Plugs & leads restomod craze continues

Plugs & leads restomod craze continues

The restomod market has expanded once again thanks to the launch of a brace of British-built models by two separate specialist companies. First up is the Healey by Caton, created by a Coventry-based firm that specialises in bespoke engineering projects. Its latest offering is built around an original Austin-Healey 100 BN1, and just 25 examples will be built – with prices starting at £474,000 including the donor car and VAT.

Each Healey by Caton will feature an engine fully rebuilt by marque specialist JME Healeys, with the 3.0-litre four-cylinder unit being tuned to produce 185bhp at 5000rpm, driving through a five-speed manual gearbox. The Healey by Caton’s suspension is also revised, with new coil springs at the front and anti-roll bars all around, while the brakes are a special all-disc set-up.

All other modifications are carried out in-house, with the chassis being lightly strengthened and uprated. Every body panel is either reworked or replaced entirely, featuring a series of subtle styling tweaks (including the original seams that run along the front wings being deleted) as well as tighter panel gaps thanks to modern production techniques.

The second new addition to the restomod market is the Jaguar XK European, built by Cirencester-based Thornley Kelham, which has developed the car from a derelict donor vehicle. It features a lightweight aluminium body with styling tweaks that include a lower roofline and some extra curvature to the body sides. According to its maker, the XK European’s body sections “now have an acceleration to them which adds sculpture and muscle but also lightness”.

The XK is the first car to be produced as part of Thornley Kelham’s new European range, and is priced from £550,000 plus the cost of a donor car. It’s powered by a reengineered version of Jaguar’s original 3.8-litre straight-six, now featuring an upgraded aluminium radiator, redesigned vents and an oil cooler. The engine produces either 295bhp or 335bhp depending on specification, and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

The XK European features reworked suspension, with double wishbones at the front and rear, Bilstein shock absorbers, Eibach springs and coilovers. A limited slip diff is also fitted.

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