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Classic Car Accessories Buying Guide

Whether you buy your classic car accessories from a dealer, order online or seek out the best aftermarket auto parts at specialty shows, you want to get the most for your money. Here’s how!

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How to accessorize a classic car

There’s a difference between classic cars and cars that are just “old,” and often times, that distinction comes down to the accessories. Whether it’s something as simple as a set of custom-made mud flaps or a brand new set of stylish wheels, there are plenty of ways for vintage car owners to dress up their rides and indulge their pastime.

Classic car accessories run the gamut, from practical items like floor mats, steering wheels, shifter knobs and the aforementioned mud flaps, to decorative items like shiny hubcaps and radios. No matter which accessories you have in mind, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether to insist on period products or choose the convenience of modern reproductions.

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The cost of authentic car accessories

Do you want to be technically accurate and faithful to every historical detail? If so, you may have to forgo that brand new USB-equipped radio or smartphone mount. Are you okay with a little historical inaccuracy if it makes your car more comfortable and fun to drive? These are decisions only you can make, so think about them carefully.

 Keep in mind that original parts and accessories are becoming increasingly rare, so you may have problems locating the items you need. Even if you do find a period radio for your vintage car or truck, chances are it will be pretty pricey. If you do decide to splurge on an authentic accessory, you will need to vet it carefully to make sure it is genuine and not a modern reproduction.

How well do you know your classic cars? Take our trivia challenge!

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Where to find classic car accessories

There are plenty of places to buy vintage accessories and decorative items for your classic vehicle. Online auction sites like eBay are rich sources of all things automotive, including some excellent and authentic vintage accessories. 

You will want to check the feedback score and comments of the seller before making a bid, and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions. If the seller seems legitimate and past buyers have had plenty of good things to say, chances are you are dealing with someone you can trust. 

If you love to attend car shows, either as an exhibitor or just a visitor, you can look for the accessories you need there. It is a good idea to make a list of the items you want to purchase – the vast selection can be pretty overwhelming and it is easy to overspend on things you do not really need. 

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Classic car accessories: Buyer beware

You will also need to check the reputation of the sellers if you can and make sure each piece you buy is from the period. If you are fine with modern reproductions, you do not have to worry too much, but if you want to keep your vintage car period-perfect you will need to shop carefully. The vintage car world is a small and tight-knit one, and once you have been around for a while you will get a real feel for which sellers are trustworthy and which are not.

 As with any purchase, if the price seems too good to be true, you may be dealing with a less than perfect product or one that is being marketed dishonestly. If you want to get authentic period accessories for your vintage vehicle, you should be prepared to pay a fair price.