Great Aftermarket Tech Updates for Your Classic Car

June 14th, 2018 by

There’s a lot that’s great about owning a classic car. There’s the old-fashioned style you can’t find in newer vehicles, the history that lives in every curve and every feature, and there’s the admiration you get from other car lovers you get when you take your vehicle out for a spin. However, there is one big disadvantage to driving a classic car: the tech features are way behind the curve. Still, there are plenty of aftermarket upgrades and accessories you can get to make up for this lack.

LED Lighting Kits

Depending on how old your car is, it can be hard to find a replacement dome light, and if it’s old enough it might not even have an interior light source. You can solve this problem and improve the interior atmosphere of your vehicle all at once by getting an LED lighting kit that gives you pipes full of LEDs you can run along the baseboard, under the dashboard, and other places where they won’t get in the way. The colored LEDs give you enough light to see by, and they add a lot more atmosphere than a dome light.

Smartphone Mount

A smartphone mount isn’t exactly a tech upgrade, but it lets you use the tech you already have more effectively. A phone mount can position your smartphone right over the center console, over the radio you only need to set once, and it can act as your infotainment system thanks to onboard apps for navigation and online music stations. It can also accept voice commands and make phone calls. The screen isn’t as big or as driver-friendly as a modern built-in touchscreen, but a smartphone has a lot more functions than a classic car’s radio.

Head-Up Display

An aftermarket head-up display sits right on the dashboard just behind the steering wheel and projects important car information onto a piece of glass. This information can include your speed, mileage, and navigation directions, and while most classic cars don’t have onboard computers (or at least not ones that can connect to a head-up display), it can still get a lot of the information it needs by connecting to your phone via Bluetooth. This lets you see how fast you’re going and when you need to turn without having to look away from the road.

Seat Heaters

Most classic cars don’t come with built-in heated seats, front or back, but you don’t have to let that stop you. All you need to create your own heated seats are a couple of heat pads, some straps to tie them to the seat or the headrest, and either a battery or a 12-volt connector. You can also find specially made seat heaters that cost a bit more but are easier to install. Seat heaters are particularly nice for driving a convertible with the top down.

Driving a classic car can be fun, but even if you only take it out occasionally, it can be a big shift to have to go without the touch screens, USB connectors, and other modern features we take for granted today. Adding a few aftermarket upgrades can be a great help.


1959 Thunderbird via Flickr by John Lloyd used under CC BY 2.0

Posted in Car Tips