As things ebb and flow in the automotive industry and beyond we see things come and go. We see this in fashion, technology and societal views. There is one thing that is always pushing forward and that is technology. Just think. There is more power in your pocket today with a smartphone then the computing power that was used to put a man on the moon, heck just to fly a plane back then.
When cars were first being built there were plenty of both internal combustion engine and electric vehicle makers. But as the technology of the internal combustion engine improved it surpassed the electric vehicles and became the norm. But things change. Now with so many new car companies saying they will be all electric in the near future (BMW as an example ) or they are already, such as Tesla, don’t think that this technology won’t spill into the old car market. It’s already here.
You just have to look around the industry to see the future being put into old vehicles. Look at the fantastic vehicles being built Zelectric Motors. They take a cool old VDub and convert it into an electric machine and have it look cool too. Now it’s not just in the everyday driver. We are seeing this in motorsports as well. From road racing, landspeed and drag racing. Motorsports many times is what pushes the technology farther. They are always looking for ways to reduce weight and shrink components. Oh, and I can’t forget about MORE POWER. All of this will translate into everyday practical uses for modern cars, but don’t think you won’t see it in old hot rods too.
As the technology becomes easy to get and easier to work with you will start to see more and more electric hot rods. Don’t think it won’t I can remember when I was starting out my automotive career as a mechanic and worked for a performance shop. One of the many things we did was fuel injection conversions. In those days you had to have a skilled individual that would tune with a laptop on a dyno or on the road to get your vehicle road worthy. That conversion was not cheap ($3000 to $4000), let alone the technicians time. Now you can buy a kit for right around $1000 and it’s a plug and play. No need for a technician unless you want to tweek the performance of the unit. Another change thanks to technology is how the vehicles are tuned. You had to be on site with the vehicle to tune it. Now the same shop I worked for tunes over the internet. You don’t ever have to leave the shop. I see plenty of fuel injection conversion and modern motors conversions (think LS series motors) in my car show travels.
It won’t just be electric conversions either (in my opinion). The other thing we keep seeing in modern cars are the self-driving feature. They of course are having growing pains currently, but as technology advances these features will become cheap and accessible. Now I know that having a self-driving car for a hot rodder is crazy to most of us, because we love to drive, me included (heck this site is called The Daily Driver Project). Think about this though. You live in SoCal and want to drive to Texas for a show there, but it will take you a couple of days, because you need to sleep which means stopping. Don’t want to stop, engage that aftermarket self-driving feature and get those Zs in. It will happen. Think about the amount of time saved with this type of thing. A technology company will make some sort of aftermarket kit for old cars. You have to look at what’s out there now. Back-up cameras were only in big RV’s and are now common in everyday cars. They were big and bulky and now there is an aftermarket kit that bolts to your license plate. The push of technology.
There will always be the traditionalists that run a carbureted motor in their hot rod. There are always people who are hesitant to adapt to new technology. Heck I know people that still have flip phones and a landline at home. But there are also guys building cool custom cars with tradition chops and whitewalls and an LS between the rails. All of these things are what make hot rodding, hot rodding. People have been modifying vehicles since the first one was built. That is what hot rodding is all about.
Garlits Electric Dragster