8 Best Upgrades For Your Classic Car

8 Best Upgrades For Your Classic Car

Maximize your classic car's potential with these 8 upgrades. Our guide covers the best improvements for performance and aesthetics. Dive in now!

Ok, so you just bought a classic car. Now what? You can leave it stock and it will be just fine, OR you can start on the upgrades for added performance and personalization. There’s no shame in staying stock, but it’s a lot more fun to make modifications. Here are eight upgrades to make your classic car even better.

How To Upgrade Your Classic Car

DIY vs Rely On A Shop

Knowing how to upgrade a classic car starts with a realistic plan of what work you’re going to do yourself and which tasks might be better suited for a professional. Whichever way you choose to go with your build, it’s a good idea to have a plan before you start as some upgrades are required to perform others. Having a proper plan helps prevent delays as well as coming up with a reasonable budget.

Do Upgrades Affect Classic Car Value?

When planning to upgrade a classic car, you should consider if, and by how much, such upgrades will affect your car’s value. Some customizations, such as body kits and over-the-top paint jobs, tend to hurt the resale value as it limits future buyers to specific tastes. The closer you can keep a classic car’s body to its stock form, the better chances you will have of selling it quickly and, hopefully, for a profit.

Engine Swap

Although it’s at the higher end of the budget spectrum, an engine swap is one of the best ways to upgrade a classic car. Regardless of whether you’re just dropping a bigger, period-correct engine under the hood or going for more of a restomod experience with a modern, fuel-injected engine, you really can’t go wrong. No matter which option you choose, there are plenty of kits available for engine swaps. All Velocity Ford builds use the Gen III 5.0L Coyote V8, while the Scout and K5 Blazer use GM’s 6.2L LT1 V8.

Velocity Ford Mustang Coyote V8Engine swaps are the most common upgrades for a classic car.

Modern Electronics

If you’re not wanting to endure the costs of a full engine swap, upgrading the engine’s electronics can still improve performance and reliability. Electronic ignition and electronic fuel injection make it easier to start the car, while components like an electric cooling fan and water pump keep the engine running strong without robbing any of the power like belt-driven versions. There are even electronic power steering systems available as retrofits whether you have manual steering or looking to upgrade your car’s hydraulic power steering system.

Air Conditioning

A major downside of owning a vintage car is that a) the air conditioning system performance is awful or b) the car did not even come with a/c in the first place. If you’re dealing with either one of these problems, adding a new air conditioner should be at the top of your upgrade list, because a comfortable car is easier to enjoy. There are multiple companies that offer a/c retrofit kits, but all Velocity builds use Vintage Air. Vintage Air is an industry leader when it comes to adding a/c systems to classic cars with full plug-and-play kits for just about any make and model.

Disc Brakes

Old cars had awful brakes, so an upgrade here will vastly improve the safety and performance of your classic ride. Replacing undersized disc brakes or outdated drum brakes with a modern four-wheel disc brake conversion will have your vintage car stopping better. Velocity builds use either Wilwood or Baer brakes, and provide even better braking performance with the use of hydraulic assist brakes, also known as Hydroboost.


Whether you’re building a street car or an off-roadable truck, upgrading the wheels and tires will vastly improve your classic car, both in terms of handling and style. And this might be a required upgrade if you’re planning a disc brake conversion. Restomods will usually have larger, contemporary wheels, but there are plenty of options out there for wheels and tires that retain classic styling while offering the same benefits as modern versions.

Exterior Lights

Installing LED headlights and/or taillights is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your classic car. Such an upgrade won’t just improve your car’s style, it will make the car safer by improving visibility at night and in bad weather. Adding LED lights is usually a DIY-friendly upgrade, and there are plenty of options that can either retain the classic styling or go for a modern aesthetic.

Interior Upgrades

There’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful classic car, and then opening the door to see a ragged-out interior. Don’t overlook the interior when making plans for your car, and the good news is that it isn’t hard to find parts whether you keep the vintage looks, swap interiors with a newer version of the car, or have a custom interior created for your build. Velocity makes interior upgrades easy for Bronco and K5 Blazer owners with full interior packages using either marine-grade vinyl or leather.

Velocity Ford F 250 SpinneybeckThis Velocity Ford F-250 is showing off woven leather seats!


Vintage car interiors weren’t always designed with stereo systems as a priority, so it can be a challenge to make space for a radio and speakers. Fortunately, the sky’s the limit when it comes to installing a system in a classic car as you can install a retro head unit, a hidden head unit, or go full modern with the latest and greatest technology.


For more extreme builds, you can even perform a chassis swap to upgrade your classic. Doing so will accommodate many of the other mechanical improvements mentioned above including engine and axle swaps and brake and suspension upgrades. If you have a solid classic car body but just need a solid frame, Velocity offers numerous rolling chassis options with and without engines.

Velocity Ford F-250 rolling chassisVelocity Ford F-250 rolling chassis

Upgrading your classic car is more than just a hobby; it’s a journey that brings together passion, performance, and personal style. Whether you opt for a simple electronic upgrade or go all out with an engine swap, the possibilities are endless. Each modification not only enhances your driving experience but also adds a unique touch to your beloved vehicle.

Don’t want to take a full upgrade on yourself? Contact us today to custom build your dream Velocity. Our experts will help you create a vehicle that combines vintage charm with modern performance. Visit our website to get started and turn your vision into reality.

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