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Ok, so you’ve got that sweet S197 Ford Mustang GT or Nissan 370Z and want to start modifying it. However, you’re convinced that you’ll be selling the car soon. As such, you’re concerned your mods won’t add any overall value to your tuner or muscle car when it’s time to sell. So, what modifications add value to a car, if any?

Tragically, your fresh-to-death wheels and ear-splitting straight-piped exhaust system won’t likely earn you extra money

I’m sorry, folks. Adding that cold-air intake, exhaust system, or aftermarket front bumper doesn’t mean you’ll get that money back when it’s time to sell your car. Cars are depreciating assets. And not even a high-dollar modification like a $10,000 roots-style supercharger can change that.

In fact, in some cases, extensive modifications could compromise your ability to sell your car. For instance, if your car is a classic, like a 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback or a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette, you’ll make more money with an all-original ride. That’s where terminology like “numbers-matching” comes into play. 

However, while monetary value is a fickle creature, what you value in your car is up to, well, you. If you don’t see yourself selling your car anytime soon, a set of modifications can help you make your mark on your car. 

Better yet, if you’re looking to get some of your investment back after buying parts, especially bolt-on parts, you can always remove the parts and attempt to resell them before selling your car. That is, if you kept the OEM parts you replaced. 

A silver Porsche 911 996 is a prime candidate for tasteful modifications, although they might not add value to the car.
Porsche 911 996 | Sue Thatcher via iStock

Some modifications, upgrades, or fixes could mean more cash in your pocket or an eager buyer

Let’s take a look at the controversial 996-generation Porsche 911 and its divisive headlight-and-water-cooled-engine combination. When Porsche debuted the 996 with its water-cooled M96 flat six-cylinder engine, they also gave owners the three most dreaded (if also blown out of proportion) letters in a fan’s vocabulary: I-M-S. The Intermediate Shaft bearing, or IMS bearing is a failure-prone component of the IMS, which drives the cams off the crankshaft. 

Tragically, there are a small number of these 996 (and 997.1) cars with IMS failures so severe that they could require an engine replacement. Suddenly that $30,000 sports car needs a $18,000 (ish) engine rebuild or pricey replacement.

While you might not net a ton of extra cash for your 996 911 with the IMS bearing replacement on the books, you might sell it faster or with less hassle. Face it, people don’t typically shop for headaches. An IMS fix could be exactly what that classic sports car hunter is after.