots have so far shown that Mahindra is retaining the looks of the old vehicle as it is.
Now, I can see why Mahindra has done it. Royal Enfields look like old vehicles and sell by the bucket loads and Mahindra wants to take a shy at the segment with its own production.
But what the Indians miss here is that the foreigners are making restoration works of their iconic models and are not rolling them off the production line. If customers who own those cars want them to look as if they have rolled from the factory, they can have it as they please.
You could argue that Jaguar brought back its E-Type and made new versions of it. You would be right. But Jaguar made those cars in very limited run and actually what they did was finish the production run of a model that was supposed to be completed in the 60s, but for reasons aplenty, could not be done.
What Indians are doing is making copies of versions with modern internals. If you are going the modern way, why not go all out? Take Kawasaki, for example. They wanted to bring the Z1 back and they did it by taking the modern Z900, changed the tank and subframe and made a hommage to the legendary bike.
Kawasaki was so adamant that they would not make another old version of it that they fixed a monoshock at the rear instead of oldschool twin shocks, to make the bike to handle like modern vehicles and even made the wheels look like spokes while actually they were alloys. They made a modern derivative that would trump the old one and make it proud that way.
What the Indians should do, I reckon, is the same. Make modern examples of the old ones that would make the old one look old but yet special, for it has a successor. Making copies of it is not the same.
Look at it this way. The Maruti 800 was a huge hit when it came in the ‘80s. If Maruti made exact copies of it today, how many people do you think will buy the vehicle?
With the Jawa bikes, I wish I will be proved wrong when the bike comes out for sale. I really do.