[ARM] Automation RestoMod Chapter 20: A Dutchman in New York (FINALS!)

So, fixed the ruleset by allowing ride height adjustment and giving a discount for engine orientation/drive type combination. Only around 22 hours left to complain now, so if you are interested in entering, read through the ruleset and give your input as quickly as possible, if necessary, before we start rolling. :sunglasses:

Since there has been a quite obvious lack of complaining, THIS ROUND IS OPEN!
Looking forward to see what it will bring… :sunglasses:

Reminder 1 now, with 2 weeks left. :slight_smile:

I know it’s a bit late to be suggesting rule changes, but I just noticed this while working on my entry.

So the thing is, there was a convertible 480 originally planned. Only a few concepts were made, but they do exist and match the body provided in game.

So would we be able to make a convertible using the in-game body, or do we have to do it with fixtures?

1 Like

Damn, this is all my fault I have to admit!

I thought I had double checked it all, I even had the 480 convertible in mind when I checked out the body tab, and somehow still managed to miss that there WAS a convertible version of this body. :confounded: I looked twice, saw no convertible and now, boom, it was there.

My thoughts about a compromise then:
I will PREFER if someone that wants to build a convertible uses the actual convertible body. That will occur the same penalty for extensive body modifications (not “free” like the van conversion).

However, since someone might have started on a convertible conversion by now, I can also see how that amount of styling work would be sad to throw away…

So… If you send in a convertible conversion of the hatchback, I will judge the styling from that one. However, to make things fair, I will in that case clone the car, swap the body for the convertible, and judge the stats from that one.

Though, if you haven’t started on a car by now, my recommendation is to NOT start convertible conversion work on the hatch, this is mostly in case someone already has started on one, I can’t really say “nope, bin, lol” all of a sudden.

Is that a compromise everyone is satisfied with? I haven’t gotten any convertible entries yet so I hope this won’t even be an actual problem, but since someone might have been working on a convertible conversion for a week now I can’t really change the rules too much either.


Since there has been no objections, and since we still have plenty of time left, I have decided on some rule updates.

  • PREFERABLE if you want to do a convertible conversion is to use the actual convertible body. If you are going to start on a convertible right now, do not, I repeat, do not start a conversion from the hatchback body.
  • Since we are still a week into the challenge, I will ALLOW conversions from hatchback to convertible, in case someone have started such a conversion. Hopefully, nobody has, but well…just in case.
  • To make things more fair, a convertible conversion on the hatchback will have its stats (not looks) judged from a clone where the body will be swapped out for the convertible type.
  • The body modifications penalty will occur if you change to the convertible body (van body is still free due to the small changes involved)
  • An exception to the regular rules: Convertible body might have its rear overhang morph shortened to be closer to the hetchback in overall length.

Sorry if this have caused any inconveniences…I really should have looked up things a bit better.


Hey @Knugcab - Keen to enter this one, as I have a soft spot for both volvos and cars that aren’t on everyone’s favourites list :stuck_out_tongue:

I did notice something however - cloning the car and changing all the dates to 2020 increases its weight from 1088 kg to 1423 kg. Were you aware if this & is there any way to get around this problem? It doesn’t make sense to me for a restoration to add ~340kg out of thin air :stuck_out_tongue:


Also, the design reminds me of my old Nissan Exa!


Yes, that is one of the compromises unfortunately. ARM model year is usually set to 2020 to allow for the newest tech - but it has its drawbacks, like you mentioned, weight. I guess the only thing to do is to accept that we are really stretching the reality a bit by doing something that the game was never intended for.


Volvo 480 ES-R

The fun, tossable car you always wanted it to be.

About the car

Finally, the 480 gets to be the car it always looked like it was. With an overhauled suspension and tires, our Volvo has a sharp, poised, and predictable handling setup that lets it pull 1g in a turn, with a perfect balance between oversteer and understeer. The engine’s also been overhauled and modernized with much better responsiveness and a boost in power, as well as drastic improvements in reliability and efficiency.

The exterior has stayed true to it’s boxy, 80’s origins, with a color and accents that communicate this car is something special without drawing too much attention to it. The interior also retains its distinctly 80’s look, incorporating trendy modern tech while retaining its classic 80’s look and feel, and sitting under a unique convertible top (in reference to the real 480 concept).

Contact us today, and let us turn the 480 you got into the 480 you wished it was.

-Generic Tuning Company With A Very Long Name That Isn’t Just Long Because I Can’t Be Bothered To Invent A Proper One Because Of Course Not Silly That Would Be Weird No This Is A Perfectly Normal And Professional Name For A Company To Have I Think It’s Basque Or Something But Don’t Quote Me On That Because I’m Not A Professional Linguist.

Any resemblance to previous works by our company is entirely coincidental.


A.G. Tuning House
Specialists in modification, restoration and custom services for classic and collector vehicles

At A.G. Tuning House, we offer affordable restoration and improvement services for many european classic and collector cars, transforming them into the showroom-fresh vehicles you always wanted them be, or tapping into their inherent potential that others may have overlooked. Our expert team can provide modifications and upgrades to enhance the car’s performance, handling, reliablity, and overall driving experience.

We are excited to introduce our latest offering, the Volvo 480 T4, which is a complete overhaul of the Volvo 480 ES from the bare-metal up. The 480 T4 features a brand new Volvo 2L B4204T4 engine, a 6-speed manual transmission, electric LSD, ABS, and independent rear suspension, all of which elevates the car’s performance to a whole new level. Additionally, the 480 T4 boasts an updated body kit, giving the car a more modern and aggressive look that will appeal to those who are looking for a high-performance sports car with a unique style.

So, if you’re ready to take your driving experience to the next level, the Volvo 480 T4 upgrade package is the perfect solution.


A little less than a week left now.

I’ve got submissions from:


We at Lonestar Labs understand the importance of driving joy. We've made firebreathers out of Fieros, beasts out of Beetles - so it's only natural that we have a plan - and a ready render - for how to make a cute Volvo coupe look good and drive better.

For starters, the car will receive a visual overhaul, with a wide bodykit, aggressive hood restyling, new wheels, LED-lined lighting, and - for peak aggression - a beltline notch in the door. Might help with not scuffing that body kit, too, but we really just think this would look cool.

Now, we were never going to compromise your safety - the 486R proposal does account for modern safety precautions and frame stiffening, which would add to the weight. To offset that, all of the new panelwork will be made out of aluminum, though the frame-integral panels will remain factory steel. We're also planning on dropping in Control Blade suspension out of a second-generation S40, as well as overhauling the springs and adding adaptive damping to all corners. This, along with BS4S 245/40R17 tires, provides sportscar levels of handling - as does a new precision e-assisted steering rack.

That said, it isn't the handling that most people complain about in a 480 - it's the lack of good power even from turbo versions of its engine. Having already committed to hacking up an S40 if this proposal is accepted, we knew we could source a six-speed with a relatively good torque capacity - but rather than being content with a typical T5 swap, we have decided that another Volvo engine - one engineered specifically to cram big displacement into a tight transverse bay - would have to do the job. That engine is the sonorous B6324S5, a 24-valve /straight-six/ which bolts right onto the same transmissions as a T5 engine would. We're confident in our ability to tune and bolt-on it to 300 horsepower, which combined with a new diff would end up good for 5.3 seconds to 100. We're going to have to /limit/ the car to 168 mph. One thing's for certain, you won't be bored.

And don’t think we’ve forgotten to spruce up the interior. Dual-zone? You got it. Good audio system? You got it. Hell, you even get cupholders. Plus 80s digital gauges, because, you know… It’s the theme of the 480 and also our shop.

So… Is that a yay or a nay on a totally modern, totally radical and over-300-hp sports beast of a 480? Total build cost would work out at around $43500 - and that’s the bottom line, 'cuz Lonestar Labs said so!


Now the challenge ends in a little less than 48 hours, so if you have an unfinished entry, it’s time to finish it and send it in.

I have complete submissions this far from

Shout out if I missed you (not that I think so with 4 entries this far, but still).

Dear Simon, here at Sunset Garage we share your sentiment. The Volvo 480 has lots of untapped potential, and that is what we sought to unlock with this capable yet slightly crazy project. The tri-tone color scheme and unique basketweave wheels were inspired by our namesake: one day our chief stylist was on holiday in New Mexico and watched in awe as the sun began to dip below the horizon. To provide a more menacing, modern appearance, we gave the car a subtle bodykit and modern lighting, keeping the original rakish design in mind.
As you discussed, the engine in the 480 was always a source of disappointment, not living up to the car's appearance. In this case, we sought the greatness this car deserved in the form of a totaled Volvo 850 T5-R and its' sublime 2.3L turbocharged 5 cylinder. However, we decided it wasn't truly capable enough in its' stock form, rebuilding the engine from the ground up to support a whopping 315hp. To get that power down to the wheels, we gave it our 6-speed dual clutch transmission, resulting in a 5 second 0-60 and a smooth delivery of power. However, power isn't all it takes to create a rewarding driving experience. We gave it adjustable sport dampers, wide low profile sport tires, and a substantial lowering to ensure the Sandia had the handling chops to back up the power.
We didn't skimp on the interior, either. The highlight, of course, are the 20-way heated and cooled massage seats. But that's far from all. A custom dashboard and center stack with forged carbon accents provide the high-end, retro touch this car needs. Grippy, breathable gray fabric and burnt orange semi-aniline leather provide the best of both worlds in comfort and style without breaking the bank. A '80s inspired digital instrument cluster and 10" OLED infotainment screen with CarPlay bring this car into the modern era. If this sounds like the vehicle for you, give us a call and we guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Volvo 485R TIC by Supersnabb

With a sprinkle of refurbished junkyard parts Authentic Vintage Volvo elements.

We put a plastic bodykit on it to make it look sporty, with yellow accents because yellow is a fast colour. It’s inspired by various safety concept cars and will at least keep you safe from paint scratches.
Speaking of safety, we put a lot of work into making it safer with reinforcements, airbags and stability control. Nobody has died in a Supersnabb since february 2007, so we even safer than Volvo themselves.
The front sports a stylized DRL, the roof a panoramic sunroof and roof rack. At the rear we replaced the evil solid axle with a Control Blade IRS from the 480’s successor, the C30.

Yes that is a Prancing Moose, it’s forest stallion with big horns

We chose a B5204T3, a lovely Turbo Intercooler 2.0 inline 5. Our stage 1 tune provides a good driveable performance upgrade from 200 to 275hp. Max bork 400nm@3200rpm; >300nm @1800-6500rpm. An eDiff prevents it from handling too much like a Saab Viggen*.
Stage 2 is only available with AWD and out of your budget and apparently nobody else wants to spend 50K+ on one

Great seats from two S60Rs; some of the seats of all time.
Big modern infotainment system, with two xx inch subwoofers.
Who wants a tiny useless boot space when you can have the Authentic Rural Swedish Experience of Full Bass instead?

Also, all our US market deliveries come with a complementary cup of meatballs. Of course, then single cupholder comes with a warming coil to keep the meatballs warm for you.

Volvo, Volvo, uh huh uh huh

*Fun fact: the OG Saab Viggen is powered by a modified JT8D Volvo engine
(Is it just me, or is the 480 a meme car, from a meme brand, from a meme country? /s)


Expect bin round to be up very soon.


A.G. TUNING HOUSE - VOLVO 480 T4 (@machalel)

To start with, it feels sad to have to bin this, because aesthetically it is a rather good entry. Though, it breaks the hard rules about model and family year - which are still set to 1987 here instead of being changed to 2020.

Also, we have the soft rule about not making the car worse. I could maybe accept the slight drop in comfort, compared to a stock 480 (it still is way worse than all the other entries, though). But the remarkable drop in reliability compared to the original car, that’s just too much to accept.

Performance is about mid pack, sportiness better than a stock 480 but worse than all the other entries, driveability and safety only marginally improved. A high bump in service costs - but that’s true for all of the other entries too. However, this had better fuel economy than the other entries, as well as being the lowest priced one. I also liked the idea of using a VEA engine that still has not really caught on by restomodders - but that makes it if anything even more inexcusable to have the family year set to 1987 since the VEA was not even close to being on the drawing board by then.

I don’t want to bash this, but rules are rules. It’s not too bad of a 1st ARM entry, hope you join more ARMs in the future and welcome back to the board. But still a bin nonetheless.

That means that moving on are:


Ah damnit! I misread the rule about model & family year and interpreted it as the trim year needs to be 2020 :sob:

Thank you for the semi-review anyway :slight_smile:

1 Like


After sending out requests to different restomod companies, in the end, four of them seemed to have time to take on his 480 at the moment. He had not checked them out in detail before - just noticed that the companies Supersnabb, Lonestar labs, Sunset garage and…eh, must have been some bug because the name was so weird that the e-mail had to be salvaged from the spam folder.

Anyway, that spam folder message was the first one he checked out.
The 480 ES-R. @Edsel

Ah. They have tried to make their own version of the 480 Convertible concept. That’s kind of interesting, even though I think that I prefer the 480 as a hatch, I can appreciate the effort. Overall, the looks feel a bit “OEM+”, well, if the convertible actually had reached production at least. The red feels kind of sporty and period correct, not the most exciting paintjob maybe, but complements the lines well. What if I take a closer look…

Hm. I am not sure if I like the redesign of the front, to be honest. Removing the fog lamps makes the car look povo spec rather than improved. The debadged grille, well, it could have worked, but I am not sure that cluttering down the grille with some new diagonal…thingies…was the right thing to do here. And putting a small vent on the panel between the DRLs at just one side, it makes me scratch my head. Minor gripes, but they don’t really improve on the design. The DRLs have clear lenses, some LED graphics and a kind of aggressive look. Nice so - but why not continue with the corner lights, keeping them amber clashes with the rest. Also, I am not a fan of the removal of the popup lights. Having the only Volvo with popup headlights, they should probably be kept untouched IMO. Yes, I understand that the headlights could probably be integrated into the DRLs with modern technology, I just think that it is a bit sad to let them go.

Not much is going on on the sides. Subtle side skirts, colour matched trim, a nice little vent in front of the rear wheel, small details that actually improves the looks this time. Sometimes black alloys will only look like steelies with no hubcaps, but I think they do work here.

The rear…well, it is an attempt to look like the original convertible, more or less, without succeeding 100%. I can appreciate the effort, though. Overall, the exterior is a mixed bag. Do I like the convertible or not? I am not sure but it is a fun touch. Some of the modifications are improvements, some are not, all of them are rather subtle.

The interior reminds me of the original, but updated in tasteful ways with better materials, better craftsmanship and a modern infotainment system. I like the red stripe over the dash, I don’t know if it is a nod to the 242 GT or not, it feels like it and I like it. The digital gauge cluster feels very 80s, nice. What if I take a brief look of the specs?

Seems like the body modifications are mainly aluminium - well, may be needed to lose some weight on a convertible conversion, I guess, and they won’t rust at least. It is converted to a double wishbone suspension in the rear, while the front suspension is still stock. It also retains the stock engine, but now with a healthy tune to 150-ish hp, so it would at least be able to roast a stock 480 Turbo. They promise an 8.9 second time 0-60, 16.62 times on the quartermile and a 157 mph top speed. Hardly a race car, but a nice improvement nonetheless. Gearbox is a more modern manual, now with 6 speeds, and the transaxle now has a torsen limited slip differential. Vented discs all around, variable EPS, ESC and launch control, the later sounds a bit overkill on a rather tame car, oh well. The upgrades in safety more than well compensates for the loss of the roof, this is apparently no backyard hack job, which they promise should be true when it comes to reliability, too. . Fuel economy is good at 31.8 MPG, $40700 is a sensible purchase price, and the service costs suffer from a rather huge bump to $1262.20, but that’s probably expected with modifications like this.

The next entry was from Sunset Garage, a quite well known name in the business that had made multiple show winners in the past. That did sound promising.

480 ES “SANDIA” @HelloHi

First impression is that it is a remarkably sporty entry, and the design of the bodykit kind of takes away some 480 identity. Hard to explain why, might be the bulging wheel arches. Not saying that I don’t like the looks, it just kind of replaces the 480’s personality with its own. Also, they have managed to do some wizardry with the paintjob. Colours I generally don’t am a huge fan of works well on this car, and they even manage to make the green-ish shades work together with the orange stripes. But let’s zoom in on the render…

The shovel-like appearance of the front air dam works together with the rest of the bodykit, as does the reshaping of the grille. Other than that, and the DRLs getting clear lenses, it feels like not much have happened up front. I don’t know if I am a fan of the idea of shrinking the corner lights, though, and keeping the 80s amber colour when the DRLs now are clear is clashing a bit. But it keeps the popup lights, as opposed to the ES-R.

Together with the rather aggressive bodykit, the BBS fans are a natural choice. The door handles are changed for a slimmer type, a small detail giving cleaner looks.

The spoiler on the rear hatch is rather huge, but then again, with this bodykit nothing else could be expected, and the aggressive rear diffusor kind of complements everything. If I am a fan of it? Maybe the whole bodykit is a tad too much but they have managed to make it work, so I should not complain. The new taillights are rather nice looking, but at the same time, they do take away one of my favourite features of the 480, the large, uninterrupted black area in the back. Let’s see how the interior looks then…

Interestingly enough, another one with a red, or rather orange, stripe on the dash, this time it feels even more 242 GT. It also utilizes digital gauges, for a car with a “rad era” exterior styling like the 480, that is a nice complement. Unlike the ES-R it utilizes a HUD infotainment system. Even this interior has slightly improved craftsmanship and materials compared to the original. Speaking of materials, I am a bit ambivalent to the extensive use of tweed cloth. I get that it is a retro touch but it is on the border of being too much. Especially the tweed steering wheel is something I am skeptical too, especially considering that it is questionable how it will cope with grime and wear. The contrasting orange stripe on the seats is nice, though. Also, even if I don’t need the practicality, it is a bit sad that they seem to have removed the back seats for no obvious reason (unlike in the ES-R where I could understand it). I really like the 4 seater layout of the 480 from an interior aesthetics standpoint. The back seat area covering is a bit questionable in its quality too. How about the tech specs then?

This is still all steel - but both front and rear suspensions are changed to double wishbone and pushrod units respectively. And…ah, a T5 entry. I saw them coming. Not surprising, who can’t love a T5? And…oh. 315 hp. Yummy yummy. It should make the car blazingly fast I guess… Yes. 5 second 0-60 times, 13.15 seconds on the quartermile, and a 169 mph top speed. Whoa! Even this one has a 6 speed, but this time a DCT, well, “save the manuals” and all that, but it feels like a nice compromise, it’s not some old ass Powerglide or lousy Nissan CVT at least. Torsen diff - also included here. Even this one has vented discs all around, complemented with ESC and launch control. The later more expected this time, in a car with twice the horsepowers. It also had variable EPS, but what it didn’t have was the safety package of the ES-R. Actually, it probably was less safe despite the roof being made of steel instead of canvas. And it probably couldn’t be trusted to hold up as well as the ES-R even if you should not have a crash. And servicing would be more expensive at $1904.70. At $45000 it maxed out the whole budget. And it only managed 25.8 MPG but that was at least a slight improvement. It would probably be a more exciting car than the ES-R, but also put a larger strain on the bank account.

Another well known name in business that also was known for making show winning stuff had replied. Lonestar labs. Interesting that two of the really big names did show interest in his 480, he thought.

VOLVO 486 R @Texaslav

Not gonna lie here, at least the first impression says that it is a good looking entry. It is still easy to identify as a 480, yet it looks so much more menacing than the original, and even if I generally prefer brighter non-metallic colours, the dark purple works well in complementing the looks, I don’t think another shade would have been more suitable.

When taking a closer look, the front splitter is designed in great harmony with the rest of the car, looks natural, does not clash at all. The fog lights are upgraded to more modern, crystal clear units, which feels like a rather natural upgrade. There is now some aggressive looking LED graphics in the DRLs, and I appreciate that the corner lights are now clear, no clashing 80s amber here.

The aggressive styling of the hood complements everything very well, and the popup headlights are kept here - like they should be. And the vents behind them feels a bit like a nod to the Ferrari 328 which without a doubt is one of the better looking cars of the 80s.

What’s most eye catching on this car, though, is the redesign of the doors. The kink in the glass opening is a bit unorthodox but it actually gives a pretty interesting look to the doors, maybe the 480 should have looked like this from the start. The only thing that worries me is that it might be expensive if the custom glass would break, but hey, why worry now?

Wheels are maybe a bit simplistic compared to the BBS fans of the Sunset Garage entry, but their looks does not feel out of place at all.

Generally, the rear has received small upgrades compared to the rest, but that is the best looking part of the 480 anyway. The small spoiler over the rear window looks like if it belongs there. And more or less the only thing I have a hard time with on this car is the rear bumper. It looks like if they ran out of imagination, or maybe time there. It is mostly a blocky thing with a large gaping hole. But is it enough to ruin the otherwise great looks of the car? Absolutely not. Let’s zoom in to the interior…

The dashboard here seems to be based on the original but with more minimalistic looks than the rather messy stock dash, even here we have a digital gauge cluster but also with more minimalistic look than the others. Nice, it feels like retrofuturism as its best here. It also seems to utilize the stock seat frames, but reupholstered in black leather, keeping the cool 4 seater layout of the original. It has a nice infotainment system, albeit no HUD like the Sandia. The brushed aluminium touches gives a nice, sporty feel to it. Overall, it seems to have a nice bump in quality and much finer materials than the original. To me, this feels like how a good update of the original interior should look. With a layout pretty close to stock it still gives a totally different, and better, feel. What about the mechanical bits, though?

It was said to be impressive when Volvo squeezed in the 6 cylinder transversely in a S80, but Lonestar labs has managed it in a much smaller 480! Wow! Despite being N/A, at 302 hp it is almost as hot as the T5 sunshine garage offered. Probably it can be trusted more than an overboosted T5 too. Like the ES-R this utilizes lots of aluminium in its body mods, and the rear suspension is changed, but this time for a more modern multilink unit from an S40. What it also has in common with the ES-R is a 6 speed torsen diff equipped manual transaxle. Performance is almost as good as the Sunset garage entry. 5.34 seconds 0 to 60, top speed a little more than one single MPH slower, 13.62 second quartermile times. The difference would probably not be noticed IRL. Like the other entries, it has 4 wheel vented discs, variable EPS, ESC and launch control. Seems like that is natural upgrades nowadays. It has about the same safety package as the Sunset garage entry, the difference should not be that large there. At $43700 it would be easier on the wallet, not to mention that the service costs would be way lower at $1466.70 and that they promised 29 MPG. On paper almost as good as what Sunset garage could offer, but with way better economy. There could still be weaknesses that only the simulation could reveal, though.

The last, but was it really the least, entry came from Supersnabb.
VOLVO 485R TIC @Ludvig

My first thought is that this is a total mess! Why all the yellow? Yes, I get the colour scheme, but couldn’t they have kept a bit more restraint to it? Like only having the thin stripe and maybe the mirrors and fog lights as a fun little detail. Now it completely takes over, and the yellow dots on the door….couldn’t someone have given the exterior designer his meds before he got completely bonkers with THAT at least? Also, the satin black bodykit and lower body panels rather contributes to the messiness than toning it down.

Ok…I will take a more in depth look of it. The front air dam is maybe a tad extreme for my tastes, but without the yellow (again) it could have worked. And I can’t see why it was necessary to add a second diagonal bar to the front end. The hood, I don’t know, even if the sculpting on it is a bit unorthodox I actually like it….and this one kept the popup headlights.

I could have done without the roof rack on this type of car, but the panoramic sunroof is kind of nice. Also, I must give the designer credits for choosing very suitable wheels for the car, instead of 3-spokes painted in yellow which maybe was the expected choice…OK, I will stop being salty about it now.

The rear…yeah. They almost managed to not ruin it. But there is more yellow dots here…oh, I should stop I promised… (singing Donovan’s “They call me mellow yellow” for myself). Also, the bodykit just turns weird here. Two giant boxes hanging down from the rear bumper. Sure, “boxy but good”. Maybe they misinterpreted stuff here, huh? The centre mounted dual exhaust - I could have liked it with a little more work actually. I wonder if the interior is equally terrible…

Wow…One thing is pretty clear. Supersnabb doesn’t have the same designers for their interiors as for the exteriors…and I know which one of them they should fire, lol. The orange S60R style leather looks classy and even if they are at the limit of being kitsch, the blue seatbelts are a nice touch. Maybe they could have matched the carpet with the seats rather than the exterior, though, it becomes a tad too blue. Interesting is that like Lonestar Labs, it seems like they have based the dashboard design on the stock one, but it has a totally different feel. If the Lonestar is cyberpunk, this is feelgood. Can’t explain it better. Overall, this interior is more warm and welcoming than the others, and I sort of like it, even if I could have made without some boyracer touches like the giant subwoofers. Since the interior was a positive surprise, what could be said about the technology then?

Another entry that keeps an all steel bodywork like the Sunset Garage entry. Like the Lonestar Labs entry it has a S40 rear suspension, or in this case C30 but the cars have the same platform anyway. It is also another T5 entry, no surprise. This time with a milder 278 hp tune, but it should be more reliable, Supersnabb is actually known for doing high quality restomods, I should give them that. Surprisingly enough, it is mated to the stock gearbox, I would have expected to see an upgrade at least to a 6 speed there. Not that it would be necessary with six gears in itself, but still. On the other hand, they have managed to squeeze an electronically controlled LSD into it…

Performance is slightly worse than the Lonestar Labs entry. 5.47 seconds 0-60, 13.74 second quartermile times and a 155 mph top speed is promised.

Like all the other entries it has variable EPS and ESC. No launch control this time, but I am not really sure that I care that much about it anyway. Safety should be on par with the Lonestar and Sunset cars - interestingly enough the convertible beats them all. At $44 400, it almost maxes out the budget, at $1448.40 service costs are only slightly better than for the Lonestar entry and at 27.4 MPG the fuel economy is slightly worse. I have ruled out this one more or less on looks alone, but hey, I could as well try it in the simulation for shits and giggles.




The remaining question now was if the simulation was going to show some weaknesses in any of the cars. That would indeed be a very important factor for Simon when choosing the right restomod company to take on his little Swedish-dutch hot hatch. Hoping that it would represent the cars as realistic as possible, the first car to be loaded in was the 486R by Lonestar labs. @Texaslav

The engine startup revealed nothing special. It sounded like a six cylinder with a free-flowing exhaust, more or less. Revving it up, he saw that the simulation was warning for valve float, but that could be excused being at the end of the rev range anyway. Maybe they could reprogram the ECU on his actual car to a couple of hundred RPMs lower, he thought. Still, it may be a bit concerning if such bits feel a bit unpolished, is the rest of the car that, too?

The car took away without chirping its tyres too much. And it was fast, just like its numbers promised. The handling felt predictable, and it could still corner like crazy. Brakes had a good bite, and even if he could feel them lose a bit of that when driving like a maniac, that should not be a problem during normal conditions. But it was obvious that the suspension tune was a bit more tuned for sport than comfort in the bumps, which could be worth keeping in mind.

All in all, the entry from Lonestar labs kept its promises from the looks and sheets. It was no disappointment and still a strong contender.

The next car was the 485R TIC by Supersnabb. It could be fun to see what it was good for, even though the looks kind of had ruled it out already. @Ludvig

He could absolutely recognize the T5 sound from his 850, even if the tune was a bit sportier here. Engine was a bit less noisy than in the 486R - courtesy of the turbo probably. The electronic diff means that it took off with slightly less chirping from the tyres than the 486R. Performance was a little bit worse, and it didn’t corner as well - but considering how high the bar was set by the 485 that was less of a worry. More sophisticated springs and shocks meant that the balance between sportiness and comfort was a bit more level here, without losing too much. Other than that, its behaviour was surprisingly similar to the Lonestar contender. Braking performance similar, road behaviour similar……well, both had the same suspension swap after all, so maybe it was only natural.

“It’s almost a good thing that I didn’t like the looks on this one”, Simon thought. “Because having to choose between this and the 486 would have been hard indeed…”

But he still had two more cars to choose from, among them the little red convertible 480 ES-R. And under the body panels, this was after all a different beast compared to the Supersnabb and Lonestar entries. @Edsel

He was smiling a bit, revving up the engine. Yes, it was going to be slow compared to the other entries. Yes, it was loud. But they had somehow transformed this old Renault lump into something sounding like a classic N/A rallye car. Neat! Maybe tiresome in the long run but…neat.

As expected, it was the slowest, but not overly slow. Low power output and LSD meant that it left without too much squeal from the front wheels. Cornering? It felt similar to the Supersnabb, until…

“HOLY CRAP!”. It was a lucky thing that the steering wheel he was holding this time was just from Logitech. He had not expected this terminal oversteer at speed from a front wheel drive car. “Better drive this with the ESC turned on, except for when driving for shits and giggles”, he thought. Also, there was no sophisticated suspension components in this car, and a rather firm chassis setting, which meant the comfort would probably be on par with the Lonestar.

The brakes was a positive surprise. Bite was better than the two previous entries had, and he felt no fading at all. Granted, it could not be driven as hard as the previous two cars either, so that might have explained things there…

The little convertible felt a bit different to the other entries, but except for the somewhat unpredictable road behaviour, it was rather pleasant.

The last car to be loaded up was the Sunset garage entry, the Sandia. @HelloHi

Once again, no doubt that it was a T5 under the hood, he took off and…well. Didn’t have to change gears, at least not unless he wanted to. This was a more comfort oriented entry, after all. Yet, the fastest one. And despite the aggressive tuning, the turbo lag was not extreme. He felt that there was a little more “dead” feeling in the steering than in the other variable EPS converted entries he had gotten, but the handling was slick. Up to a point. Like the ES-R this was a bit unpredictable at speed, but in the Sandia you at least had a chance to save the situation. Again, during normal conditions and with ESC turned on, probably not a worry.

Brakes were top notch, best ones of all the cars he had tested, even though they suffered a bit during the hardest of driving. Also, the conversion to active suspension with adaptive dampers meant that they had managed to combine comfortable tuning with great handling. Clearly for a long trip, this would be the choice.

And now, it was time for the hard decision.

The first car to go was the 485R TIC by Supersnabb. It was ruled out early, by looks alone. Other than that, it felt very close to the Sunset Garage and Lonestar Labs entries. Its main advantages - it was the most reliable entry, and the easiest one to drive, but the margins were not large her. Higher costs than the Lonestar labs entry without offering so much more meant that it got the shorter straw in that comparision even with the looks taken out of the judging.

It also meant that the 480 “Sandia” by Sunset garage was out of the question. It was the fastest, sportiest, and most comfortable entry. But it also was the most costly one, both considering purchase price and upkeep costs. It was also the least reliable one, and even if it was by no means an ugly car, it fell short aesthetically to the Lonestar 486. Especially on the inside, this was the interior he liked the least.

There was one car that stood out, however, and that was the 480 ES-R. Having the lowest purchase price, upkeep costs, and highest safety ratings, it was probably the “sensible summer daily” of the bunch. Also, the only convertible. It got some points for originality there, even though he finally decided that it wasn’t what he wanted. The only serious flaw was probably the tendency to oversteer, but in the end, being the least sporty, slowest, most uncomfortable entry, it lost out on too many key points and would probably have been more fitting for a different brief.

(OOC: Judging this car objectively against the Sunshine entry was impossible. If you asked the spreadsheet, they were equally good but in very different ways. In the end, even if it is more or less a tie, I decided to give the ES-R the second place, just for being the entry that stood out while the two others was very close to the winning)…

This was not the best car at…anything. Except for the aesthetics, which were his favourites on both the inside and outside. It was almost as fast as the Sandia. Almost as sporty. Not the most comfortable entry, but better than the ES-R. But the 486R just was so much better of a value than the Sandia, he thought. Lower purchase price. Lower upkeep costs. Significantly better reliability on top of everything. Good looks, engineering that did suit the brief very well and being the best jack of all trades meant that Lonestar Labs got the mission to make this tired old 480 ES into a sports machine like it should have been from day one….


(If rank wasn’t obvious enough:

  1. @Texaslav
  2. @Edsel
  3. @HelloHi
  4. @Ludvig

In case none of them wants to host, I guess @machalel is next since he did at least send in an entry.