Classic cars look and sound beautiful, but their performance leaves a lot to be desired when you compare them with most contemporary sports cars. That's why enthusiasts have been retrofitting modern technology in their classic cars for decades. You get the best of both worlds: the unique beauty of a classic car and the white-knuckle performance of a modern sports car.
Inject New Life into Your Engine
Over the last few decades, computers and electronics have allowed for huge improvements to be made in engine technology. One of the most profound improvements was the introduction of fuel injection. While carbureted engines are simpler and easier to work on, they lack the power potential, fuel efficiency, and reliability of a fuel injected engine.
If you want your classic car to accelerate as smoothly and quickly as a modern sports car, swap out your carburetor for a fuel injection setup. There are bolt-on fuel injection kits available for many of the popular classic car platforms, which makes the swap as cheap and painless as possible. In fact, the increase in gas mileage you'll get out of a fuel injection setup is so drastic that it may pay for itself with the money you'll save at the pump.
If there aren't any bolt-on kits available for your platform, consider swapping your entire engine for a modern fuel-injected V8. It will require a new engine mount kit and potentially some custom fabrication, but it'll completely transform the way your car drives. If you want to save a load of money, call your local salvage yards to see if they have any wrecked modern muscle cars. If so, you can pull the engine out of one and have it inspected by a reputable engine repair shop to ensure it'll run like new, and you'll save thousands of dollars compared to buying a new crate engine.
Upgrade Your Sluggish Transmission
When it comes to acceleration, your transmission is just as important as your engine. Most classic cars came from the factory with clunky, sluggish transmissions. Due to limitations in technology at the time, they generally only had three or four gears.
In contrast, most modern performance transmissions have six or more gears. That allows them to have close gear ratios, which keeps your engine in its peak power band every time you shift and drastically improves acceleration. Furthermore, they shift much smoother and are more reliable, so they'll make your classic car much more enjoyable to drive on a daily basis.
Before you swap in your modern transmission, take it to a reputable transmission repair shop to have it inspected. That way a specialized mechanic can tear down the transmission and ensure that all the gears, bearings, and other components are in good shape. That'll save you the headache of having to pull out your entire engine and transmission later on if something goes wrong.
Ditch Your Drum Brakes
What speeds up must slow down — that's why you need to upgrade your brake system along with your drive train. Almost all classic cars have drum brakes on the rear axle. The drums tend to heat up and offer poor stopping power when you're driving spiritedly on twisty roads. You can solve that issue by installing a disc brake conversion kit. That way your classic car will have the proper amount of stopping power to compensate for the increased horsepower of your modern drive train.
Swapping out your classic car's drive train and brakes certainly takes a lot of work. However, it'll still be cheaper than buying a brand new sports car, and you'll get the satisfaction of driving something that's one of a kind. To learn more about repairs and upgrades for your car, read more here.