Troy Trepanier, who runs Rad Rides by Troy in Manteno, Ill., said business was booming for his high-ticket, mostly American cars. His custom builds start at $500,000 and average $750,000. Even at those prices, the shop has orders stretching out five or six years.
“Our typical customer is someone who has been hands-on with cars,” Mr. Trepanier said. “They know what it takes to put together a vehicle like this, and they have the means to pay for, sometimes, more than one.”
The auction house Gooding and Company specializes in cars that are either highly original or “correctly,” restored, but David Gooding, the chief and founder, said, “I see why there is a demand.” Mr. Gooding pointed out that American cars adapted readily to the treatment, because they tend to have the space for added components, such as larger engines, bigger wheels and add-on air-conditioning systems.
While Detroit may be well represented in this genre, it crosses borders. Singer Vehicle Design in Sun Valley, Calif., restores and “reimagines” old Porsches, putting air-cooled engines of up to 390 horsepower in cars that look like the classic 1960s 911 but have lightweight carbon-fiber bodywork and a more modern Porsche base.
Steven Davis, vice president for sales and client relations at Singer, said the company had 130 cars “in the field” and many more on order.
Drew Coblitz, a 31-year-old consultant in Philadelphia, recently took delivery of a dark blue Singer-restored car, his second.