How Expensive is it to Retrofit a Classic Car?

Photo by Михаил Клоков:

Retrofitting has fueled fans’ desire to continue driving and enjoying their precious historic automobiles without fear of future fees, low or zero-emissions areas, or other government rules that may force them off the road.


However, retrofitting classic cars is not cheap. The cost of retrofitting classic cars has quadrupled in the last two decades. This is because the standards of car owners, the cost of labor, the cost of new products and parts, and the quality of the car restorations have shot up.


So, what’s the average cost? A resto-mod costs between $50,000 and $70,000 on average. Restomods have two components – restoration and modification. Therefore, the cost depends on the restoration level, the level of modification, and who does the work. There is also the classic cars transport costs from its point of origin to your current destination. 


This article breaks down all these factors and how they affect the cost. Keep reading to understand better how much a resto-mod for your classic car will cost.

What Is the Price of Converting My Historic Automobile to Electric?

When it comes to converting an automobile, the cost may range from as little as £20,000 up to as much as $60,000, according to Electric Classic Cars, a professional conversion firm (profiled below). Parts and labor are included in this price.


If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can save money by converting your vehicle, but it’s not for the inexperienced DIY mechanic. To have the modified automobile registered and on the road, you’ll need to deal with a mound of paperwork.

What Are the Requirements for Converting Your Automobile to Electric?

You need more than a battery pack and an electric motor. Electric Classic Cars may obtain conversion kits for some of the most popular models. Grommets and crimps are included, as well as adapter plates, motor mounts, couplers, and battery boxes.

Restomod Cost Factors

If you want to retrofit your classic personal car below are the factors that will determine how much it will cost to retrofit your car:

Restoration Prep/Disassembly

This involves removing all glass, trim, grille, bumpers, taillights, headlights, etc. The interior of the car is also removed.


The cost of a bodywork retrofit mainly depends on the initial condition of your car.

Good condition – this means that there is no major damage or rust on your car. But if it’s an old classic car, it will undoubtedly have some waves or scratches. In this case, the car is stripped, and spot blasted to its bare metal framework. This costs between $3,000 to $ 10,000.

Fair condition – your car has typical wear and tear. There is minor surface rust in door jams, truck floor, wheel wells, etc. The bodywork will cost between $10,000 and $15,000.

Poor condition – your car’s body has considerable rust on the trunk, doors, etc. Costs between $15,000 and $20,000.

Chassis/Body Options

It costs:

Replace the floor plans : $2,500 – $3,500

Replace the glass : $450 – $1,200

Replace exterior lights and trim: $500 – $1,200

Re-chrome bumpers: $350 – $1,500

New weather strips: $1200 – $2500

Chassis reconditioning: $750 – $2500

Cowl hood: $450 – $1000


Full concourse paint: $15,000 – $30,000

Driver & mild show paint: $10,000 – 15,000

Engine compartment paint: $350 – 500

Rally style stripe: $750 – $900


Basic interior: $3,000 – $5,000

Custom interior: $5,000 – $10,000

Headliner: $500 – $ 1,000

Paint dash: $500 – $1,000

Carpet replacement: $1,000 – $1,200


Basic mechanical: $3,500 – $6,000

Expanded mechanical: $6,000 – $15,000

Expanded plus mechanical: $15,000 – $30,000

Complete mechanical: $30,000 – $55,000

Mechanical Options

Air conditioning installation: $4000 – $6,000

Rear disc brake conversion: $2,000 – $4,000

Engine rebuild: $3,500 – $9,000

Upgraded exhaust with headers: $1,500 – $2,500

Upgraded wheels & tires: $2,750 – $5,000

Transmission rebuild: $800 – $3,000

Front disc brake conversion : $3,000 – $8,000


Reassembly of the car costs between $2,000 and $4,000

Bottom Line

When it comes to retrofitting classic cars, there are too many variables to consider for you to accurately predict the cost of completely retrofitting the car. However, classic fans who want to add a modern touch to their cars will find a resto-mod worthwhile, despite the high prices.