5 Muscle Car Upgrades that Offer the Highest Value

January 27, 2012

Determining the value of a classic car can be a very subjective process, but there are a number of muscle car upgrades that will directly affect the overall value of the vehicle. The valuation process on an older, classic, or muscle car is far different than that of a newer car. Due to the classic nature of the vehicle, is can be very difficult to determine an accurate value, and the employment of a professional appraiser can give you the most accurate valuation on the vehicle. It is important to have a good valuation of the vehicle for two primary reasons; appropriate insurance coverage, and determining an asking price if selling the vehicle. Here you will find some upgrades that will give the highest value for the vehicle overall.

Body and Frame

The condition of the body is possibly the most important factor in valuation of a classic vehicle. If you want to get the maximum value on your vehicle, think authentic. The body should be repaired or restored to it's original lines, with no customizations. Paint color should also be authentic if you are painting the car. Any indications there is frame damage (uneven gaps between body panels or panels at differing heights), should be addressed, as this will greatly impact the vehicle's values. Frame issues should be addressed with a knowledgeable professional.


Condition of the paint will impact the valuation of the vehicle. If the car needs a new paint job, have it professionally done, as few have access to a paint booth or the knowledge required to give the car a flawless paint job. A poor paint job, or paint that is in poor shape will lower the value of the vehicle.

Interior Condition

The overall condition of the vehicle's interior can have a significant impact on the vehicle. This is an area you will need to possibly do some research on to determine what interior fabrics and materials were used originally in the factory, and replaced with like-minded materials.

Engine and Transmission

The overall engine and transmission condition are areas to focus on in the restoration, and are perhaps equally important as the body and frame. If the engine needs restoration, it should be done with as many of the original parts as possible. OEM recycled parts are acceptable as well. A rebuild of the original engine is actually more beneficial when it comes to value as opposed to replacement. An appraiser will look to see if the numbers match between the original VIN and the serial number on the engine. A replacement engine will impact the authenticity factor in the valuation.


Authenticity is important when it comes to valuing the vehicle. It is very difficult to place a value on aftermarket upgrades or equipment, and is often valued only at about ten to thirty percent of the actual cost of the equipment. While a customized vehicle may appeal to one or two specific private parties, a vehicle that has been restored with all original parts is highly desired by most serious car collectors.

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