This Historic Vehicle Association Just Picked The Dumbest Hill To Die On

As more and more shops start bringing classic cars back to life with electric drivetrain swaps, FIVA (the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens or international federation of historic vehicles) realized it was the perfect time to give a garbage opinion that no one asked for. The Torino, Italy-based organization, in what is quite clearly a publicity stunt, “denounced” EV conversions in a statement.

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This statement, which will have no effect whatsoever on anyone cool enough to actually electric-swap an old E-Type or Beetle, is dripping with the kind of high-minded exclusionary bullshit that rots automotive culture from the inside out:

“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.”

In keeping with a longstanding tradition of older generations criticizing something they fundamentally don’t understand, this is absolute nonsense. It represents a historical car organization with the well-intentioned goal of preserving, protecting and promoting classic motoring attempting to project its standards on all enthusiasts and all old cars, regardless of condition.

First off, no one doing EV swaps gives a damn if an organization that uses “hence” in a press release considers their cool project to be “historic.”

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Second, the beauty of something like an EV swap is it often involves a body of a car without a well-maintained drivetrain and a crashed EV drivetrain without a good car surrounding it. You fuse two useless vehicles into one unique and interesting one, preserving the looks of one with the performance of the other.

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Third, their line of reasoning would actually be coherent if they didn’t exclusively target EV conversions with their hamfisted nonsense. While it could be perfectly reasonable to argue that modern components inherently make something not historic, modern internal combustion engines are swapped into old cars all the time. If the organization was only worried about preserving original components, there’d be no reason to specify that electric drivetrains are a problem.

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In truth, EV swapping a Beetle is no worse than LS-swapping an old Defender if your sole concern is the preservation of period correctness. But that’s not the real problem, the real problem is that new enthusiasts aren’t enjoying cars in exactly the same way that older enthusiasts think they should. It’s an argument against kids these days and their damn electric cars, masquerading as a noble crusade to protect history.

Nevermind that this puts old cars back on the road, serves as an entry point to classic car appreciation and is genuinely fun. That can’t be, since letting people enjoy good things doesn’t draw attention to your useless and exclusionary club dead set on never allowing anyone to do anything new.

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About the author

Mack Hogan

Mack Hogan is Jalopnik's Weekend Editor, but you may know him from his role as CNBC's car critic or his brave (and maligned) takes on Twitter. Most people agree that you shouldn't listen to him.