10 Must-Have Classic Car Accessories

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The value of a classic car often hinges on its owner’s ability to preserve it as a historical artifact. If you want to turn your classic car around for a profit, you’ll need to maintain the original stock parts. Authentic vintage accessories are just the cherry on top. 

Whether you’re installing a new audio system or polishing those chrome badges, each step should be taken with consideration for the car’s pedigree. After all, each piece tells a part of the story; for collectors and enthusiasts alike, that story is priceless.

Let’s take a look at the vintage auto accessories you can use to protect your vehicle and give it more charm. 

#1: Vintage Steering Wheel Covers

Average price rating: $ (Relatively inexpensive) 

Recommended Product: Black Super Wide Steering Wheel Cover

The steering wheel is one of the most-handled parts of any car, so with a vehicle that’s decades old, a steering wheel cover is the first item you should purchase. Not only does a vintage wheel cover evoke a feeling of nostalgia and transport you back to the 1960s or 70s, but it can also protect your steering wheel from further damage. 

Faux leather covers are often the most popular, as they are durable and look great. Most covers on the market are easy to install, with a no-sew wrapping that slips right over your existing steering wheel. 

Courtesy of classicindustries.com

#2: Retro Car Seat Covers

Average price rating: $ (Relatively inexpensive) 

Recommended Product: TOYOUN Classic Universal PU Leather Car Seat Covers

Seat covers are one of the most practical accessories you can buy, not to mention, they look good, too. You can find all kinds of patterns and styles to fit your vehicle, whether you have bucket seats or a bench seat. 

Again, faux leather is often a preferred choice, as it’s durable and a timeless classic–but you can also opt for cloth car seat covers if you’re on a budget. You can usually find great products on Amazon or at your local auto parts store. Additionally, you can opt for custom-fitted seat covers from an online vendor like Automotive Interior

Courtesy of amazon.com

#3: Classic Car Floor Mats

Average price rating: $$ (Moderate) 

Recommended Product: Scott Drake Falcon Black Floor Mat

Yet another practical accessory—floor mats are a must if you don’t want to depreciate the value of your investment with dirt and debris. You can always buy one-size-fits-all mats and cut them to size, but buying a custom fit for your vehicle is recommended since it’s guaranteed to match your layout. 

If custom is out of the budget, retailers like Speedway Motors offer a range of aftermarket floor mats for classic and muscle cars that tap into the essence of the 1970s.

Courtesy of speedwaymotors.com

#4: Custom License Plate Frames

Average price rating: $ (Relatively inexpensive) 

Recommended Product: Plain License Plate Frame

Custom License plate frames add an extra layer of personality to your vehicle. Many classic owners opt for a stylish, simple design that showcases the car’s manufacturer, such as Chevrolet, Ford, or Volkswagen. However, the choices are practically endless. 

Sellers stock a range of options, from silk-screened to chrome to raised letter designs. 

For those with a penchant for nostalgia, reproduction dealer license plate frames (like the one spotlighted below) can add an authentic retro touch reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s. These frames often replicate designs from notable car dealerships, specialty builders, and speed shops of bygone days, serving as a tribute to the storied past of your classic car and its original seller.

Courtesy of speedwaymotors.com

#5: Classic Car Audio Systems

Average price rating: $$$ (Expensive) 

Recommended Product: Retro Manufacturing Build Your Own Radio

The wiring and radio controls are often the first things that need replacing in classic cars. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for audio systems that don’t compromise your vehicle’s original aesthetic appeal. 

Modern audio systems for classic cars have been ingeniously designed to maintain the factory appearance–while still incorporating today’s technology. 

Retro Manufacturing is a go-to for purchasing classic car radios. They have thousands of radios in stock that are all designed for specific models. You can search via your make and model to find an exact fit, or you can build a custom radio to your liking. 

Courtesy of retromanufacturing.com

#6: Retro Sun Visors and Windshield Shades

Average price rating: $ (Relatively inexpensive) 

Recommended Product: Joisal Antique White Large Car Sun Shade

Retro sun visors and windshield shades are practical accessories that protect your vehicle’s interior from the sun’s harsh effects. Did you know that sun exposure alone can crack and discolor your upholstery? (And your seat upholstery isn’t the only thing at risk; your electronic systems and dashboard are, too)

By blocking UV rays, these vintage accessories singlehandedly extend the life of upholstery and dashboards. They also play a critical role in reducing the temperature inside the car, making it more comfortable to enter and drive during the sweltering summer months.

But don’t just buy the first sun visor you find on Amazon. Go vintage! After all, a modern visor will stand out like a sore thumb against your vintage classic. 

Courtesy of amazon.com

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#7: Vintage Exterior Mirrors

Average price rating: $$ (Moderate) 

Recommended Product: MirrorZone Vintage Style Rectangular Chrome Mirrors

The exterior mirror on vintage cars can be notoriously hard to restore. Cracks or chips in the mirror surface are nearly impossible to fix, and the backings often become oxidized over time. Thankfully, reproduction vintage mirrors are available for those seeking the antique look without the age-related wear.

Authentic vintage mirrors can be sourced from specialized antique car part dealers, online auctions, and classic car shows. You can easily find generic mirrors on Amazon, or you can find aftermarket replacements for your specific model from places like Raybuck Auto Body Parts

Courtesy of amazon.com

#8: LED Headlights

Average price rating: $$$ (Expensive)

Recommended Product: VCm3 7 Inch LED Headlight

Probably one of the most functional–and necessary–upgrades you can make to your vehicle is adding LED headlights. Not only do LEDs last longer than traditional halogen bulbs, but they’re also brighter and illuminate a wider radius. 

In the classic car community, there’s widespread hesitancy about LEDs, as these lighting options don’t maintain the vintage aesthetic integrity of the vehicle. Fortunately, companies like Vintage Car LEDs have developed manufacturing processes to mimic the round glass bulbs from yesteryear. These modern lighting solutions combine the best of both worlds—preserving the classic car’s vintage look while ensuring that the driving experience is as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Aside from the radio, these LEDs are one of the most expensive upgrades you can make. The low-end LEDs cost around $200, and the high-visibility LEDs cost around $400. 

Courtesy of vintagecarleds.com

#9: Antique Car Horns

Average price rating: $ (Relatively inexpensive) 

Recommended Product: Large Electric Horn, 12V

Like radios, car horns should be one of the first things to go on in a classic vehicle restoration, mainly because of the wiring. It’s fairly simple to replace a car horn, and you can buy parts that fit most makes and models from auto part stores. But, those modern horns lack the character of the horns from way back when. 

Vintage car owners often seek out replica horns to maintain the vehicle’s authenticity, ensuring that the classic car not only looks the part but sounds it as well. Places like Complete Automobilist offer a range of replica Klaxon, Windtone, and electric horns for your vehicle at a fairly affordable price. 

Courtesy of completeautomobilist.com

#10: Classic Car Cleaning Kits

Average price rating: $ (Relatively inexpensive) 

Recommended Product: Relentless Drive Ultimate Car Wash Kit

Maintaining your classic car’s gleaming appearance isn’t just a necessity, but also a ritual classic car owners use to unwind. Classic car cleaning kits are the connoisseur’s choice for keeping their prized possession in show-quality condition. 

With options like the Relentless Drive Ultimate Car Wash Kit, which includes a collapsible bucket and various cleaning sprays, the task of cleaning becomes less of a chore and more of an experience. 

Meguiar’s Classic Wash & Wax Kit goes a step further, providing large bottles of car wash soap and wax alongside microfiber towels and sponges, ensuring every inch of the car is pampered.

Courtesy of relentless-drive.com

Storing a Classic? Consider These Classic Car Storage Accessories

Whether it’s time for winter hibernation or a brief hiatus, tucking your classic car away in storage must be done properly if the goal is to preserve its condition. There are a few products you should consider adding to your pre-storage lineup:

  • Car Cover  – A breathable car cover is the first line of defense, shielding the paint from dust and moisture while allowing air circulation to prevent mold and mildew
  • Jack Stands -Elevating the car on jack stands is another smart move, preventing tire flat spots that can occur during long-term storage.
  • Fuel Stabilizer – This additive ensures that the gas in the tank doesn’t go bad while your vehicle is in storage and can help maintain the integrity of your gas tank. 
  • Ultrasonic Pest Repellent—These plug-in devices emit a high-frequency ultrasonic sound that disrupts rodents’ natural rhythms, causing them to avoid your storage area. 
  • Trickle or Smart Charger – This device helps maintain a baseline charge in your car battery, which can help prevent battery replacement when you pull the car out of storage. 

Accessorize for Success

While seat covers, floor mats, and LED headlights might elevate your car’s appearance, the most important aspect of upkeep is proper classic car storage. Any classic car owner knows that the better condition a car is in, the more it can sell for later. 

If you’re looking to get your first classic car or just add to your collection, make sure you have a place to store your vehicles. Your garage might not be big enough for your daily driver and your classics, so you’ll need additional space. 

Thankfully, you can easily find local car storage options with Neighbor.com. It’s a peer-to-peer storage marketplace that offers safe, local storage at a fraction of the price of traditional vehicle storage. Plus, it’s available in all 50 states, and each host is vetted before joining the platform. 

So pull your beauty out of the shed, it’s time to find the storage space it deserves. 

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