2020 Toyota RAV4 Overland build

2020 RAV4 build

2020 Toyota RAV4 Overland Build

Not every vehicle we work on is old. We purchased this RAV4 as a wreck with only 180 miles. It was a mere three weeks old when it was 'totaled'. We repaired the SUV, lifted it, put bigger tires on, a roof rack with custom lights, and a custom front bumper. The customer paid less than the original sticker for this car and got a much cooler, unique build.

This build uses a Daystar 2.5" lift kit with Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure Kevlar 245/75R17 tires (that rub slightly).

RestoMod Camper Vans

1948 Dodge Route Camper Van

Vintage Camper Vans

Sprinter Van based motorhomes have become very popular recently. While Mercedes Sprinters are the most common, some are based on Ford Transits or Dodge ProMaster vans as well. Some of these are custom built using new or used vans, and some are brand new factory built units by companies like Winnebago.

Rehabbed or updated vintage trailers have also been very popular over the last few years. These are sometimes small "canned ham" campers or larger Airstream or similar trailers. Many of these feature beautiful vintage aluminum bodies and either vintage interiors or modern interiors.

New Camper Vans start at over $100,000, and used ones, if you can even find one these days, can easily be $50-80,000. Vintage campers can be as little as $15,000, but true vintage RestoMod campers are often $30-50,000.

I’ve watched these two trends with interest. We are neither a camper manufacturer or camper restorer, but we believe there is a lot of opportunity for us to use our expertise to update and modernize vintage motorhomes in a similar manner to updated vintage camper trailers, with an emphasis on function and efficiency. We think there is room for RestoModded Vintage campers starting around $25,000 which can provide the amenities of a modern van and the unique interest of a vintage chassis that is different than the average van.

But our vision of what could be is hard for some to picture, so below I’ll walk through a few examples of what we could do with a vintage motorhome. After you read through this, we’d love to talk to you about a project for you!

Vintage Van Conversions

This seems like a very modern trend, there are many older converted vans out there that were built on commercial chassis. These Chassis include Vanettes, Metros, Route Vans, etc. Many of these are essentially functional, but in need of remodelled interiors, new appliances, and a modern driver-train. These will tend to be more expensive options as these vans have become popular for food trucks and other uses.

We featured this vintage Dodge Route Van previously. It was converted, likely in the 70s, but has been sitting for a long time. The 1940s vintage chassis is not ideal for modern use, so this could be updated with a chassis swap similar to the Route Van food truck that we built previously on a modern pickup or SUV chassis. Update the RV systems with that and you could have a very unique and cool vintage RV.

Vintage Motorhomes.
There are a variety of older motorhomes on the market that are very inexpensive, and mostly functional. These are often dated, dirty, and have terrible drive-trains.

1975 GMC 26ft motohome – This older motorhome is the classic GMC fiberglass motohome with a front wheel drive V8 drivetrain. This one looks fairly clean and complete. It needs tires and likely some other work and asks $8500. There is a lot of cleaning, likely some updating and repair of the RV systems. The interior could be restored as a vintage interior or could be modernized.

The original drivetrain could be used as-is as its a reliable GM engine and transmission, it could be updated with EFI and updated ignition controls, or it could be swapped out for a modern drivetrain. A front wheel drive V6 SUV drivetrain from a modern Equinox or Traverse might do the job, or an LS V8 might provide better torque. All of these would be cleaner, use less fuel than the original drivetrain.

This 1977 Dodge Tradesman is already fully restored and in great shape. It’s pricier at just under $30k and usable as-is, but could also be updated with EFI or a modern drivetrain from a RAM pickup or Dodge / Jeep SUV. 

This 1975 Ford Coachman class B motorhome represents a common “small” vintage motorhome. There are many of these out there that need updating or full restoration / rebuild. Most of these are powered by Ford V8 engines, commonly the BBF 460CID engine. These engine make great power but burn a lot of gas. A great opportunity here would be to swap in the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 from the modern F150. That would provide more power and be far cleaner while burning a lot less gas. 

The interior of these could be simply updated or it could rebuilt to a modern standard. All of the RV systems could be updated or repaired as well to meet modern standards. 

This RV is only asking $500, but there are many in the $2-5k range.  

We’d love to talk to you about building a RestoMod RV as a unique alternative to a modern Sprinter / Promaster / Transit based motorhome. Please give us a call or send us an email to discuss how we might build you a camper van that is cooler than a Winnebogo and cheaper as well!

Electric Power Steering

We recently were able to install an ePowerSteering electric power steering on this classic Chevy Nova. In this video you’ll see a few photos of the install as well as the decrease in steering force needed.  These systems provide a simple, clean looking install. No new engine accessories, no hydraulic hoses, no fluid, just an electric motor unit and controller.

If you want to make your manual steering classic car easier to drive give us a call!

New Hire – Kyle

New Hire 

Hennepin RestoMods


New Hire Kyle!

Hennepin RestMods has expanded again, hiring Kyle Leichter to add his engineering, fabrication, and testing skills to the shop.

Kyle has a Bachelor's degree in physics and is working on a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, but also has significant experience with fabrication, repair and testing. We're excited to utilize his skills in the shop.

© 2018 – 2020  Hennepin Restomods LLC

The Griswold Family Truckster just got a little tougher

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The Griswold Family Truckster just got a little tougher

We’re getting ready to say goodbye to this beautiful beast of a 1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. There is a huge new audience looking for these first generation luxury SUVs that show rugged personality and individualism compared to the more rounded, slightly minivanish SUVs and Crossovers of todayThis Luxury SUV of the past was in great shape when it got here, low mileage, great paint, immaculate interior and style for days.

This is a great example of a ride that does not need a full restomod, but can definitely be improved upon. We gave the Wagoneer some refreshments and upgrades to ensure it can roll on for 30 more rugged, refined years.

On the Wagoneer’s creature comfort side, The air conditioning was outdated and anemic, so we updated the inner workings of the AC unit to accept the more modern, more climate friendly R134a for those hot summer days.

The old halogen headlights were dull and weak, so they were replaced with LED headlights and LED driving lights were added for good measure, improved visibility and overall badassedness.

Under the hood, the Chrysler TorqueFlite A727 transmission was in good shape because of the low mileage, but the AMC 360 V8 had no oil pressure and some questionable mods from a previous owner. So we sent them out to Jasper to remanufacture. They replaced all the wear parts and double checked the hard parts to make sure they weren’t damaged. Giving us a right and tight engine and transmission combo that’s ready for the long haul with a 3 year, 100,000 mile warranty. For ease of use and updating, we got rid of the old carburetor and gave it a FiTech fuel injection upgrade for easy starts in any weather.

We’re sad to see this beauty go, but excited that it’ll be out there on the road with a new lease on life and an endless black ribbon of asphalt in its future.

New Hire Chris


Hennepin RestoMods


Meet Chris!

Chris is the new hire here and will be an apprentice of sorts.

Like the other members of our team, Chris has been interested in cars from a young age. Introduced to the mechanic tradition at the age of 15, Chris traveled down to Iowa with his father to pull a 305 TPI engine out of a 1986 Pontiac Firebird Formula.

Since then, every car Chris— now 23— has owned has required work and he has developed a skill set in routine/general maintenance as well as engine installation and suspension work.

Besides cars, Chris loves motorcycles and has modded several mini bikes with bigger engines. Besides internal combustion engines, Chris is a guitarist in his metal band “Intrinsic” and spends his free time playing at bars and smaller venues around the Twin Cities and practising.

Chris drives his 1999 Saab 93 to work every day and it is part beater car part project car as the machine absorbs time and money from him for how many miles he puts on. This has instilled in Chris a love-hate relationship with Saab, for on one hand, his familiarity and their stock turbos are great, but on the other hand the way his “220k mile 93 loves to nickel and dime [his] wallet to death” is hardly enjoyable.

Chris is an apprentice here so he’s learning as much as he’s working and we couldn’t be happier to have him.

© 2018 – 2020  Hennepin Restomods LLC

Dodge Route Van RestoMod with Kitchen walkaround

Hennepin RestoMods

Dodge Route van restomod food truck conversion

A follow up on the Dodge Route van RestoMod we built last year for Chameleon Concessions. They completed the food truck conversion on it and it needed a little follow-up work before it heads out to service.

© 2018 – 2020  Hennepin Restomods LLC

1960 Saab 93F Ice Racer reveal


Hennepin RestoMods

1960 Saab 93f Racecar

1960 Saab 93F Project Reveal

Our work on the Saab is complete (except installing the fuel cell that we're still waiting on) and it's ready for final details and paint. If all goes well, it should see some racing later this summer!

© 2018 – 2020  Hennepin Restomods LLC

1948 Dodge Route Camper Van

Hennepin RestoMods

1948 Dodge Route Camper Van

1948 Dodge Route Camper Van project

Are you looking for an amazing vintage camper van / RV? This Dodge Route van is in South Dakota and looking for a new home. We'd love to rebuild this vintage motorhome for you. It could be rebuilt with the original drivetrain and RV conversion parts or could be RestoModded with a modern drivetrain and updated equipment. This would be a one-of-a-kind way to do some adventure camping for about the cost of a generic Sprinter RV.

© 2018 – 2020  Hennepin Restomods LLC


FiTech EFI Fuel Injection


Hennepin RestoMods

FiTech EFI systems

We are a proud installer of FiTech EFI systems

FiTech EFI bolts in in place of a traditional 4bbl carb and features four injectors and closed loop control and self tuning. EFI units start at $858, plus fuel pump, filters, fittings and installation. A basic FiTech EFI installation is $1850 including all parts and labor. Many installations will cost more so contact us to talk about your vehicle.

© 2018 – 2020  Hennepin Restomods LLC