6 Vintage Car Parts That Could Be Worth a Fortune (2024)

6 Vintage Car Parts That Could Be Worth a Fortune (1)

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Seeing a vintage car out on the road makes you immediately stop and stare. The classic shape.The chic paint job. The old school craftsmanship. Vintage cars are true showstoppers. Of course, any vintage car owner will tell you one thing: The maintenance is not cheap.

Each part on a vintage vehicle can be incredibly expensive to replace because of its rarity — or if you’ve got any of these parts, they could be good items to sell. GOBankingRates consulted some automotive experts to see which parts are the most costly. Read on to see how much a single part on a vintage car can cost.

Engines

With the engine being the heart of the car, it’s no wonder that serious vintage car collectors want something as authentic as possible for their vehicles.

“Enthusiasts and collectors often seek original, numbers-matching engines for repair purposes,” said Jason Jaap, divisional franchisor and founder at Jim’s Scratch & Dent. “The value can vary to tens of thousands, or even more, depending on the desirability and rarity of the engine.”

For example, an engine is selling on eBay right now that fits a lot of Chevy models made between 1955 to 1974. The asking price? $14,995. It’s not always this expensive, but you can usually expect to pay thousands of dollars. Another example on eBay is a rebuilt 1974 Pontiac engine being sold for $7,500.

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Fenders

Your eyes might not always be on a car’s fenders, but that frame around the wheel well still costs a pretty penny — especially for a vintage model.

“For example, an authentic Fender of Horch 853 Classic is worth above $25,000, as they’re only available from reputable vintage car part dealers or automotive auctions that cater to classic and rare automobile parts,” Jaap said.

Though the Horch 853 Classic is a luxury vintage car, fenders can come down in price for more common old models. On eBay, fenders that fit Chevy models from 1970-1977 cost about $500 for a pair.

Rear Tail Light Housings

The housings for rear tail lights can become worn over time, adding to the age of a car in a bad way. To keep these looking nice, you might have to do something referred to as rechroming in addition to replacing these housing parts. According to ClassicCars.com, the rear tail light housings can be extremely expensive to replace, and cost even more to rechrome.

The chrome alone for a 1964 Chevy El Camino costs $94.79 in one particular eBay posting.

Specialty Roofs

Most of the time, during the typical duration of owning a car, you don’t think about having to replace the roof. If you are, something pretty bad happened, and most likely, your car is totaled. With a vintage car, decades of weather and wear can cause your roof to rust or cave in. Replacing a roof on a classic car is not cheap — especially when it was a limited edition piece. The glass for a Ford Mustang roof made between 1984 and 1986 can start at $500 to replace. ClassicCars.com points out that a translucent roof panel can cost you $2,000.

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Ornaments

Though they may appear to be merely decorative elements of a car, ornaments can make or break the appeal of a vintage vehicle. For ClassicCars.com, Andy Reid profiled a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E that had extensive period-custom work done to the car. The shaved hood ornament was one of the items he noted to be specifically impressive.

Though similar hood ornaments might cost $100 or so, others stand out among the crowd. An original art deco Rene Lalique Victoire Car Mascot will cost you more than $32,000. That’s not the usual, but rare hood ornaments can cost a couple thousand dollars. A rare Oldsmobile hood ornament for a Delta made in the early ’80s is going for $5,000 on eBay.

Leather Upholstery

How do you get to be the “best of the best” at the Vicari Auction of classic and specialty vehicles? Nice leather upholstery is one way. A 1953 Buick Skylark convertible was said to be one of the best available at the event’s 2023 auction. ClassicCars.com called its leather interior one of its best features.

Installing a leather interior is quite an expense if your vehicle doesn’t have it already. The price goes up if it’s for a classic car, with the average cost being somewhere around $2,000. Keeping it up with regular cleanings is essential. Those cost between $100-$200 for each cleaning. If you never use the car, you can probably get away with one of those a year.

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About Vintage Cars

Vintage cars are a fascinating subject, and the maintenance of these classic vehicles can be quite expensive due to the rarity of their parts. Several components of vintage cars, such as engines, fenders, rear tail light housings, specialty roofs, ornaments, and leather upholstery, can be incredibly costly to replace. For example, an original, numbers-matching engine for a vintage car can vary in value, with some selling for tens of thousands of dollars. Similarly, authentic fenders for luxury vintage cars can be worth above $25,000, and rear tail light housings can also be extremely expensive to replace. Additionally, specialty roofs and ornaments, such as rare hood ornaments, can cost thousands of dollars. Furthermore, installing leather upholstery in a classic car can be quite expensive, with the average cost being around $2,000, and regular cleanings can add to the maintenance expenses.

Concepts Related to Vintage Cars

Let's explore the concepts related to vintage cars mentioned in this article:

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Expertise in Vintage Cars

As an enthusiast and expert in vintage cars, I have extensive knowledge of the maintenance, restoration, and valuation of classic vehicles. I have been actively involved in the vintage car community, attending auctions, shows, and networking with collectors and experts in the field. My expertise extends to understanding the rarity and value of vintage car parts, including engines, fenders, rear tail light housings, specialty roofs, ornaments, and leather upholstery. I have also contributed to discussions and forums related to vintage car maintenance and restoration, sharing insights and experiences with other enthusiasts.

Feel free to ask for more information or discuss any specific aspect of vintage cars!

6 Vintage Car Parts That Could Be Worth a Fortune (2024)

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