Removal of original combustion engine threatens status of historically significant vehicles
Felix Page Autocar writer
18 October 2019

A leading body has spoken out against the widespread electrification of classic cars, stating that removing a vehicle’s original powertrain renders it no longer ‘historic’. 

The Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) has issued a statement, in which it states that it “cannot promote, to owners or regulators, the use of modern EV components to replace a historic vehicle’s drivetrain”. 

The announcement comes following a recent flurry of electrified classic vehicle unveilings from newly launched independent firms, including Lunaz and Swindon Powertrain, as well as a host of manufacturer-backed efforts such as Jaguar’s E-Type Zero, Volkswagen's new e-Kafer and the Renault 4 e-Plein Air

Silverstone-based Lunaz issued a response to the FIVA statement, saying "as an industry and as a collective, we must respond to a changing world," and that "offering an electric powertrain solution to those that desire it will ensure the cars we love remain a relevant and present proposition for many years to come.”

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FIVA acknowledges the benefits of electrification in the classic vehicle sector, calling attention to likely enhanced performance and compliance with modern emissions legislation, but recommends that any modifications are reversible, so the vehicle can be returned to fully original specification. 

Removal of a historic vehicle’s combustion-fuelled powertrain does not, says the organisation, “comply with FIVA definition of a historic vehicle, nor does it support the goal of preserving historic vehicles and their related culture”.

It adds: “In FIVA’s view, vehicles so converted cease to be historic vehicles, unless they are subject only to ‘in period’ changes.” 

A historic vehicle is defined by FIVA as one that is at least 30 years old, preserved and maintained in a historically correct condition, not used as a means of daily transport and that is part of our technical and cultural heritage.

Tiddo Bresters, vice-president of FIVA’s legislation department, said: “It is not, in our opinion, the shape or bodystyle of a vehicle that makes it ‘historic’, but the way in which the entire vehicle has been constructed and manufactured in its original form.

“Hence if 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.”

Aston Martin’s Works division offers an electrification service for the firm’s historic models, an example of which Autocar recently drove in the form of a 1970 DB6 Mk2 Volante, with an emphasis on being able to reinstate the car’s original straight-six motor. 

Read more

Swindon Powertrain creates compact ‘crate’ electric motor​

Electrified Aston Martin DB6: driving a future-proof classic​

Silverstone start-up Lunaz to electrify British classic cars

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Comments
31

18 October 2019
Never heard of fiva, but does it really matter what their opinion is? If an owner wants to modify their classic/historic car then surely it's up to them, many have other mods to brakes and ignition systems etc so why not electrify them as well. Sounds like snobbery to me.
And why they consider a car not historic if it is being used as a daily runner I don't know.

289

18 October 2019

The fact that you have never heard of FIVA says it all Si.

Modifications to aid reliability do not (within reason) cause the destruction of a classic vehicle.

18 October 2019
289 wrote:

The fact that you have never heard of FIVA says it all Si.

Modifications to aid reliability do not (within reason) cause the destruction of a classic vehicle.

Having not heard of fiva says it all? Says what? They don't crop up in any of the classic car books or magazines I read, maybe it's because the classics I read about are affordable and not on their radar? But an electrified mgb or midget would be of interest, there are plenty of original cars in original condition out there but to slam people for doing what they want to their property in order to make greater use of it seems ridiculous to me.
I ran a 32 year old 924 which is a classic but not defined as such by fiva as I used it daily? Nonsense.

18 October 2019
It's ironic that I would defend electrifying as personally prefer cars to be standard hence why I have reverted my 95 na mx5 back to standard, but I do feel it is up to owners if they want to modify their cars, personal preference is just that, look at the singer 911s etc

bol

18 October 2019

So a few antiques that hardly ever get driven should probably keep their original engines for reasons of historical interest. For the rest of us electrification will mean we can continue to drive the cars we love with a relatively clear conscience into our dotage. 

18 October 2019

So we have cars on the road with electric powertrains or we have original cars sat in collections with people saying "When we had petrol, these actually moved..."  I know which I'd rather have.

289

18 October 2019

That is BS Deputy.

There will always be petrol available or a chemical equivalent....certainly beyond the reasonable life of classic cars.

I applaud FIVA (for once), if the car is not essentially the car as manufactured, then any special permissions/rights/privileges should be lost.

Is a Rolex watch still a Rolex watch with a cheap electric Casio movement?

 

Replacing the drive train in a 'classic car' is an act of vandalism...period. The benefits of this are so small as to be incalcuable.

Its a rich persons indulgence with no care for our history.

19 October 2019
289 wrote:

 

Replacing the drive train in a 'classic car' is an act of vandalism...period. The benefits of this are so small as to be incalcuable.

Its a rich persons indulgence with no care for our history.

Owning a car over 30 years old, but keeping it locked away and only driven on special occasions is an act of snobbery and a rich persons indulgence.

They claim that to be classed as a classic, the car has to be over 30 years old and not used as a daily driver.

So effectively a 1960s Beetle in concourse condition locked in a garage is a classic, but a 1960's Beetle thats been around the clock a few times but still in daily use is not - sounds like bollocks to me..  

18 October 2019
As I see it, electrifying a classic car, is no different to fitting a much more modern engine and drive train into a classic car.

If you were to take an e-type Jaguar, and fit the entire engine, gearbox, drive train and brakes from an F-type into it, the car would lose it's classic car status, and lose it MOT & tax free status.

289

18 October 2019

.....correct rephill!

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