How to Keep Your Muscle Car in Mint Condition

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For some people, buying a classic muscle car is equal parts brand appreciation and nostalgia. You bring home your favorite vehicle from childhood or young-adulthood and turn it into a daily driver. Some makes and models are too rare or valuable to risk taking them out onto the road, though. If you’ve got one of these collector’s items in your garage, what do you need to do to keep it in mint condition?

Keep It Clean

It doesn’t take much to damage the paint job on your classic muscle car. You might encounter tree sap and bird poop outside of the safety of the garage — and both are hell on automotive paint. They’re acidic and, if left alone, can eat right through the clear coat and paint, causing all sorts of damage. In testing, Ford engineers use a caustic mix of phosphoric acid and soap detergent to mimic the kind of havoc bird poop can cause.

Wash your car regularly and make sure you’re cleaning up any obvious messes from the surface, especially if you’re still sporting the original paint. Older automotive paint isn’t designed to withstand the sort of beatings its modern counterpart can handle.

Park It Indoors

The best way to keep your muscle car in mint condition — and out of the hands of enterprising car thieves — Is to park it in a secure garage. Keeping it indoors when it’s not at a show or on the road protects it from everything. You don’t have to worry about bird poop or hail or even contending with the sort of long-term damage that sunlight can do to classic cars.

Clear out your garage and make it a car-centric space. The last thing you need is some poorly-stored landscaping implement falling over and scratching your paint or breaking a window.

Use a Trailer

One of the most exciting and entertaining parts of owning a collectible muscle car is taking it to shows and conventions. You get to show off your vehicle and network with other classic car owners. If you’re heading to an out-of-state gathering, popping your collectible in a trailer instead of driving might be the best option.

Ensure you choose the best type of trailer for the job and ensure that the load is balanced before you hit the road. Enclosed trailers help keep your car in mint condition, but if renting or buying one isn’t in your budget, you can also use an open trailer. Just make sure you invest in a high-quality car cover to keep bird poop, bugs and rocks at bay.

Drive It Occasionally

Classic muscle cars aren’t like any other collectible. You can’t just put them in a box and forget about them until the next showcase. You need to drive your muscle car occasionally to keep the engine working at peak performance and prevent it from breaking down from neglect.

Start your car and take it for a short drive every month or so. You don’t need to go cross-country or anything — just enough to get the engine up to operating temperature and keep the gasoline from turning to varnish. If you’re worried about getting into a car accident, wait until late at night or early in the morning when the roads are mostly empty.

Enjoy Your Classic Collectible

Even if it’s not your daily driver, you can still keep your classic car in mint condition. It might take a bit of extra effort, but for these gorgeous pieces of automotive history, it’s absolutely worth it.

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