Question of the Week: Speed or style?


As the weather grows colder in much of the country, our hearts and minds naturally shift to winter projects. So when it comes to working on your classic car, do you favor speed or style? It’s a polarizing debate that has been argued for as long as there have been cars.

Our vehicles are an extension of our personality, which means we can often pick out what another owner values by looking closely at their car. The driver of a perfectly polished car cruising low and slow down main street is often very different than the person driving a vehicle that features custom intercooler piping hanging low out of a missing grill opening.

A hot rod like this could be both, but likely focuses more on show than go. (Photo- Hagerty)

High-dollar builds can often strike a balance between the two, but those tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Often an owner has the choice: focus on appearance or on performance? Depending on the type of car, it might dictate what makes the most sense. Few early Thunderbird owners go for a pro-street build, but that’s not saying it’s impossible.

Those on each side of the fence have good reasons for why they make that choice. We want to hear from you: What’s most important, style or speed? Why?


Obviously I went for style over speed.


I wanted both, a car I can show but enjoy driving. For me, the goal in route to the show is 0 to speed limit as fast as possible. I bought a prior frame off restoration (in 1993) still holding very well with 4000 miles since the build. The corvette 57 283 is too wimpy despite the muncie and 4:11 posi. I am installing a small block 427 in the spring.


Style baby. Speed is only important on the track or the strip not cruising down the highway.


Style over speed, in my opinion original style. As you can see in my example originality meaning the stock look. Although this 1975 RS has a beefed up engine making it quicker that the original 75’s (those were really dogs as most know) The original and stock looking style brings higher resale due to the fact customized rides are resold to a specialized and limited crowd.


Everyone has an opinion but I like style over speed .


If you want speed without style, buy a modern car.


I feel I have a little of both…


A little of both…Speed and style from past.
All stock and original. The way it was meant to be.

Today’s emotion is all about Style… :slight_smile:


Style for sure, my cars have plenty of speed to go with it. Not muscle cars but a true joy to drive. Totally respect the speed group, but for me style all the way!!



A lot of both all original right down to the Cheney hose clamps.


Uploading: 1935 5 Window Coupe - Hugill.jpg… Clearly, with 85 hp in my 1935 Five Window Coupe with a 221 CID flathead V8, style is the winner! Leaving it at 6 volt and making a few upgrades, mainly for parades, I go for the thumbs-up when driving the city streets


You left out sound. If you build for speed you’ll get the sound, but if you build for Style you still need the sound. Unless it is restored to original, it (Hot Rod, Street Rod) it needs to sound as good as it looks.

I’ve taken care of this in my Studebaker Bullet Nose with a ZZ502.



I’ll have to live with “Style” cause my Karmann Ghia isn’t very speedy.


396/375 top down cruising in style with speed to spare


In my opinion my 1969 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super has subtle style, and with an upgraded 2.0L engine, it is a sleeper just as fast as the Alfa Romeo GTV or Spider.


Style, of course!


Preferably a combination of both, but speed always trumps style for me. You can’t see the exterior styling from behind the wheel.



I like the look, and currently have the stock 250, but it will be replaced with a mildly built period correct 283.
The 250 is tired and even with period correct speed parts, it won’t have the v8 rumble.


Motor, so my reply is BOTH!