Speed / August 2019

Restored and Remastered: Bringing Classic Cars Back to Life

Classic cars are increasingly being upgraded and improved to fulfil the demands of the modern driving experience whilst maintaining a certain timeless aesthetic.

David Brown’s introduction to classic cars less than impressed him. “I was really looking forward to driving this Ferrari Daytona - and it was like driving a truck,” he says. And he should know - he speaks as a man whose career has been in making lumbering earth-moving equipment. “Then it broke down,” he adds, sounding very disappointed. “Of course the car looked fantastic, but the technology was very dated. The fact is that many classic cars of the past are wonderful in terms of styling, but by today’s standards they’re mechanically awful.”

That gave him an idea: why not take a classic car and - perhaps to the chagrin of the purists - completely overhaul it, both inside and under the bonnet, with modern components? The result would be a more assured, more comfortable, more reliable and safer vehicle, but with all of the style that modern car design so often fails to offer. The result was the foundation of David Brown Automotive and an offering that now includes a Mini that would have made the ‘The Italian Job’ a done deal - it’s ‘Remastered’, as the company puts it - and the Speedback, which nods to Aston Martin’s DB series.

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Josh Sims

Josh Sims is a writer on menswear, design and much else for the likes of Wallpaper, CNN, Robb Report and The Times. He's the author of several books on menswear, the latest 'The Details', published by Laurence King. He lives in London, has two small children and is permanently exhausted.