Insider: The Right (and Wrong) Ways to Upgrade Your Classic Car

Why do we buy classic cars?


You’ve all got a handful of reasons that made you buy yours, but it largely boils down to the fact that classic cars have a unique look and feel to them that modern ones can’t replicate. The car is different – it’s one of a kind. 


With that being said, driving a classic car is a completely different experience from driving a modern one. Your vehicle could be decades old, meaning it doesn’t function as well as it once did. As such, classic car owners tend to do some upgrades to make their vehicles that little bit better. 


Today, we’re going to explore the right ways to upgrade your classic car, as well as things you absolutely shouldn’t do. In fact, we’re going to start with that one!


How not to upgrade your classic car

There’s really only one simple rule when upgrading a classic car: don’t do anything to ruin its classic look or feel!


Why would you buy an old car, then upgrade it with a new body kit? You’re completely ruining the way the car is supposed to be designed, so aesthetic changes are rarely recommended. Things like changing the seats or fitting a new gear stick are not necessary at all. You want to retain the look and feel of a classic vehicle while making upgrades that should improve its performance and drivability. 


You’ll see a common theme throughout all the tips below. Each of them will make your classic car more practical and functional in modern society. This will help it become more efficient, easier to drive, and more comfortable. At the same time, it will still look like a classic car and retain authenticity. 


Here are some upgrades you could make:


New brakes

Most classic cars will have older braking systems that aren’t as efficient or effective as they once were. It means that your vehicle is a lot harder for you to stop, particularly when traveling at fast speeds. Not only that, but the brakes can wear the tires down a lot faster than usual, meaning you spend a lot of money replacing them. 


To avoid this, you can upgrade the braking system in your classic car. Switching to modern braking discs will make your car safer and easier to handle while ensuring the tires stay in better condition for longer. 


Car insulation

One of the most noticeable differences between classic cars and cars of today is that new vehicles are much quieter on the inside. You hear less noise from outside when you’re driving your car, leading to a more comfortable driving experience. In classic cars, there’s almost nothing separating you from the outside world, so you can hear everything. 


One way to get around this is by installing car insulation throughout the vehicle. Sticking some underneath carpets or behind door panels will help to insulate your vehicle more effectively. This adds an extra barrier for sound to pass through, making the car quieter. Of course, it will also make the car warmer, which is a huge benefit in the colder months as you won’t need to turn the heating on full blast for your entire journey to work every day!

Improved suspension

Much like the braking system, a classic car’s suspension can be way below modern standards. While you could argue that a bumpy ride makes a classic vehicle feel more authentic, it won’t make the car easy for you to drive every day. Even if you only drive your car on weekends for little road trips, you want a good suspension system. 


Actually, you need one!


A good suspension system will put less stress on the engine, leading to better fuel efficiency. Classic cars are renowned gas guzzlers, so this is a big bonus. While you can upgrade to any modern suspension kit, coilovers seem to be the most popular. They work really well and provide a smooth ride when driving, protecting your car, and making your engine do less work. 


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Electronic ignition system

Was your classic car built before the 80s? Even if it was built a bit later, it may have a points ignition system. This is a specific ignition system that switches the ignition coil on and off. What tended to happen is that the points would run down as they were overused. As a result, lots of cars struggled to start after a few years, meaning repairs were required. 


What type of ignition system do modern cars have?


They rock an electronic ignition system, which is proven to be far more efficient than a points one. There’s less chance of the system failing or deteriorating, making your car less likely to stutter and fail. It’s a relatively simple upgrade and one that you really should make. 


Modern auxiliary fans

Lastly, you should upgrade the fan system in your engine bay. Classic cars typically have fans that turn on depending on how fast you’re going. If you’re driving quickly into the wind, your fan will kick in and cool the engine down. 


However, if you’re slowly driving up a slope, the fan won’t turn on, and this can cause overheating! 


Modern fans are different in that they turn on based on how hot your car is. If your engine reaches a worrying temperature, the fan kicks in to cool it down and prevent overheating. This makes your car much more suitable to drive, particularly on steep hills. 


Bonus: Electric conversions

As a bonus, you could convert your classic car into an electric one! This might cause some debate amongst classic car lovers, but there’s a company over in the UK that’s started doing it. Would you ever consider this? On the outside, your car would still look the same, but you get the benefit of zero emissions. Of course, you’d lose the engine, which is a big part of what makes the car special. 


Anyway, that bonus upgrade is merely there to spark a conversation! All of the other upgrades are ones you should definitely look to make in your classic car. Overall, they will make your vehicle easier to drive, while ensuring it retains its classic appeal. 

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