Updated: 05/09/2014 09:15 | By Motoring Research
Classic cars reborn with modern technology

Classic cars given a new lease of life with modern mechanicals

Modernised classics: Jaguar Mark 2 by Callum (© Charlie Magee for Classic Motor Cars)
  • Modernised classics: Jaguar Mark 2 by Callum (© Charlie Magee for Classic Motor Cars)
  • Modernised classics: Jaguar Mark 2 by Callum (© Charlie Magee for Classic Motor Cars)
  • Modernised classics: Jaguar Mark 2 by Callum (© Dick Barnatt via Classic Motor Cars)
  • Modernised classics: Frontline Developments MG Abingdon Edition (© CJ Hubbard | Motoring Research)
  • Modernised classics: Frontline Developments MG Abingdon Edition (© CJ Hubbard | Motoring Research)
  • Modernised classics: Frontline Developments MG Abingdon Edition (© CJ Hubbard | Motoring Research)
  • Modernised classics: David Brown Speedback GT (© Richard Aucock | Motoring Research)
  • Modernised classics: David Brown Speedback GT (© David Brown Automotive)
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Wire wheels, sinuous lines dripping with mirror-polished chrome, a heady cocktail of petrol, wood and distressed leather. Owning a classic car can be intoxicating. But when it comes to living with an old-timer - actually using and driving a classic car in this day and age - the limitations of decades-old engineering and technology don't take long to surface.

The solution is to get a modernised classic. In fact, there's a whole industry dedicated to fusing the most evocative designs of yesteryear with bang-up-to-date tech and modern mechanicals to give the best of both worlds. Intrigued? Then read on...

Click the images above to read more about modernised classic cars

02/09/2012 13:36

I'm intrigued by the comment 'the limitations of decades-old engineering and technology don't take long to surface.' Which of these vehicles did you drive? To which vehicles do you refer exactly? I remember servicing and repairing many of the vehicles you feature well before they became 'classic', 'exotic' or 'old-timers', and I wouldn't necessarily agree at all with what you say.


I'm still involved in repairing cars, ranging in age from those which you describe in your article, to those with up-to-the-minute technology. It's probably no surprise to most that I'd sooner be working on the old stuff - it's generally much easier, simpler and cheaper to repair.


As far as driving classics goes, I own cars which I would drive in preference to my everyday modern vehicle, which I regard as my 'hack'. It does everything very well, but in doing so it has become a boring thing to drive. The only thing that stops me driving classics more often than I do is the crap weather (I don't like taking them out in the rain).


Technology such as power steering, power brakes, ABS, traction control, electronic stabilty programme, etc, make cars easier to drive (i.e. less skill is required to drive them), so driving a classic if you have driven nothing but modern cars might be daunting. Driving a car without the normal preponderance of gadgets, gizmos, and electronic parapherenalia requires slightly different (more) driving skills.


I own a 1968 Jensen Interceptor, and your comment regarding its performance and reliability is totally unfounded. The engine produces huge power and torque (it's an American V-8), and you can smoke the tyres from standstill right through into top gear if you wish. These cars were in the same league as Aston Martins of the time, and would easily out-perform Jaguars. Cruising well in excess of 100 mph is as easy as driving down the high street in rush-hour.


In contrast, I also own a 1975 Triumph Spitfire, which has a 1.5 litre engine and absolutely no electronics. This vehicle easily keeps up with modern traffic (even on motorways), handles like a dream, embarrases many hot-hatch owners, and regularly returns 38 mpg on a 130-mile round trip to work and back (and I don't hang around when driving it).


I would venture to suggest you do a little more research into your articles instead of just throwing them together, so that readers get accurate information and can therefore draw their own conclusions.

02/09/2012 11:01
Best example of a 21st century classic must be the E Types that "Eagle" E Types produce and were featured on Top Gear.   
02/09/2012 19:53
what a lot of dull spam this article has attracted from some desperate dating company - shame on you
02/09/2012 01:44
o please let me win the lotto, i want one, am in love with a car so grand and lovlely.
02/09/2012 14:55
Modern tech in old cars may not be such a bad idea , I always wanted a TVR but their reliability put me off. So long as the they can reproduce that sweet burbling sound a TVR makes. I dont suppose I will ever get one as by the time they agree to make them the government will whack more tax on fuel to make it impossible to run one.
06/09/2014 12:14
Regarding the Jensen Interceptor, Very true that the Jensen was built in West Bromwich however West Bromwich is not in Brum it's in the Black Country.
06/09/2014 10:11
So many electronics slung into cars today that have never been perfected, always a problem whatever price is paid.
06/09/2014 12:50

J BEE. 100% correct.

Cant even change the front pads on my BM without main dealer costs, it now  requires  a computer

to wind back the pistons !!

I remember my triumph vitesse now that had a fun rear end but a lovely six cylinder engine
06/09/2014 09:54
I'd sooner have an original than a pimped up copy.

06/09/2014 14:53
What about the Taylor Automotive Triumph GT6? 
02/09/2012 09:11
I think the XK120 and XK150 are nicer loooking than the e type
02/09/2012 09:16

A wealthy friend has the very first, and also the very last,  RHD Lamborghini Miuras made. Best sports car  made then, introduced 'mid engine' to the public road.


Rarely drives them. Says they are hopeless compared to a modern sports car.

03/09/2012 11:46

Many hatchbacks today could burn off some of yesteryear's sports cars. The Triumph spitfire, for example would struggle to keep up, with a performance that could only be described as lumbering by comparison, whilst a speeding ticket on a motorway would at best, be unlucky and then with a tail wind.

Buying an uprated classic with modern technology on board, is both desirable and safer all round, apart from the obvious thrill of trouncing the boy racer who suddenly realises the old timer next to him at the lights is now that speck in the distance. 

02/09/2012 15:30
I would like a MK 1 Cortina please if any one is throwing one out???
08/09/2014 10:59
The Triumph 2.5 PI saloons of the late 60's/early 70's are so overlooked now.  Capable of 130mph if properly set-up with good electronic ignition and 0-60 in just over 7-seconds, though 80-100 was capable of outdoing my BMW 540i 4.4 litre V8!  All the classic car mags state 107mph and 11 secs to 60, but on 5-star (as was originally intended or 99 RON unleaded with modified valve seats), easily attained, or with simple mods, even quicker!  As car designs go, the Michellotti Mk 2 saloons in Sienna Brown are rather special.  I now own James May's immaculate '71 2000 Mk2;  somewhat slower but no less beautiful a car to own with unrivalled serviceability and access for maintenance.
03/09/2012 11:38

I know it's very Birtish focused but what about the American Muscle ones reborn. Mustangs from Classic Recreations and the like.




09/09/2014 21:13
did anyone see the e-type for sale at 77grand? only needs 120k to do it up, if I had that sort of money, yes I would!
all cars today look the same in a lot of ways. drab, boring, no imagination. i'll keep my old capri thanks. when it goes wrong I don't need a pc to fix it just a fue spanners that's all.
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