5. Tilt-Wheel Steering Columns
As we mentioned in our lead photo caption, tilt-steering columns are flying off the shelves right now. With the ability to bolt in directly with no cutting (on short-shaft steering boxes mid-'67 and up) and options like collapsing body, Ford spline shaft to retain stock Ford steering wheel, and other features (depending upon manufacturer), these tilt-wheel columns offer driving comfort, ease of entry/exit, and more.
6. Electronic Fuel Injection
Whether cruising your vintage Mustang on long trips or simply driving it to work every day, electronic fuel injection (EFI) has made life easier for many a vintage Mustang owner. Nothing says modern like EFI and there are several ways to accomplish this upgrade. If you're looking to keep a retro look with a carburetor-like vibe under hood, consider one of the square-flange bolt-on throttle body units, like this FE big-block is running.
For a bit more low-end torque and better fuel atomization, direct-port EFI is the answer. Using an OE Ford or aftermarket EFI manifold is the ticket here. We've found the '94-'95 Mustang intake, while disparaged by the late-model racers, is a great fit for the vintage Mustang engine bay.
7. Roller Camshafts
When Ford upgraded the venerable 302 small-block in 1985 with a roller follower camshaft, performance enthusiasts with flat tappet cams took notice of the great idle quality, low-speed torque, and rpm abilities. Roller cam conversions have been popular since the early 1990s but have been gaining traction the last few years as vintage Mustangs get older and finally need a rebuild—or their owners do not want to deal with oil additives or hunting down special oil that still has ZDDP in it. Convert to a roller cam and use your favorite oil without fear of camshaft wear.
8. Coilover suspension
While some may not consider this a “modern” upgrade, as coilover shocks have been around for decades, it fits our description when it comes to vintage Mustangs as the coilover conversion is but a decade old (give or take a few years). We're not talking about helper shocks with springs here, but true coilover adjustable shocks to allow suspension tuning and ride height adjustments to get your Mustang handling just how you want it and the stance right where everything works best.
9. Electronically controlled A/C
Adding air conditioning to a vintage Mustang has long been a way to increase driving comfort, resale value, and sometimes even just to get the wife to go to a show with you! Today's cars have fully electronically controlled systems with pulse-width modulated fans with electronic controls that do not use cables or vacuum. You can use the same technology in your vintage Mustang from all of the big aftermarket A/C companies, saving you the headaches of cable routing and adjustment. Many even offer new control heads with electronics ready to bolt into your dash for an easy installation.
10. Gauge Conversions
As we age, our eyes take longer to focus on things and night vision often suffers. Many people we know just about refuse to drive their vintage Mustangs at night due to the lousy gauge illumination. While LED bulbs can help, upgrading to modern gauges that illuminate the gauge face from behind with a fully illuminated gauge pointer (just like the '87 to current Mustang) is the ticket to reducing eye strain and seeing your gauges clearly day or night.
As we stated in our story, these top ten are what we feel have been the most popular upgrades we've seen at events and talking to owners. That doesn't mean there aren't some great modern updates that don't deserve an honorable mention for their ability to help us enjoy our vintage Mustangs more. These additional modern upgrades include such things as:
High-flow aluminum radiators
Electric cooling fans
Adhesive backed/lined sound deadening products
Heat control products
Plus-sized wheel and tire packages
Auto-dimming rearview mirrors
Back up cameras
Power door locks
Bluetooth hands-free cellular phone connectivity
Three-point seatbelts (when used with high-back seats)
Cable and hydraulic clutch conversions
Direct-fit high-amperage alternators
TXL wiring harnesses with extra capacity ATO fuse boxes