The idea of transplanting a new age engine into a vintage ride is an open topic for debate in the car hobby.

This concept has been around for many years and started when a pre-war vehicle had its anemic factory engine yanked and replaced by a bigger, nastier engine by first-generation hotrodders.

Jim Sutherland

The engine transplant was considered very controversial or very cool, depending upon your car guy philosophy. Another car guy controversy occurred when a Chevy engine was jammed into a Ford or Chrysler product, but that topic has been discussed in the past on the electronic pages of MyStarCollectorCar–and will undoubtedly arise again in the future–given the active nature of internal combustion engine transplants in today’s car guy world.

However, today we at MyStarCollectorCar want to tackle the raging debate about whether a car guy should rip out an internal combustion engine and shove an electric engine into the gaping cavity. Consequently, we want to rip a page out of the Devil’s Advocate manual and offer some compelling reasons to rip the beating heart of an internal combustion engine out of a perfectly good vintage ride and replace it with a giant slot car motor.

The first reason is you love a good fight because most car guys are not going to endorse seeing an electric motor in an old car. Unless it left the factory with an electric engine during the earliest days of horseless carriages when the jury was still out about steam, electric or gasoline power. Spoiler alert: it was not the first two choices.

Decades of watching the clear winner (gas) dominate the market gave the internal combustion engine a dominant position as the undisputed champion in the automotive field, a crown it still holds–despite the best efforts of green cultists to change the transportation game–and presumably the immutable laws of physics for electrical energy storage.  

The result is people who shove an electric motor into an old car probably enjoy a good fistfight–and may even be good at it–so they will find the pickings are good in this department when they open the old car’s hood in the presence of typical car guys.

The second reason lines up with car guys who choose not to drive their vintage cars because they intend to travel very short distances in them. Some car guys would rather get run over by their old internal combustion engine cars than drive them, but electric motor swappers are hobbled by the fact their soulless Frankenstein’s monster vehicles simply do not go very far between charges, so they have a built-in excuse not to drive them. Gas-powered car jockeys don’t have that lack-of-range excuse.

The third reason is winter is a great equalizer for owners of vintage cars because few car guys will drive their retro vehicles of any sort in the winter, so a vintage car that has been victimized with an electric motor will not have to face the elements and prove another irrefutable physics law about electricity and frigid conditions. More importantly, their owners can hide their shame for several months from autumn until spring, a very long annual time frame in our region just south of Santa Claus.

The fourth reason is electric car owners get to lead a life of illusion about how they are saving the planet with their noble decision to jam an electric motor into an old car. Reality strongly suggests otherwise, but why cloud the issue with facts about the devastating environmental impact caused by the battery recipe to power electric car motors? Or the fact that electric car batteries are not exactly recyclable in the conventional sense of the concept?

The fifth and final reason to wedge an electric motor into an old car is their owners like attention.

Unfortunately, it’s like a grade school class clown kind of attention because it does not matter whether it’s good or bad–it’s attention–and that is all that matters to a class clown or the owner of an old car with a new electric motor.   

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.