“I look at it this way: If it makes the car better, safer, more reliable and faster—and you can change it back to [original] stock whenever you want—why not do it?” Jay Leno
For those of you among us that just love everything about owning and collecting classic cars, you’ll know that there’s little that’s too much when it comes to keeping these beauties on the road and looking stunning for all to enjoy. Vintage autos have a timeless beauty about them but unfortunately, despite them oozing style and class they aren’t the most safe or economically sensible choice for an everyday motor. So, for the newbies out there, here are a few modifications that will boost, safety, economy and just add even more of a personal touch…
If you are considering modifying your classic car for everyday use then the chances are you aren’t a purist and we are all for that. We are very much on the side of the Jay Leno quote above as we are firm believers in getting the most out of our vehicles and to us, that means being able to drive them! So first up, seat belts are a must. Although the stats on collisions are low on this kind of vehicle, as you will be driving yours more than a purist collector the chances are still there. Just start with Goggle, as there are a few sites out there that will give you some good advice on how to get started with getting seat belts installed in your classic car. If you’re looking to do the job yourself, turn to Youtube to give you some pointers.
Personalised Number Plates
So this one is clearly just in there as a way to personalise your vehicle and it’s all down to personal style. You’ll need to ensure that your car has a registration plate that is recognised by the DVLA in order to run it on the road. However, if you are looking for something that extra bit special then take a look at DVLA cherished number plates. Cherished number plates make a statement and make the car dateless or you might even be able to find something that highlights the year of your car if it’s something you are especially proud of. As well as cherished number plates you will find a number of cheap private number plates for sale that won’t break the bank quite so much but will still make a statement. For advice on where to buy plates, how to fit them etc then you can turn to sites like Number Plates 4u for more guidance.
It’s extremely likely that your vintage car has drum brakes that are really outdated, not as easy to replace and simply not as safe as modern-day brakes. If someone pulls out on you unexpectedly then you are going to want to be able to make sure you can react and the car will react with you, stopping quickly and easily so as to not cause it (and you) serious
Go back a few decades and the idea of a private number plate being added to your vehicle was a sign that you were super rich and maybe a bit ostentatious. After all, the Queen owns one of the first cherished number plates created, A7, that was issued in 1903 and Earl Russell was rumoured to have camped out overnight to acquire. But today, having a private plate is considered a great way to personalise your vehicle. So is this a good reason to invest in one?
Personalising your car
Even if you buy a higher value vehicle, yours is unlikely to be the only one of its kind on the road. There are lots of ways to personalise your vehicle including custom paint jobs, funky graphics and interior ornaments. But one way that can actually make you money down the line is to add a private plate. When you talk to specialists such as Absolute Reg private registrations, these plates can be worth considerably more than people paid for them in some cases.
Balance declining value
One reason that you can look at adding a cherished number plate is that it can help offset declining vehicle value. We all know that cars are instantly worth less when you drive them off the forecourt and that good car maintenance will only do so much. However, you can invest in a good private plate and consider selling this with the vehicle down the line. This can mean that the plate may be worth more than the vehicle and will make the car more appealing to buyers.
Choosing a plate for value
It’s hard to know what private plates might suddenly become valuable down the line. Experts say to go for common names such as John, Jane and Sarah if this works for you and also letters that can signify common words.
The impact of the plate is also a big factor and harder to quantify. The current holder of the record in the UK is ’25 O’ which sold for over £500,000 at an auction in 2014. It just has that wow factor even though it doesn’t spell anything and isn’t going to be anyone’s initials!
Plates that reflect current trends might be great to sell now but might not make a terrific investment at a later date. For example, everyone is into Game of Thrones at the moment and a plate that has some connection might sell well. But in a few years’ time, when the show is more memory than a trend, the plate wouldn’t have the same value.
Finding the right plate
There are lots of ways to find plates and to check if the registration you like is okay to use. The DVLA has a plate checking facility on their website where you can check if your idea is in use and if it is acceptable. There are also companies who sell private plates and even regular auctions to sell ones that already exist. This means there are lots of ways to find a plate you like and that might be worth some money one day.