Restomod is a relatively new word that comes from the combination of the words restoration and modification. In its essence, this is a tuning genre with a philosophy that attempts to keep the look of a vehicle as original as possible but also combine it with modern drivetrains, technologies, and materials. This way, the machine looks vintage but offers driving characteristics that are comparable with modern vehicles.
One of the best-known players in this aftermarket segment in the United States is called Retro Designs which is located in North Carolina. Led by classic car specialist Daniel Valjevac, the tuning studio has a new one-off tuning project with a price of $350,000. It is based on a 1954 Bel Air and looks absolutely phenomenal from every angle.
Gallery: 1954 Chevy Bel Air by Retro Designs
It is a little surprising to see a full-scale restomod project based on a 1954 Bel Air since most tuners use the 1955-1957 models. Valjevac, however, explains Retro Designs wanted to restore a coupe from the first-generation Bel Air and that’s why the team went for this 1954 example. The goal was for the original design to be preserved with “a sharp, crisp restoration” with a subtle reengineering.
Well, we wouldn’t use the word subtle for the changes made under the skin as this sky blue Bel Air now relies on a modern LT4 V8 engine good for 640 horsepower. The mill is equipped with a custom cold air intake system and an ATI 9.17 lower pulley and balancer. An 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission by General Motors is fitted for a smooth gear shift. The stopping power is provided by four disc brakes hiding behind Boze custom wheels with specially fabricated wheel tubs.
The vehicle sits on a custom chassis fitted with an air suspension for lower ride height. Further adding to that unique low-slung stance are the wheels, measuring 245/35/20 on the front axle and 345/30/20 at the back. Ensuring the exhaust pipes won’t scratch the road is a custom exhaust system with oval pipe finishers.