Top 5 Custom Classic Car Modification Trends for 2023

Car designers are always looking for new ideas and concepts to incorporate into their cars. Here are five trends you’ll see more of in 2023.

Taking a car and adding some custom touches and modifications is both a skill and an art. While I was at the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association’s last show of the season in Scottsdale, AZ, in late November, I saw a lot of great rides. With over 3,000 cars on display, there was plenty of chrome, paint and technology on display.

Here are five custom classic car trends I spotted that you might enjoy and expect to see more of in 2023.

Wall mounted glass

Custom car trends 2023
Surface-mounted glass has no trim and seamlessly transitions to the vehicle body; (Photo/Mark Bach)

After installing a windshield or rear glass on an older car, a piece of metal is usually placed over the edges to cover the gap in the glass. Modern cars now use flush-mounted glass and eliminate the need for trim pieces. More car designers are adopting this look.

Custom car trends 2023
traditional window glass trim; (Photo/Mark Bach)

If any modification is made to the roofline of a vehicle, the glass often has to be cut or changed as well. By flush mounting the glass, the need for one-off custom trim pieces is eliminated.

Even when a stock trim piece could be used, the frosted glass provides an aerodynamic and elegant look without the bulge of metal trim. This also helps the paint flow onto the vehicle without any ripple or interruption.

Coated carbon fibre

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Ringbrothers 1969 Camaro with carbon fiber body painted white; (Photo/Mark Bach)

Many car parts are now available in carbon fibre. Hoods, spoilers, wings, and even entire car bodies are made of carbon fiber. This allows for a stronger piece with less weight. But rather than brag about the fact that the body part is carbon fiber, many builders are quietly painting the trim.

Examples of this can be found all over the high-end custom vehicle space today. At this year’s Sima exhibition, it was ringbrothers It debuted as a 1969 Camaro which was all carbon fiber but painted white. The best-bespoke Kindig-it Design shop even mass-produces a custom version of the 1953 Corvette with painted carbon fiber bodies.

Custom car trends 2023
Even carbon bumpers are on offer these days, but without paint, they really stand out; (Photo/Mark Bach)

By applying paint to carbon fiber, custom builders can get the lightweight, clean body lines they want, without drawing attention to the shiny carbon bits. This allows the car to speak for itself more, and allows the carbon fiber to be a bit of a surprise when onlookers examine the car more closely.

Show me the engine

Custom car trends 2023
This 1961 Impala features the 509 CID engine with visible custom valve caps and custom air cleaner. Everything is on display, and everything is so arranged; (Photo/Mark Bach)

After years of builders going to great lengths to hide the car’s engine with hoods and sheet metal, the engines are now visible in the exposed public spaces. Builders understand that engines are eye candy and need to be admired, not hidden.

This is especially true of custom vehicles with large engines, and those with several old carburetors, under the hood. The hoods were hiding these features, which are becoming rare and rare as the world shifts to small engines and electric motors.

Custom car trends 2023
The old-school dedicated car “covers all the engine mentality”, which is still very beautiful; (Photo/Mark Bach)

The new trend is for all engine to be open for viewing. However, it can be very difficult to maintain a clean engine bay in a custom car while showing off the engine.

It’s still important to hide the wires and make the fuel injection that mimics a set of carburetors look good. But, the convertible engine is now back on the build sheet for custom cars.

Distressed leather

Custom car trends 2023
The distressed leather makes the interior more attractive to use and you don’t have to worry about scratching too much; (Photo/Mark Bach)

Don’t stress about this sign, it’s supposed to look like this. For years, interior upholsterers have been stepping up their game. They searched for exotic skins from all over the world. They would import the leather specifically from Italy, or assure that it was hand-dyed and the cattle raised on wire-free pastures to avoid scuff marks.

Custom car trends 2023
Custom plush interior. (Photo/Mark Bach)

Builders are now realizing that people may be driving these creations and using “distressed leather” on car interiors. Now the scuff mark or scar on the leather seat is part of the show and it’s designed to look that way.

Distressed leather is particularly appropriate in older games with a worn patina appearance. Both methods naturally work together.

belly pans

Belly tubs can be hard to see, but they’re trending in custom classic cars. Oh, they’ve been around since hotrods started racing on salt pans, and they can be seen everywhere in the automotive world these days.

The belly pan began as a piece of sheet metal that bolted to the bottom of the bodywork to reduce wind resistance and provide more aerodynamics. Now even NASCARThe “Next Generation” trophy car has a belly pan. Even the first Toyota Prius For the first time with a belly trough to create more fuel efficiency.

By having a belly tub under a custom car, the builder provides a sleeker look and can easily hide wire and brake lines. Of course, builders could develop the game using carbon fiber instead of sheet metal. But that means that at auto shows, you’ll have to start backing more cars and putting mirrors under them to show off the industry.

Custom Classic Car Trends

Custom car trends 2023
(Photo/Mark Bach)

Funny thing about car customization trends. Some come and go, some don’t go away, and some come back in style. Many of these new trends have been blatantly stolen from modern automobile manufacturing. We’ll have to wait and see if these trends have staying power in the custom car world.

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