Owning and driving a classic car comes with the joy of appreciating these relics of the past firsthand. Beyond keeping your vintage vehicle running properly with parts and service, adding some choice accessories can protect your investment while enhancing the classic experience. We compiled this list of must-have classic car accessories to help you get the most out of your prized antique auto.
1. Fire Extinguisher
A portable fire extinguisher earns the top spot in any classic car accessories list for any classic vehicle. Electrical shorts, fuel leaks, and overheating motors always pose risks for engine compartment fires. A blaze can quickly spread and destroy your rare collector car. Having an extinguisher on board gives you a fighting chance to put out a nascent fire before catastrophic damage occurs. Compact, inexpensive models mount easily within a driver’s reach without detracting from your car’s classic aesthetics.
2. Jump Starter
Even well-maintained vintage cars sometimes leave you stranded with a dead battery. Instead of relying on roadside assistance or the kindness of strangers, keep a compact portable jump starter tucked away. Powerful lithium-ion models not much larger than a smartphone offer multiple jumps on a single charge. They conveniently jump-start vintage 6- and 12-volt systems without needing another vehicle present. Portable jump starters now also function as handy power banks for charging mobile devices, which further cements their status as necessities.
3. Custom Horn
Among fun accessories that liven up your antique auto’s personality, swapping out the standard factory horn for a custom horn ranks highly. Horn kits allow choosing from among dozens (if not hundreds) of cheeky sounds to surprise and delight passersby instead of a boring “beep beep”. Upgrade to a programmable electronic horn offering near-limitless sound snippets and songs via Bluetooth connectivity. Going hands-free enables uploading personalized audio clips via a quick download to your phone. Just make sure to keep the stock horn as a backup!
4. Bluetooth FM Transmitter
Bring your classic ride into the 21st century without altering its gorgeous retro dash and styling by installing a Bluetooth FM transmitter. These budget-friendly adapters plug into the accessory “cigarette lighter” port or directly wire to the fuse box or battery. Sync your smartphone, tablet, or portable media device via a quick Bluetooth wireless connection. Then tune the vehicle’s existing radio to the designated low-power FM frequency. Suddenly, your old AM radio plays digital music and streaming content right through the original speakers! Bluetooth transmitters cost under $40 and take just minutes to install.
5. Key Fob Protection
Safeguarding your classics’ keys merits serious consideration. Losing keys to an extremely rare collector vehicle risks expensive key replacements and reprogramming challenges. Protect beloved original dealer key fobs and their delicate logos by outfitting them with sturdy leather holders featuring heavy-duty snap closures. Keep them far safer rattling around loose inside pockets or tossed into the glove box. Custom leather key fob holders make fantastic add-on gifts for prized collectible cars costing less than $20.
6. Wooden Steering Wheel
For those longing to match vintage style with modern safety, replace worn or cracked plastic steering wheels containing hazardous materials with new wood steering wheels mimicking old designs. Several firms offer versions made of sustainably harvested exotic and domestic hardwoods fitted to match factory sizes. Having a wooden steering wheel lovingly hand-crafted for your Mustang, Corvette, or Camaro adds a warm retro touch while avoiding government penalties for messing with airbag modules. Call around among specialty suppliers to locate one catering specifically to your year and model.
7. Antenna Topper
Devoted owners of show quality classics likely already added nostalgic antenna toppers, the iconic symbols adorning vehicles’ radio receivers during the 1950s and 1960s. Colorful toppers shaped like flames, spaceships, or whimsical animals perched atop huge exterior antennas (remember those required for AM/FM radios?). The now classic Union 76 glowing orange ball frequents renovated gas station scenes in TV and movies. Treat your classic to museum-quality metal cast or molded polymer antenna balls from restoration pros or swap meets for a few dollars. Just don’t poke anyone’s eye out!
8. Curb Feelers
Curb feelers, often considered charming and practical antique auto accessories, are an ideal addition to classic cars. These slender rods, typically mounted on a vehicle’s fenders, gently touch the curb when parking, providing a tactile indicator to the driver. For classic car enthusiasts, curb feelers not only evoke a sense of nostalgia, harking back to the mid-20th century when they were popular but also serve a functional purpose. In tight parking situations, where precision is key, curb feelers help prevent accidental scratches or damages to the beautiful and often irreplaceable exteriors of classic cars. Beyond their utility, these accessories add a touch of vintage flair, contributing to the overall aesthetic charm of classic automobiles, making them a perfect fit for those who appreciate both form and function in their beloved vintage rides.
9. Bluetooth Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Maintaining properly inflated tires promotes vintage car safety, protects against blowouts, and improves fuel economy. Fending off flat tires while out motoring makes trips less stressful. Now Bluetooth sensors/transmitters adhering inside each tire’s valve stem automatically measure and display individual tire pressures directly on your smartphone screen. No more fumbling with clumsy analog gauges trying to read tiny hash marks on valve stems or sticking fingers into the path of oncoming dirt and debris. Bluetooth monitors sound alerts for any tire slowly leaking air. Systems run $200-300 and DIY-friendly installation takes 30-60 minutes.
10. Dash Cam Recorder
Last but certainly not least on the classic car accessories list comes one of the newest vintage car interior accessories, the innovative dash cam for capturing scenic drives, car shows, and parade appearances. Compact dash cams provide cheap insurance against parking lot mishaps when your baby gets inadvertently dinged or scraped and the culprit skips town. Add GPS telemetry to document exact travel routes, distances, and speeds. Most models automatically record video segments for replay enjoyment or attach the best clips to share on social media. Prices run the gamut from around $50 for 1080P resolution units up to 4K HDR clarity exceeding $300 which makes scenic rural drives appear stunningly vibrant on YouTube channel posts. Dash cams rank among the most practical electronic safety tools on the market.
Protect Your Vintage Auto Accessories with Classic Auto Insurance
Treat yourself or a loved one to some of these top classic car gifts perfect for brightening up birthdays, holidays, or anniversary celebrations. Peruse the wide array of available classic car accessories to create great customized gift packages filled with decorative and practical items sure to delight the antique auto enthusiast in everyone’s family.
Here at Classic Auto, we’re more than just an insurance company — we’re classic car enthusiasts. We offer our clients robust and affordable policies based on agreed-upon value. This means that we’ll work with you to estimate your car’s true worth. Plus, we include inflation guard in our policies, which will ensure that your vehicle is never underinsured.