Sir Alec Issigonis was one bright spark and now others are taking this design into the future with the addition of battery powering our beloved classics.
Classic car experiences are so visceral. The feel of that aged interior, the sweet sound of that petrol engine and the faint smell of oil being burnt as you twist and turn through the countryside. What if some of those senses were taken away? Would you still feel the nostalgia? It’s not all about the feel for the driver though; we have the countryside to consider too. Going green has been on the motoring agenda for years and manufacturers are being given incentives to produce green, efficient models within their range. It’s been a slow start but now the tech is there, an electric car boom is upon us.
It wasn’t before long that people realised that now we have affordable battery power, we can apply this to classic cars and retrofit a system that takes our oil burning, petrol engined cars and make them greener. At the London classic car show there were a few stands displaying this innovation and demonstrating to us that a classic Mini or Fiat 500 could easily be converted to run on batteries. Sounds perfect right...no more greasy hands fixing the engine and unlimited driving pleasure knowing that mother nature is giving you the thumbs up as you blast through the country lanes.
But let’s not get carried away just yet. Playing devils advocate, there’s a lot to consider as a possible downside. Firstly, what happens to the old engine? Classic cars are valued on originality. Removing the engine, would seriously affect its value from an investment point of view. Then there’s the question of that visceral feel. No engine sound, no sweet noise from that engine chugging away. Yes it feels selfish to mention, but let’s be honest. The reason why we are drawn to vintage motoring so much is because of this very feel we get that modern cars just don’t possess. Many who own classic cars only use them rarely, when the weather suits and in this country it’s not a lot of the time. So is it really that bad to enjoy a petrol classic once in a while? On the upside, the advance of retrofitting these systems is that maybe you can enjoy your classic more often given that oil changes and a degree in mechanics are no longer needed.
It’s an interesting debate and whilst we fully support electric vehicles for day to day use, would enjoying a classic car once in a while really need a battery too? We would love to hear your thoughts.