We’ve all seen incredible pieces of automotive art such as the ‘Bad News’ Camaro, but how much does it truly cost to make something like that?
Many automotive enthusiasts worldwide have taken a particular interest in a growing industry that makes it easier for people to achieve their dream resto-modded car. This is the custom classic car market specializing in creating tastefully designed works of automotive art, usually with some twist on the original, and way beyond custom seat covers. Typically these cars will boast a massive V8 engine under the hood, thousands of hours in exterior and interior design, and seemingly unending attention to detail. But, of course, this work adds up to a fairly hefty price tag for both the builder and owner of the incredible vehicle. So how much does it cost to put together a fully customized classic muscle or pony car?
The first thing on the table is purchasing the original/donor car, which serves as the base of the entire project. According to Sean, from Autotopia LA, this can run you anywhere from $10,000 for a rough condition classic to upwards of $100,000 for a high-end example. While it makes sense for most enthusiasts to spend a bit more for the higher quality, most, if not all, of the original parts will likely be replaced in favor of modern alternatives, so it may be better to find a cheaper model for the project.
After you've got your car, you're going to want to start planning out the car's future in terms of modification and design. While this seems like one of the less expensive bits of the journey, professional design can run you between $10,000 to around $30,000. The more detail you add, the more zeros you add to the end of that price tag. While this seems borderline ridiculous for some renderings, these designs will be an essential part of the entire endeavor as they essentially determine the final product.
Now comes time to purchase all of the parts for your vision which can be a tricky part of the process depending on the availability of parts for your car. While some builders opt to use the factory chassis and frame, most will advise a fully customized chassis to fit your ideas surrounding performance. Speaking of performance, the engine is a massive part of the car, which requires a lot of attention from engineers and designers alike. Unless you go for a stripped-down junkyard LS from a long-forgotten Chevy truck, the powerhouse is going to cost anywhere from $2K-$3K to upwards of $30,000.
Once you have all of the parts you need to make the car yours, you need to put it all together, which requires thousands of hours of grueling work for countless engineers and mechanics. This makes up the final factor of your cost, bringing you up to anywhere in the $500,000-$1,000,000 range. While this seems like a ridiculous price to pay for a car, you have to understand the reason for the vehicle's existence. Cars Like the "Tantrum" Charger or "Bad News" Camaro are pieces of modern-day automotive art.