Is a classic car still ‘classic’ if it’s converted to electric?

By topgear, 20 October 2019

Ever heard of FIVA? That’s the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens, or international federation of historic vehicles, and it’s just launched a blistering attack on the growing scene of converting classic cars to run on electricity.

That’s projects like the Aston Martin Works DB4 Electric, or Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero. FIVA is not happy about it. Not happy at all.

In an official statement, the body, which is like the RSPCA but for old cars, says: “An increasing number of commercial outfits are offering to convert historic vehicles to run on electric power, replacing the entire drivetrain with an electric unit and batteries.

“Conversion of historic vehicles from their original internal combustion engines to electric power doesn’t comply with the FIVA definition of a historic vehicle, nor does it support the goal of preserving historic vehicles and their related culture. In FIVA’s view, vehicles so converted cease to be historic vehicles, unless they are subject only to ‘in period’ changes.”

Ouch. FIVA classifies any car that’s over 30 years old, historically correct (no 250 GTOs with flames painted down the side, please) and not used daily as a ‘historic’ vehicle.

And lo, it has decreed that, while it understands why owners may want to make their pride and joy more eco-friendly, “any owner, motor engineer or manufacturer chooses to make such conversions to a historic vehicle, FIVA would strongly recommend that any changes are reversible, with all the original components marked and safely stored. In this way, the vehicle may – if so desired in the future – be returned to its original state and may once again become a historic vehicle.”

Funnily enough, just about every EV conversion we’ve brought you news of, from Aston to Jag to Mini, VW camper vans and and beyond, has been at pains to point out that the conversions are totally and easily reversible. Which makes this a bit of a storm in a teacup, really. What say you, internet experts?

STORY Ollie Kew

Related Articles