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Don’t Worry, Classic Car Fans, You Can Go Electric Too

Ford teases electric engine, so your classic F-100 can get a new twist

Leo Shvedsky
August 24 2021

Ford has teased its electric crate motor, the Eluminator, on Twitter, which means it is getting much, much easier to plunk an electric engine in a classic chassis.

It seems like that would be a great thing, right? You can still enjoy the sleek, sexy body of a classic car, but It will run faster and for longer. Plus, you’ll get to preserve history and do something that is environmentally friendly – meaning your project car can become your everyday car. It’s the closest thing to getting your cake and eating it too that you will ever get.

Some have already begun the process. But for others, this sounds like a nightmare more than a dream. And it is not because they want to see the world covered in carbon. There are just some advantages to a good old fashioned V8 that can never be replaced by electric.  

Converting a project car is expensive. There is no word on how much Ford’s Eluminator will cost – the electric crate engine debuts this fall at SEMA – but an electric conversion kit can go for around $15,000. But the price point is not necessarily the drawback for fans of classic cars – it is the experience.  

Classic cars are not fast. But that is part of their appeal. You don’t own a classic car to go fast. You own a classic car to experience the drive. It’s probably not going to beat a Honda Civic, but when are you going to race it against a Honda Civic? The heavier engine adds weight and does not produce a ton of power, sure, but it also gives you that feel. You can attempt to replicate it when you take out the heavier engine, but you are going to have to recalibrate your car – turning your project car into an extra credit project car.  

Aside from the need for (no) speed, electric cars are quieter, which removes the deep rumble of a gas guzzler that many cannot live without. Not to mention the smell, which evokes a sense of nostalgia in and of itself.  

Then there is the age-old question – if it is a classic car but has a modern engine, is it really a classic car? It looks like a classic car. Maybe you’ve recalibrated it to feel like a classic car. But your fellows on the car show lawn will always dunk on you because something is missing. It has got the body, but does it have the soul?

The Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) has answered that age-old question simply – it’s not. According to FIVA, a car that used to run on gas or diesel is no longer considered historic once it’s been upgraded to electric. Bummer.

We shouldn’t lose our connection to the past as we move towards the future. Classic cars are a part of automotive history, and they should be preserved as such – including the engine. That said, converting your classic car to electric can help preserve that history because it keeps the car on the road and out of the scrap yard. Plus, it keeps the planet here – who is going to enjoy your classic car (whether its o.g. engine or electric) if we are all living in a swimming pool?  

The future is electric, there is no getting around it. Electrifying your car might remove some of that experience, but it will prevent it from getting phased out or relegated to the garage.



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