The Classic Car EV Conversion Conundrum

Sitting around infinity pool on the roof off CleanTechnica’s carbon fiber and cross-laminated wood headquarters the other day, the team came to talk about converting classic cars to electric power. This topic came up because some were captivated by the recent announcement by Lunaz that it will soon offer electrical conversions of the iconic Aston Martin DB 4, DB 5 and DB 6. (The DB designation indicates models that were introduced while David Brown was in charge of the company, which has its roots back to 1913.)

There are a few cars that are considered timeless classics, expressions of car art so perfectly adapted to their time that they have come to represent the era in which they performed. (Our list will be different from yours. There is a reason why car museums are found all over the world.)

The Auburn Boattail Speedster, Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, Jaguar XK-E and Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gull Wing coupe come to mind. (Everyone has their own list of classic cars. I want to add MGA to mine.) But one car that seems to ignite passion in the soul of car enthusiasts worldwide is the silver Aston Martin DB 5 powered by James Bond in the movie Gold finger and featured in the new (and possibly last) 007 movie No time to die. (Note: DB 5 was designed by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, one of many Italian design companies that have contributed stunning, timeless designs to the automotive world for decades.)

Original, drivable DB 5s are made from 100% pure unfulfilled, but Lunaz will sell you a DB 6 with an electric drive unit for somewhere around $ 1 million. In fact, when the first conversions are ready in 2023 or so, it will probably look more like the place where price negotiations will begin. Lunaz also offers electrified versions of other historic British cars from Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Range Rover.

Addition of modern features

Lunaz is very proud that the modified Aston Martins will offer all the modern conveniences. The company says the conversion process will include “brake upgrades, suspension and steering, while bringing comfort and convenience up to modern standards through the provision of air conditioning and the sensitive integration of latest infotainment, navigation systems and full Wi-Fi. Fi connectivity.”

At least this raises an important question in my mind. Do I want a DB6 — or another classic car — with infotainment, navigation, air conditioning, and full wi-fi connectivity? Honestly, my answer is no. I owned MGs for over 40 years. None of them had a touch screen. I also had a Miata for 20 years. It also managed without a touch screen. The purpose of these cars was to go out and Get lost! They were designed to discover new roads, hopefully those with only two lanes winding through the woods and across streams to places you have never seen before.

Originally, a sports car had 4 wheels (unless it was a Morgan), an engine, a transmission, a rear axle and brakes. By definition, anything that did not make a car faster was left out on models with sporty pretensions. If you wanted a heater in your UK sports car in the 40s and 50s, you should add it as an extra cost option when you ordered it. That’s why I have to laugh when I see a sobbing SUV or pickup with “SPORT” packed on the flanks.

My favorite sports cars are roadsters. I like to remind people of the difference between a convertible and a roadster. A convertible has a top that you sometimes lay down under ideal conditions. A roadster has a top that you occasionally put up when the weather gets awful. It’s a subtle difference, but one that’s hugely important, at least in my opinion.

I know many readers will argue for it anyone electric car is precious because it moves the EV revolution forward. People say this about the giant Hummer, which weighs almost 10,000 pounds and is half the size of a regular SUV. The best comment I have seen so far about Hummer was on save your EV Forum recently: “It’s big, it’s nice, it’s overkill and pointless. Very American. ”

On CleanTechnica, we are bombarded daily with stories of $ 1 million + superduper cars with 2000 horsepower and a top speed of 200 mph. I ignore them – all of them. To me, these cars are a distraction, bullets for people with more money than brains to hang on to their charm bracelets so their friends can slip.

Personally, I prefer a car that requires some old-fashioned skills like how to read a map, how to adjust the rear brakes and how to adjust the carburetor. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing all the quirks and weaknesses of a car and how to deal with them. There is a pride in knowing how to replace a draft bearing, vent your brakes, shift gears without clutch or counter-steering to steer a slip.

Filling the driveline from a wrecked Tesla in an old car may be appealing to some, but it misses the point. It removes all the nuance and history that makes an old car worth driving. I do not want a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk with an electric driveline. I want one with the original engine so I can listen to the compressor squeal as I mash the throttle.

So sorry, Lunaz. Your electric Aston Martins are great, but they are not for me. I prefer to have an original car, one that I can take out again and again and use to find roads I have never driven before, roads that challenge me to create a syncopated sounds from a collection of pistons, valves, crankshafts, and camshafts dance to the tune dictated by my right foot.

Some will disagree and that is your right. But for me, Robert Frost’s words sum it up best. “Two roads diverged in a yellow forest, and I? I took the less traveled one by. And it has made all the difference. ”

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