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There’s something romantic about an old 4×4. Something the modern rigs just don’t quiet capture. It’s almost tragic in a way, but the nicer new 4x4s get, the more charm they lose in the process. Most of us have fond memories growing up in the summer heat, the smell of vinyl seats in our heads looking up at dad shuffling between the gears keeping an old carburettor six-cylinder moving through traffic. He’d throw his head out the window hooking up to a trailer. And be able to hear exactly when he’d need to finish his coffee and go turn off the choke just be a subtle change in the exhaust note.
While our kids are growing up getting to go further, and in more comfort, we can’t help but think they probably won’t have fond memories of us starting our modern dual cab with the Bluetooth app and fiddling with the Apple Car Play while the constant variable transmission sends us motoring down the road in near silence. Thankfully there’s more than a few companies that have a little nostalgia in their hearts. They’re part of a growing trend of resto-mod 4x4s. Classic tin, with a modern revamp. And we couldn’t love them any more if we tried. We’ve done our best sleuthing to find you five of the best old but new 4x4s money can buy.
Range Rover Classic
Kicking off the our top 5 favourite Resto-Mod 4x4s is none other than the appropriately named Range Rover Classic. This little beauty is from E.C.D. Auto Design who specialise in building mild to wild classic Rovers. The Retro is their entry level rests-mod and comes spec’d up with a 5.3L LV9 V8 engine giving it 320bhp. A 2.8L Cummins diesel is also available as an option. The E.C.D crew revamp the suspension, brakes, a full exterior restoration and keep the bare bones of the interior with top-tier retiming and audio upgrades. Their Signature series bumps that up to a 650hp Supercharged V8 and a build sheet that’ll sting you a cool $340,000 making the $233,000 of the entry level Retro build seem like a bargain.
Icon are known for their wildly detailed Land Cruiser builds but this resto-modded Dodge D200 is what caught our attention. Icon stripped the classic crew-cab down to the bare frame then built it back up again with a whole host of aftermarket goodies. Riding on a late model Ram 2500 chassis, the D200 sports a 5.9L Cummins straight six pushing out over 1300Nm of torque effortlessly. The whole combination rides on Fox shocks with every imaginable surface either made tougher or nicer. It’d cost more than the GDP of some countries but it’s a reliable comfortable workhorse that oozes charm.
If this one doesn’t tug at your heart strings then nothing well. New Legends 4×4 are responsible for this overhauled resto-mod International Scout. A full rests-mod for the owner, and built on a vehicle his grand-dad bought brand new in 1975. The classic Scout now rides on a custom chassis that’s essentially a JK Wrangler. Beefed up Dana axles front and rear reign in the L96 V8 engine while the interior has copped a full overhaul looking like it’s brand new off the dealer floor. The exterior is kept nearly stock which is perfect for such a cool classic 4×4.
If you’ve got more money than god the NAPCO Chevy pickups from Legacy Classic Trucks should be high on your radar. They’re a no-expense-spared type of build with a full nut and bolt restoration of the body before undertaking extensive modifications. Riding on a custom chassis the Chevy’s come packing either a 5.3L or 6.2L V8, modern Dynatrac axles front and rear with four wheel disc brakes and an interior that’d shame any high-end euro. They may not have the rustic charm of some of the simpler resto-mods out there. But they’ll make everyone at the local campsite drool nonetheless.
We saved the best till last. This stunning FJ62 resto-mod is built by U.S. based TLC4x4 and is the least modified of the list, and the most charming because of it. Riding on a later model 80 Series chassis the restored FJ62 body picks up coil spring comfort and a GM LS engine under the bonnet. The interior is stock just redone and the bar work is something you’d see on any neat old 60 getting around the tracks. It’s everything we love about old rigs, just with a little more poke and a nicer ride.