Restomodding—elevating the comfort and performance of classic vehicles to modern standards—is one of hottest trends in the automotive customization world. Modern cars provide the creature comforts, ride quality, handling dynamics and safety that we all now expect, but they lack the look and feel of the iconic steel-bodied vehicles of years past. But if blending the two worlds together seems obvious, actually pulling it off tastefully is tricky.

New Legend 4×4 is one of the latest customization and restoration shops to try to strike the perfect balance between old and new. With this 1980 International Harvester Scout II, it might just achieve it. This isn’t just your typical restomod: It’s a completely restored Scout II steel body mounted on a custom Jeep JK frame, powered by a tuned, supercharged LS motor. Combine all that with modern performance brakes, axles, transmission, transfer case, off-road accessories, stereo, etc., and what you have is one truly refined, jaw-dropping 4×4.

The truck was built for a discerning owner to use as a daily driver in SoCal and for south-of-the-border adventures in Baja. According to New Legend, the client wanted “something fast, fun and relatively efficient (as efficient as 600 hp can be, anyway) that could be driven in any conditions and any distance.” New Legend 4×4 was up to the task.

New Legend 4×4 traces its origins to Anything Scout, a classic off-roader parts and service company established in 1993 in ­California’s Bay Area. Now located in Ames, Iowa, Anything Scout still specializes in keeping classic vehicles on the road with its parts, restorations and LS engine swap services for International Scouts. Growing demand for radically updated trucks led to the formation of sister company New Legend. The newer outfit pushes builds further down the restomod path than Anything Scout’s restorations, rebuilding “classic” 4x4s with modern chassis, suspensions, drivetrains and overall functionality.

At first, this Scout II, from the last year of production, looks like an extremely high-quality restoration with a few off-road upgrades. Then you look closer: The deep gray paint and black roof accentuate the body lines, while the triple-stripe decals give it a classic feel. New Legend’s body restoration eliminated common areas where dirt and moisture accumulate, stopping corrosion before it starts. These details, along with a polyurethane bed coating applied to the truck’s interior, undercarriage and inside of the quarter panels, improve the refurbished body’s longevity.

While classic Scout exterior components like the intricate metal rearview mirrors and protruding gas filler cap were retained, modern touches are perfectly integrated: Custom Anything Scout Workman series front and rear bumpers, combo sliders and roof rack let you know this vehicle is designed for off-road adventures. They also provide mounts for the Warn Zeon winch and plenty of Putco LED lights. A set of black Walker Evans 504 Legacy wheels wrapped in 35-inch BFGoodrich KO2 tires completes the look.

Similarly, first thing you notice about the cabin is how original it all looks, with a few modern touches sprinkled throughout. Classic analog gauges, roll-up windows and manual door locks all help to provide that classic vehicle feel, while touches like the Bluetooth-controlled Mosconi and Focal seven-speaker sound system push things into the future. You won’t find modern safety features like airbags on this build, but you do get a custom six-point roll cage to help protect passengers. Other details, like sound-deadened floors, doors and quarter panels; an upgraded A/C system; heated front seats; and modern controls tucked away in the Tuffy Box center console elevate the experience while maintaining the classic aesthetic.

The real genius in this Scout II build is likewise hidden away: It rides on a custom modified JK chassis. New Legend did a ton of research and even built its own chassis from scratch, but in the end realized that it couldn’t compete with the multimillion-dollar R&D budget that OE manufacturers are able to put into chassis and suspension development. The proven on- and off-road performance of Jeep’s JK platform, along with its massive aftermarket support, was by far the best way to go for these builds. This choice provides mild to wild suspension setups and is well-suited for a wide range of powertrains.

For this Scout II build, New Legend used a 3.5-inch lift kit from AEV that includes Bilstein shocks. This setup is a perfect compromise between everyday driving and off-road capability while being extremely durable and meeting OEM standards. Under that suspension are custom-built Dynatrac ProRock axles—44 front, 60 rear. They have been built with upgraded RCV axle shafts and ARB Air Lockers, front and rear.

As if the refined classic looks, modern upgrades and capable chassis aren’t enough, there’s one more big surprise under the hood: a Cadillac CTS-V (LSA) 6.2-liter supercharged engine. Now putting out around 600 hp and 550-plus lb-ft of torque, this Scout II is more than a bit quicker than when it rolled off the assembly line in 1980. A full stainless dual 3-inch exhaust with Borla mufflers lets it growl in all the right ways; it’s wrapped and heat shielded to keep the excess heat out of the cabin.

All that power is sent to the axles by way of a 6L90E transmission, with Tap Shift, and an Atlas II 3.0 transfer case. This transmission provides a smooth modern feel, while the Atlas II gives you unparalleled durability and control when tackling the harshest off-road obstacles.

The International Scout was designed as a rugged do-it-all vehicle by a no-nonsense Midwestern company with a long history in agricultural, heavy machinery and truck manufacturing. Unfortunately, an inefficient and underpowered drivetrain, along with its proneness to rust, means most Scouts have faded away. More than just keeping these 4x4s on the road, New Legend is working hard to address their original weaknesses and bring them fully into the modern era of the automobile.

New Legend’s first offerings were, of course, the Scout II and Scout 800, as they have over 24 years of experience with the vehicles. But the company doesn’t plan to stop there; they’re already working their magic on the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Range Rover Classic. We can’t wait.

 

 

 

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  Restomodding—elevating the comfort and performance of classic vehicles to modern standards—is one of hottest trends in the automotive customization world. Modern cars provide the creature comforts, ride quality, handling dynamics and safety that we all now expect, but they lack the look and feel of the iconic steel-bodied vehicles...