[ARM] Automation RestoMod Chapter 17: Estonian Barn Find [FINAL]

ARM Chapter 17: Estonian Barn Find

Last ARM:

ARM16 - Soul on Fire

First ARM:

ARM1 - The Re-Hatching

The Client

Martin Jakobson is a young estonian mechanical and electrical engineer. He grew up near Tartu and started his mechanical engineering studies at the prestigious University of Tartu before moving to the UK to get an electrical engineering degree, leaving his best buddy Dimitri behind.

One of the major reason he left was that his mother had passed away a few years after a long battle with cancer. He felt sad and unattached to his homeland, looking to leave for a breath of fresh air. The fact his relationship with his father was not great made this decision easier to take.

He stayed in touch with Dimitri, who studied in production design in Tartu, and throughout the years a project saw the light of day - starting their own signage company. They bickered a bit where to start it - Dimitri was still in Estonia. To pass time, Martin tinkered with cars in the UK and got himself into a few track day with university colleagues.

Then earlier this year, everything changed. His father passed away unexpectedly. With no brothers or sisters, he decided to come back home to handle the estate. He had not spoken to his father for years now, but he felt he needed to do this.

He reunited as well with Dimitri, and they decided to start their company here, in Estonia. They needed seed money, but Martin’s inheritance, while not a lot, was enough together with Dimitri’s family lending a hand.

They hammered out a lot of their details doing one of their favorite past-time - attending rally events. Their favorites? Truck rally! Often modified old soviet trucks with screaming engines, a rollcage and stock parts. Seeing those monsters drift and jump hills at 150km/h was always a thrill. What’s not to like?

One thing they would need for the business will be a truck - for deliveries, buying materials and probably advertising as well.

Also coming back home, Martin had no car, he relied on Dimitri’s car. His father stopped driving a few years, so he did not get anything there.

However, during a rainy afternoon doing inventory at his father’s farmhouse, he discovered a gem in one of the old barn - a 1963 Ford E-Series pickup!!!

That thing is already rare, but even more so in this part of the world. How did it end up here? How did his father acquired it? He asked around but never got an answer. Furthermore, he learned his father was a rally driver in his early 20 but stopped when he met his mother.

Martin is not sure what the plan for the truck was - it is rusted but seems to still have most stock parts and is in general good shape.

Now, he wondered if he could restore this old Ford truck instead of buying a brand new truck? What kind of restoration is he looking for? For fun, for business, for getting around? He did not know yet, but he knew it was the perfect thing.

The Car

1963 Ford Econoline Pickup Deluxe Cab - Thriftpower Six

“Underpowered, ugly like only a mother would love and with all the aerodynamic efficiency of the Empire State Building, one factor has saved and will save the first-generation Econoline from the scrap-yard fate that every Aerostar will eventually meet - it’s just so cool.” - Hemmings

This it the original Econoline. The start of something special for sure, but the start itself was not special for the pickup variant. Let’s talk about the pickup version that Martin found in his father’s barn - Ford banked a lot on the pickup to lead sales, but it was the worst seller of the different variants and the sales were reverse of what they expected - the vans outsold the pickup nine-to-one! People did not like it. You never saw an Econoline pickup after this first gen.

In general, the Econoline was created to compete with the VW van that started being imported in the mid-50s. The big 3 all took notice - there was the corvair inspired Chevy, the falcon inspired Ford and the “Little Red Wagon”, the Dodge A-100.

It also had plenty of problems. Does it look unbalanced? Well, it was, the rear wheel could lose contact with the pavement. They added 165lbs of weight at the back to counter the fulcrum. Still, it was cheap to build and the cost difference between the van and the pickup was super low. It had around 30mpg, was light, had plenty of cargo, and it was dirt cheap.

This cabover unibody platform came with a choice of three inline-6 engines. Originally, the bay could not fit a V8, but with enough modifications, a V8 swap is a popular option now.

This is a very interesting find from Martin.

The Rules

Mandatory Criteria

  • Mods are not used in the base body, as far as I know.

  • Set all dates (model year, trim year, engine family/variant year) to 2020. It is highly recommended to exit the game and reopen it after cloning it and before updating the dates.

  • Maximum engine ET: 135.

  • Maximum trim ET : 145.

  • Maximum price (as shown in the Testing tab, Detail Stats section): $52,000

  • No V16s or race parts (race intake, race tubular exhaust, semi-slicks).

  • You must post an ad with at least 1 picture of your car on this thread.

  • Be reasonable with minmax; negative quality spam is a ticket to Bin City.

  • Golden Rule : Do not make the car worse, in general, than the original

  • Interiors are highly recommended, but it doesn’t need to be the most detailed thing in the world. Exterior is still the lion’s share of your styling grade.

  • You get 3 questions to Martin in terms of his likes and preferences; don’t be vague unless you want to receive an equally vague answer. You also get as many rule questions (such as “Does this incur the body modification cost”) as you need.

Minimum requirements

  • At least 3-way catalytic converters are mandatory.

  • At least Standard 00s safety is mandatory (This means no ‘none’, and no ‘Basic 00s/10s’)

  • Maximum engine loudness: 55.

  • “Max Load Capacity”: minimum of 900 kg.

  • Maximum octane: 93 AKI/98 RON. Unleaded only. 95 RON is more common and would be considered less running costs.

You are prevented from modifying any of the below elements:

  • You cannot change Chassis Type/Material, Engine Placement or Quality

  • You cannot change Trim body quality

  • Do not change Drive Type - it is RWD and changing it on such a chassis would require a complete rebuild.

You are allowed to make the following changes freely (these changes usually do not impact Authenticity):

  • Any quality other than Chassis or Trim Body quality (sourcing better parts) up to +3 and down to -3.

  • Changing suspensions to any Solid Axles is free

  • The gearbox needs to be updated for 2020 - keeping it a Manual is free.

  • Anything under Wheels, Brakes, Aerodynamics, Interior, Driver Aids/Safety and Suspension tabs are free.

The following changes have a cost associated with them (and most likely will affect Authenticity):

  • Changing the Trim Body variant to the Van or Passenger Van costs 3,000 AMU - this one has no impact on Authenticity.

  • Panel materials can be changed for 3,000 AMU

  • Any other major change to the body shape than the above, including through morphs, is considered to cost an extra 2,000 AMU. Major change are right away identifiable - ask if unsure.

  • Head Swap on the engine (any change to Head and Valve, Head Material, Quality) but keeping the original block and bore/stroke costs 2,000 AMU.

  • Any engines of 6 cylinder or less can be swapped in for a cost of 5,000 AMU (Inline, Boxer, V). Any Family modification other than the Head is considered a swap. Beware Authenticity here.

  • Swapping to a 8-cylinder engine (or more cylinders) needs extensive engine bay and cab modification and costs an additional 5,000 AMU (so 10,000 AMU total). Small-block V8 pushrod would be more authentic than a huge V12.

  • Changing the front suspension to an independent type (Mac, DW) costs 5,000 AMU due to cab modification being required. Both this 5,000 AMU change and the additional 5,000 AMU above for the V-8 are considered the same cab modification and is only applied once.

  • Changing the rear suspension to an independent type (anything not solid axle) costs 3,000 AMU.

  • Changing the gearbox to anything other than a Manual is 2,000 AMU.

Notes on Priced Swaps

As seen in the above ruleset, some major design elements need extra money to be replaced. What this actually does is reduce your maximum listed price. For example, you swapped to a V8 and changed to a front DW, so instead of 52,000 AMU you are limited to 42,000 AMU (costs 5,000 for engine swap + 5,000 for cab modification for V8 + 0 for the cab modification for the DW as it is only applied once). Choose your swaps wisely.

Notes on Advanced Trim Settings

There are very specific restrictions on ATS this round to prevent visual cheese; I have chosen to list them by category.

Engine Position is allowed but will unfortunately have to be judged as visual/asthetics only (e.g. moving the engine in front of the axle won’t give any malus or benefits).

Wheels are banned, but you may edit Tyre Tread Width, Tyre Wall Curve and Tyre Tread Curve. BEWARE: If you make the tire look much wider or much narrower than normal, I will not look kindly upon it. Slight discrepancies are totally fine. Just don’t act silly

Suspension is limited to -5 to +5 on each end; Plus, the sum of Front and Rear Ride Height must be zero (If you have +3 front you must have -3 rear, etc).

Body advanced trim settings are limited. Body Z offset is limited to 3 either way (-3 to +3), Firewall Position and Chassis Tunnel Size are allowed; everything else (meaning wheelbase offsets, track width) is banned.


Martin is not set in his mind yet what he’s looking for exactly. It could become a work utility Van, a daily driver/minibus, an advertising platform, a hotrod or track or rally truck, or a combination of any or all of them, or something unexpected - you are in control here!


Aesthetics (incl. Interior)




Drivability / Sportiness / Offroad

Performance (ATT, accel/speed, cornering) / Comfort

Running costs (Fuel econ, service costs, RON)






  • Set Car Model and Engine Family names to “ARM17 - [Your Forum Username Here]”

  • Post the ad for your restomod proposal in this thread. Remember: There must be at least one picture of your car in there; but while it won’t affect judging, I would love to see more photos and a bit of lore, too. A personnal letter to Martin is always a plus.

  • Send me a direct message in this forum with your .car file attached. Discord DMs/mentions will be ignored.


  • Submissions open on Wednesday - August 10th, 2022, 11:59 PM EDT (UTC -4)

  • Submissions close on Sunday - September 11th, 2022, 11:59 PM EDT (UTC -4)

The period from the time this is posted until submissions open is a period of rules deliberation. Please give me any suggestions you might have in terms of rules refinement and clarification.
  • Added a mention of minimum in “Max Load Capacity”: minimum of 900 kg.
  • Fixed the cost in the price swap example and expanded on a specific case: For example, you swapped to a V8 and changed to a front DW, so instead of 52,000 AMU you are limited to 42,000 AMU (costs 5,000 for engine swap + 5,000 for cab modification for V8 + 0 for the cab modification for the DW as it is only applied once)

Well, this’ll be an interesting premise.

if I make a turbo engine with a very low spool can we please pretend it’s supercharged?

91 RON is theoretically usable, but actually using it would put you at a disadvantage.

Makes sense, the challenge takes place in Europe where 87 AKI isn’t even around at many of the pumps

Anybody found any issues with the car, or ET/costs limits? Leaving on vacation soon so I want to have a bit of time to adjust if necessary. If someone could also take a quick look, it would be appreciated.

I won’t be able to try a test build, but based on a blind assessment it looks good.

One question:

Means means that the max load capacity has to be at least 900 kg, right?

And an inconsistency (bold added by me for emphasis):

Thanks, good catches! Will make some fixes.

Yeah, I’m in the groove for this one :slight_smile:

Submissions are now opened

Martin and Dimitri are talking in the kitchen of the farmhouse. It is about the new signage startup.

“I kinda like Flatline in the name, look at this idea and what it could look like…” said Dimitri.

“Flatline is cool yeah, not sure about that whole name tho. With 3D printing and those new hologram they used in Tallinn, we need to make it hip and young, our branding needs to look much cooler.” replied Martin.

“Yeah I get that…” he sighed pensively. “But then brick and mortar is is decline even here, but tourism is picking up with guesthouses, farmland, agrotourism, and such - they all need signage. Flatline might not be the best name considering” he snorted.

“I can design stuff, but branding is not my forte. Maybe when we reach out to those restomod companies we could ask them to brand the truck proposal if they want to? Outside input is always great - let them come up with maybe a better name as well.” Martin exclaimed.

TL;DR: If you wish to design a work truck for them, you can be creative with the name and branding, or based it off the above. All up to you.


There seems to be an issue with the body and the roll angle - the game seems to think the car will flip over easily. Did anyone else find issues around the suspension and roll ?

For now I want to gather more info and in about a week I will be able to experiment more and check it out.

I highly suggest not sending any submissions until we clear that out.

I’m not sure on that but I can’t get tires larger than 175 under it. This one may not be for me.

Are you sure you’re not using crossply? I am running 235s right now

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YUP that was it. Damn, hilarious.

Thanks for the catch!

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Sunset Garage.
Reborn from the ashes.


Public announcement : coming back soon from vacation. Will be able to check the roll angle issue and answer all your questions you sent to Martin - sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

It also seems like the BIG update with engine recalc will drop in the next week or so - pretty sure before the end of this challenge. In all cases, no rush here, we still have plenty of time and I’ll extend if it drops too close to deadline/if unstable.


Welcome back!


Thanks! Wasn’t planning to disappear from challenges so suddenly. However, my Steam broke with a disc error, then my GPU started dying soon after. Finally got a new, working computer recently! Glad to be back. :grinning:

Yay, welcome back from me too! :slight_smile:

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Dear Martin, welcome to a new era of Sunset Garage. This is the first restomod that we've dreamt up after a year's hiatus, with a new focus and perspective on what drives us. In this case, what drives the Sunset Garage Phoenix is a unique and unhinged twin turbo boxer 6 making nearly 500hp, connected to our familiar 6sp manual.
But that's far from all this build has to offer. We tried to balance extreme power, comfort and livability without compromise, for a versatile and completely one-of-a-kind truck build that fits your needs (and wants) like a glove. So why is the car called the Phoenix? We tried to make sure more than just Sunset Garage found new life. We chose materials with a focus on reuse and sustainability, such as the interior plastics made from recycled bottles and the reclaimed barn wood trim found throughout the interior and bed.
Other luxurious touches include 20-way massage seats covered in artisanally tanned semi-aniline leather, and a 14.1" OLED infotainment screen. The adjustable suspension can stiffen for twisty roads and bigger payloads, and soften when you want a relaxing, mellow cruise. We also included practical touches like a padded cargo shelf in the cab with tiedowns for items (such as signs) to be transported more securely and safely, and enclosed storage boxes underneath it ensure items, if necessary, can be kept safe from the elements and prying eyes. If this sounds like the vehicle for you, give us a call and we guarantee you won't be disappointed!

I’ve been working on this quite a lot:

but I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish in time.