Owning a classic car is often described as a sensory experience. From the feel of the leather to the smell of the fuel, it’s the little details that bring these vintage vehicles to life. However, on an industrial estate in Newtown, mid-Wales, the growl of classic cars is being silenced as they undergo a transformation. Richard Morgan, the owner of Electric Classic Cars, is leading the charge in bringing classic cars into the 21st century by replacing their old engines with electric motors.
Located in a workshop that Morgan affectionately calls his “toyshop,” the transformation of classic cars begins. A clear production line is evident as cars have their engines stripped out and move into a fabrication area. Here, a team of fabricators meticulously build bespoke motors for each vehicle, retaining the original elements of the car while integrating the new electric engine. They skillfully weld boxes and supports to fit the electric engine, ensuring a seamless integration that maintains the aesthetic value of these classics.
In their pursuit of a more sustainable future, Electric Classic Cars sources approximately 40% of their batteries from recycled sources. These batteries, primarily from crashed electric cars, are repurposed and given a new life in classic cars. The demand for second-hand EV batteries has become so great that supplies from the UK have been exhausted. While sustainability is a key aspect of their work, Richard Morgan emphasizes that his aim is not solely about saving the planet. Instead, he focuses on giving classic car owners the confidence to use their vehicles as daily drivers.
When Richard first started this venture, he faced criticism for “ruining” classic cars and taking away their soul. However, as electric cars gain popularity, perspectives have shifted. More people are beginning to appreciate the benefits of electric engines, such as their smooth and quiet driving experience. Richard likens the process to modernizing a home, where outdated features are replaced with more contemporary ones to enhance the overall comfort and functionality. While the cost of the conversion can range between £20,000 and £120,000, it is not primarily a cost-saving measure but a long-term investment in future generations’ enjoyment of classic cars.
Despite the growing acceptance of electric conversions in the classic car community, there are still purists who believe that these vehicles should remain in their original state. Jason Mills, founder of Vintage Vehicle Restorations, is one of those skeptics. For him, restoring a classic car with an electric motor goes against the factory specifications and heritage of the vehicle. Many mechanics and enthusiasts share his sentiment, as they value the sound, speed, and overall experience of the old engines.
While the debate between purists and enthusiasts continues, the future-proofing of classic cars through electric conversions offers a new lease on life for these timeless vehicles. By making them cleaner, more reliable, and easier to maintain, these conversions aim to extend the longevity of classic cars and provide owners with a more indulgent driving experience. As the demand for electric cars and environmental sustainability grows, the trend of future-proofing classic cars is likely to gain even more traction, ultimately ensuring that these automotive treasures continue to roam the roads for generations to come.
The future of classic cars is undeniably changing, with electric conversions providing a new perspective on the ownership and enjoyment of these timeless vehicles. The debate between preserving originality and embracing new technology rages on, but as more enthusiasts experience the benefits of electric engines firsthand, the tides are slowly shifting. Whether it be for sustainability, practicality, or sheer enjoyment, the future-proofing of classic cars through electric conversions presents an intriguing option for owners looking to enhance their driving experience while preserving the legacy of these automotive icons.