You’ve got a project car sitting there in the garage just waiting for you to bring it back to life. You have a couple of choices here. You can lovingly restore it to factory condition (or as close as you can get with your budget and the available materials), or you can restore and modify it. Many people find themselves modifying their classic cars in order to improve power, performance, handling, and the like, but is that the right path for you? Would it be better to simply restore it? If you’re on the fence here, let’s talk nuts and bolts.
Is Modifying Worth It?
Really, it depends on what your goals are when it comes to your project car. Do you want a runner that you’ll use in your own daily life? If so, then modifying it is probably the better option. Let’s face it – no matter how nostalgic they might be, the cars of yesteryear are no match for today’s in terms of technology and performance.
The most common modifications include adding more powerful engines, upgrading the exhaust, putting on better brakes, and the like. However, all of those things actually detract from the value of the vehicle in many situations, so if you’re looking to build a show car or want to sell your project car to a collector, modifying it might not be worth the time and hassle.
Availability of Original Parts
Another factor that you’re going to need to consider, and one that will have a huge impact on just what you do in terms of restoration or modification, is the availability of replacement parts. How easy is it to find stock parts for the car? If you cannot find original equipment, are there cloned parts on offer? If not, you may be faced with the decision to manufacture your own replacement parts (something that not all restorers can or want to do) or modifying the car in a way that means it will no longer be “numbers matching”. Cost will also play a role here. If replacement parts are scarce, they’ll command a higher price on the market, which may put them out of your reach.
Choose “Undoable” Modifications
Finally, if you do go the route of modifying your classic car rather than restoring it, the best way to go about it without ruining its value is to choose modifications that can be easily undone. These are generally non-invasive modifications that can be easily reversed, but that help transform the driving experience into something reminiscent of what modern vehicles can do. Just about anything that you bolt on can be unbolted.
Front disc brake conversion is a good example of this, as is a drop-in electronic ignition module, relay kits to improve voltage, and the like. Really, anything that can be easily removed to return the car to stock condition could be a wise move to help ensure you have a car that performs well during daily driving.