A classic car is like a valuable treasure. The older it gets, the more people appreciate and respect it. But the thing with antique vehicles is that they tend to deteriorate and rust if they are not used regularly. You have to maintain them, take care of them, and improve their overall condition from time to time. If you are consistent, you won’t ever have to worry about your classic car wearing down.
Yes, an antique vehicle looks good the way it is, but you can add some personal touches to it by making some modifications and improving its overall aesthetic. This way, you can remove the car’s flaws and make it much more appealing. The modifications do not need to be drastic too. You can make small changes like adding air-conditioning or installing new seats. You have to be careful about the insurance folks, who don’t accept all modifications.
So, keeping all that in mind, here is how you can modify your classic car.
Look for A Professional Restorer
Let’s face it, your classic car is worth a lot, and you wouldn’t want to risk destroying it by working on it yourself. There are chances that you do some irreparable damage to the vehicle, so it’s better to contact a professional who knows what they’re doing. The last thing you want is to feed your DIY ego and destroy a perfectly fine vehicle.
But having said that, professional body restorers charge a hefty amount for their work, and not everyone can afford their services. If you are financially well-endowed, go for it! If not, it’s back to square one, and you have to dare yourself to do all the work.
Start with The Body
Vintage vehicles are prone to corrosion, especially if they have been standing idle for a long time. Ideally, you should drive them every day but if that is not possible, you should take them out on the weekends. But even after doing all that, rust can develop in some parts due to age.
You should know that rust is like cancer for a vehicle. It slowly eats up the metal body until there is nothing left. If a part is left exposed to the air, it will catch rust automatically. So, you have to be very careful.
Fortunately, you can stop the corrosion from spreading by removing the affected metal part and replacing it with a new piece. This way, your car will be protected for a longer period.
Modify Old Parts
Classic car restoration and modification require lots of money. So, you are better off modifying and improving old parts, rather than getting new ones from the market. For example, you can add a modern hydraulic or electric steering to your vehicle by tweaking the old system. It’s better to enhance the old linkages, the steering column, and other suspension parts to accommodate something new. You can also remove bulky parts and replace them with lightweight stuff. A good example of that is the car’s seats. Classic cars have very heavy seats, compared to the ones we have today. They are also not very comfortable, so it’s better to replace them or add new padding on the seats to make your drive pleasurable.
Keep in mind that the vehicle manufacturer used the parts because they suit the car. You wouldn’t want to ruin the balance by replacing old compatible parts with new and untested components.
Classic cars do not have as many wires and loom as modern vehicles, so you can replace them yourself. You can easily find plug-and-play wiring harnesses for vintage cars nowadays. You need to know the proper connections and have some basic knowledge of electronics. However, if you get stuck, there is no need to worry, as you can find the wiring diagram for your vehicle online. All you have to do then is to follow the instructions and make the proper connections.
Moreover, since you are doing the rewiring, try to label each and everything. That would help you in the future. If something malfunctions, you will be able to locate the issue and repair the faulty wire instead of searching for the source of the messy bunch of wires.
Polish Old Metal Parts
Metal looks good when it is shiny, but the downside is that it loses its shine pretty quickly. You can see that clearly in an unrestored vintage vehicle. These cars look centuries old since they are not well maintained. However, you can change that with your vehicle. By polishing every metallic part, you can not only enhance the aesthetic but improve your car’s value. So, when it goes through a street, people turn around to look twice.
Some components that need polishing are the chrome bumpers (if your vehicle has them), the mirrors, and the exhaust system. Anything over this is a bonus, and it will only make your car look more beautiful.
You can make performance modifications to your car, but remember to stay within the limits defined by the insurance authorities. You cannot drive without insurance, so it’s better to stay in the compliance window.
Most classic cars have massive engines, like V8s and V12s. They sound good and work perfectly as well, but there is always some room for improvement. You must do that if you can spend some money. The upgrades don’t have to be too radical. You can start by shifting to modern reinforced pistons, bigger cams, electronic fuel injection, and more. The world is your oyster, and you can go as far as your pockets allow.
Making modifications is exciting and rewarding. But at the same time, they can prove to be disastrous. So, make sure you consult professionals, other owners, and online forums before moving forward with any modification. You can use others’ experience to improve your car and avoid any disasters.