Inspired by the international success of its Lancia Aurelia ‘Outlaw’ project, Thornley Kelham is expanding its range of modernized and reinterpreted automotive icons, with a new ‘European’ brand. Over the next 12 months three new reinterpreted motoring legends will be revealed, having been meticulously upgraded and enhanced by the Thornley Kelham team.
Late in 2021, Thornley Kelham first debuted the ‘European’ name for the final three editions of its Aurelia Outlaw, voted as the ‘restomod’ readers of Goodwood Road & Racing would most like to buy. A high-spec ‘European CSL’ variant is the ultimate incarnation of the project, with a handcrafted aluminium body, upgraded ‘Busso’ V6 engine and fully modernized mechanicals. The result of 5,000 hours’ work – 800 spent on preparation and paintwork alone – it is the very definition of bespoke, hand-crafted automotive luxury.
Now, the Thornley Kelham team will use experience gleaned from the Aurelia Outlaw project, allied to its multi-marque expertise in producing concours-winning restorations, to expand the ‘European’ line-up. Each member of the ‘European’ range will be authentically reimagined, beautifully handcrafted and upgraded in ways faithful to that model’s specific personality and lineage.
For more than 10 years, the Thornley Kelham team have been masters of both authentic award-winning restoration work and bespoke, upgraded collector cars. From its 32,000sq/ft fully-equipped facility in the Cotswolds a talented team of over 30 has produced the Restoration of the Year-winning Bizzarrini 5300GT Strada, the London Concours ‘Best in Show’ Frazer-Nash BMW 328 and the Concorso d’Eleganza class-winning Lancia Astura Torpedo by Viotti.
When customers require additional performance, they can turn to Thornley Kelham’s expert in-house engineering and engine-building team, who can imbue existing historic engines with incredible levels of performance. At the 2018 Le Mans Classic, for example, three cars – two Invicta S Types and a Lagonda – used engines prepared by TK engineers. One S Type produced double the output of the original engine, and the other the overall fastest night time speed of the race.
To qualify as a member of the ‘European’ programme, a project must bring together this world-class engine-building and chassis experience with decades of top-tier concours-standard restoration expertise and a dedication to ultimate perfection. In short, it must fulfil three key criteria: The Design. The Details. The Drive. Derelict examples of iconic sports cars will be transformed into revitalized legends, ready to be used and enjoyed for many decades more.
Simon Thornley, co-founder of Thornley Kelham, said: “In the 1950s, Max Hoffman almost single-handedly turned the American market onto the beautiful agile sports cars of Europe, including Porsche, BMW and Alfa Romeo. The exotic allure of cars from this part of the world was so enticing that Porsche even sold a number of 356s to the American market badged as ‘European’. It was the first time many Americans had ever encountered these brands, broadening horizons with fresh, exciting new sports cars. It’s this golden era that we want to recapture with the ‘European’ programme, offering modern day buyers the same kind of thrill of finding something new, something beautiful and something exhilarating.”
Creation of each of the new ‘European’ models is underway with the first commissions of each already secured. Numbers will be strictly limited, with prices from between £250,000-£600,000 plus donor car depending on specification and model.