Using a classic sports car in the modern world doesn’t have to be a compromise, despite car technology moving on. There can be substantial benefits of taking a relatively basic car and applying the best of modern day car technology. This “revival” can leave you with a car that will outperform a modern sports car in terms of driver feedback and control. Making the changes I suggest below can be relatively inexpensive too.
Classic cars from the 80’s and 90’s were truly great in their time, but can be brought up to date by improving on tyres, seating, brakes and suspension.
Tyre technology advances in tread design and rubber compounds allow you to improve the handling and ride comfort with a minimal increase in cost over standard replacements. It is easy to overlook the impact that tyres have on the overall performance and feel of a car. It’s well worth spending more money on tyres because it can tranform a car. Wet weather grip is one area that has seen great improvements.
When comparing the seats in a modern hot hatch to a 90’s equivalent, the support offered has dramatically improved with time. It is possible to retro fit modern seats from manufacturers such as Recaro to bring driver and front passenger support up to modern standards. The other added benefit of fitting new sports seats is you can preserve the originals, and still have the option to return the car back to standard specification at a later date.
Brake discs and pads that are worn and aged will not perform as intended. Replacing the discs and pads will have a positive impact on braking performance. Also uprating brakes will enable the car to handle better on your favourite B-Road and can bring the stopping power closer to modern day standards.
Although the ride on classic sport cars is generally leaps ahead in terms of driver communication, the suspension components of any circa 20 year old car will likely to be worn and not as responsive as when they were new. Replacing the suspension with new standard components (particularly dampers, springs and bushings) should vastly improve handling and ride comfort. If you wish to spend a bit more by adding fully adjustable coilovers and polymer bushings, you will gain greater control of how you want the car to handle and also customise the feel and responsiveness experienced from the drivers seat.
To bring these cars up to modern standards for everyday use I would also suggest looking into how to improve lighting and audio equipment.
Headlight technology has come a long way in the last few decades and it is possible to vastly improve night time visibility (and therefore safety) by fitting aftermarket xenon bulbs, enhanced lighting circuits and even halogen units (where it is legal to do so).
Fitting a modern stereo and speakers will improve sound quality, making the car more habitable. Standard speakers can be replaced with identically sized modern units that fit in the original speaker housings, so the look of the interior is unaffected.