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The world’s foremost historic vehicle organisation has weighed into the growing debate over the electrification of classic cars, declaring that such conversions mean they “cease to be historic vehicles”.
The number of electric classics is increasing on a seemingly daily basis, with modifications now available for everything from Aston Martin DB6s to Jaguar E-types and Minis.
But the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) says the trend to replace the drivetrain with electric motors and batteries is not in keeping with its own definition of a historic vehicle.
FIVA is at pains to point out that it isn’t wholly against such conversions and that “all modifications are a matter of personal choice”. However, it feels that its status as “an organisation dedicated to the preservation, protection and promotion of historic vehicles” prevents it from promoting the trend to either owners or regulators.
The organisation, which has more than 85 member organisations across 62 countries and ultimately represents over 1.5m enthusiasts, defines a historic vehicle as ‘a mechanically propelled road vehicle’ that is:
- at least 30 years old
- preserved and maintained in a historically correct condition
- not used as a means of daily transport
- part of our technical and cultural heritage
It therefore concludes that by swapping their original internal combustion engines for electric drivetrains, converted vehicles fail to meet the second clause – and simultaneously fail to support its overall goal of preserving historic vehicles and their related culture.
“It is not, in our opinion, the shape or body style of a vehicle that makes it ‘historic’, but the way in which the entire vehicle has been constructed and manufactured in its original form,” says Tiddo Bresters, FIVA’s Vice President, Legislation.
“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.”
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