Some car enthusiasts spend incredible amounts of money bringing their favorite vehicle back to factory condition. Many of these vehicles will be the icons of our past, such as the Volkswagen Bus, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, the Ferrari F40, and all kinds of classic muscle cars and sports cars. All of that is great and allows future generations to see pristine examples of the olden days of car design. But this shouldn’t be limited to just automotive legends. What completely ordinary car would you painstakingly restore to its original condition?
The answer to this question varied throughout the Autopian virtual offices. Matt Hardigree responded with the car that’s in the topshot, the 1994 Ford Escort GT. Shitbox Showdown prize fight promoter Mark Tucker responded with a 1979 Fiat 128, telling us that the car brought back childhood memories – that’s the actual Tucker-family Fiat pictured below! Me? I’d painstakingly restore my 2012 Smart Fortwo.
Yes, I know, it’s not that old of a car. But a younger version of me took that poor car for granted, forcing it to tow U-Haul trailers all over the Midwest for over 20,000 miles. Then, I subjected the little lad to three Gambler 500 endurance rallies, put it into tug-of-war battles against diesel trucks, and bent a subframe trying to pull a Toyota Tacoma out of a mud hole. I’ve burned the clutch, driven it through creeks, and the car even taken a bullet and been on fire, too.
I treated that car like a truck and now that I’m older, I’m facepalming myself over it. Sure, I proved that Smarts are unbelievably tough machines, but my unfortunate test subject was my teenage dream car and the car that taught me that I could do anything I wanted to do. One day. I want to make things right with my little Tucker by bringing him back to factory spec.
One of my favorite stories of restoring an ordinary car is the story of Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges’ restomodded 1993 Acura Legend. Ludacris bought the Legend used in 1999 before he became a legend in his own right. For many people, a used luxury car is just a stepping stone to something bigger and better later on. But Ludacris is a car enthusiast in every sense of the term, and even though he has more than enough money to buy cars most of us could only dream of owning, that ’90s Acura holds a place in his heart. Ludacris even featured the car on social media, parking it next to far more expensive private jets.
In 2015, the car was wrecked, but instead of letting Luda’s beloved Legend die, Acura restored the vehicle to its original factory condition and then modded it to his liking. An Acura Legend with 255,000 miles would be a beater to anyone else, but Ludacris doesn’t care – he loves it. The car even still makes occasional appearances on social media!
Here’s where I turn things to you, dear reader. What totally and completely ordinary car would you devote all the money, sweat, and tears required to restore it back to factory condition?