QotW: What will happen to classics after the EV revolution?

Automakers, governments, and Elon Musk are all pushing the industry headlong into electric cars. There are pros and cons to EVs, but whether you see them as Betamax or VHS, it doesn’t really matter. The industry seems like it’s headed in that direction and there’s probably no turning back. What we’re here to ask is:

What will happen to classics after the EV revolution?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “How have video games affected your passion for cars?

The answers this week introduced us to several video game titles we’d never heard of but now want very badly to try. F31roger‘s Racing Lagoon, a street racing RPG, is one of them. Nigel brought up Battle Gear 2 and the arcade-only Racing Jam, and any game where you race a Mitsubishi Mirage Cyborg ZR sounds like winner to us. However, this week the winner is Tofu Delivery, who gave a blunt and literal answer to the question. Hopefully these stickers will motivate you to get into the garage.

I played so many of them I don’t work on my real car 🙁

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

This post is filed under: Question of the Week.

22 Responses to QotW: What will happen to classics after the EV revolution?

  1. Fred Langille says:

    Possibly there are two ways this can be seen. First, most likely, the dinosaur burners will be converted to either burn alcohol or waste oils. The choice then is to have an exhaust odor of either french fries or martinis (imagine CHANGING your fuel odor to match your car … could Japanese cars then have an exhaust smell of noodles?!). The second possibility is that the dino remains would ALL go to the electric power plants where they would be converted into “trons” for your electromobile. I actually believe the alky fuel is probably the best … many drag cars use/used it and, it is (to a degree) self-sustaining. Realizing there’s more to this conversion than just rejetting your carburetor (talk about a resurgence of carbs vice fuel injection … depending on which systerm is easier to do). Rejetting and tweaking your fuel system on our antique (by then) rice burners would probably be how we’d be doing it. The only ones with difficulty would be two-strokes, like Subaru 360’s and Messerschmitts, DKWs etc. It will be a combo of all of that and, it will result in a a ball of confusion for all.

  2. Ryan A. says:

    The cars will fare well. The enthusiasts and the community will be utterly ruined.

    Prices for classics will continue to rise at a rapid pace, pricing out younger enthusiasts, turning cars into hard assets, and lessening the passion derived from a love of engineering and freedom.

    The discussions at your local cars and coffee will change. Debates on how to most easily remove an oil filter from an NA Miata will be replaced with which specialty repair shop has the best amenities in their showroom. The guy who lovingly restored an 85 Accord because his grandfather had one? Neither he nor the car will be there, but the guy who bought it will be. He bought that, and six others to add to his portfolio. Interesting conversation about the minutiae that fuels each purchasing decision – gone. Graphs and pricing trends were used instead. The coffee will change, too. It will become cappuccino or something “artisanal”.

    In short, as internal combustion cars become less common, their prices will rise, making them toys and status symbols.

  3. Michael Jue says:

    In 2035, when ICEs are gone and EVs are the only cars in the showroom, I’ll buy a used RZ34 Nismo on Bring A Trailer to go with my by-then 32 year old Z33 and 67 year old Datsun Roadster to look at them in my garage and wax eloquently, “I remember when….” followed by “Get off my lawn!”.

  4. Jeremy A. says:

    They’ll become rarer to see on the roads, but I don’t think they’ll go away. Localities will either have a special registration for them, which allow use of so many miles per year. Or, more likely, they’ll be grandfathered in, but the cost of gasoline, used by fewer and fewer cars every year, will rise not due to the cost of oil, but due to its increasingly niche nature. Classics will increasingly leave the realm of daily drivers and road trippers, and become something you see at shows, briefly at cars and coffee, and maybe, if you’re lucky, on a local ‘drivers road’ working the cobwebs out.

    Of course there are those who will convert their cars to run n alcohol, and other fuels. But overall, I think the ICE and the cars that it powers won’t ever truly go away; You’ll always be able to get gasoline or other combustion fuel. But eventually, I think parts will become a real issue. Unless you drive something iconic, with a strong aftermarket, or with a heritage parts program, I think many owners of classics will keep them garaged due to just not wanting to break any of the increasingly rare parts.

    So, they’ll never totally vanish. They’ll just become more and more like the horse and buggy they replaced; Coming out for special occasions.

  5. dankan says:

    I am fairly sure that most classics will possibly be able to get very, very limited mileage exemptions for a while, but within 5-10 years after the showroom switch is total, the pressure will mount to bad all fossil fuel cars. At that point, if you want to drive your classic, it’ll be a case of removing the power train and fuel system to swap in a battery pack and motor. If you don’t, then you’ll have a very nice sculpture.

    Unless someone comes up with a fossil fuel substitute with literally zero emissions when burned in a motor, and that has not shown any sign of happening, then I cannot see a future where the internal combustion engine has more than a quarter century left, at least in the OECD countries.

    • Alan says:

      You could very well be correct, but why feed the patently false “zero emissions” argument?

      • dankan says:

        Because that is the criteria that I think is going to be used. The entire point of the switch to EVs are the emissions of the vehicles themselves. And all the synthetic/e-fuel ideas in the world that are sustainably created won’t change the fact that if they produce carbon emissions when burned, they won’t get a pass from society to be used.

        I don’t think it is patently false to point out that unless someone creates that, the general public, and the politicians relying on their votes, are not going to let internal combustion engines have a future. Evidence, facts, data and anything else be damned.

        It’s not a happy conclusion, but it’s the only one I see.

        • Alan says:

          I mean that the entire premise of “zero emissions” vehicles, as they currently stand, is false.

          The mining and refinement of the materials used in their batteries is astonishingly toxic, and when most of our electricity comes from burning fuel, we’re simply displacing greenhouse emissions from tailpipes to smokestack.

          • dankan says:

            I don’t disagree with those issues. But the reality is that the public and political elites do not feel that to be the case, and they are basing their choices off a completely different perspective. And I don’t see that perspective changing soon.

    • JJ says:

      Virtually carbon neutral fuel is out there, I’m only hoping that more companies look into this alternative instead of subjecting us to a completely EV future.


      • dankan says:

        It looks interesting, but I am very skeptical it’s going to work at scale and get the political blessing. I’d like to be wrong though.

  6. Alan says:

    If we allow it to happen, government will use electrification as a tool of oppression, seizing automation technology as a means to limit our movement under the pretense of public safety.

    Vintage Internal combustion powered cars will be labeled as dangerous, anti-social, self-indulgent and destructive (we are already seeing this on the periphery), despite the inherent dirtiness of manufacturing and charging EV’s, and the media will collaborate with government and industry to manufacture consent for the further dissolution of our birth freedoms.


  7. Jonathan P. says:

    The two outcomes I see are these:
    1. The industry goes to all EV’s by governmental regulation, and the beloved cars are killed off, or given the Omaze treatment and electrified.
    2. The Auto industry tries to go all electric, it flops, and then are forced to go back to oil and gasoline for a time and we keep our cars for a little while longer.
    It’s like what Captain Barbossa told Captain Jack: “There’s never a guarantee of comin’ back, but passing on, that’s dead certain.”

    I am saddened deeply by this reality that stares me in the face. I only really have a window looking back at what many consider to be the golden years of the car, and also specifically, the Japanese car. Still being fairly wet behind the ears when it comes to my local car community, and cars in general.
    I know for a fact that this will be the death of an age, and I let it slip me by. I missed it. My lovely Z may wind up rotting in some garage because I’m too stubborn to supplant her VG30E for an electric motor. Sorry for the rambling.

  8. Sean G. says:

    Pretty sure the lyrics of Rush’s “Red Barchetta” will come to fruition. A younger generation will have to experience the thrill of gasoline powered horsepower with the help of an older generation.

  9. daniel says:

    well… maybe it’s time to look at diesel options. refine your own fuel as an option although you always need (from what I understand) a percentage of fossil fuel. It will also be necessary to look at some hybridization option for the classics, a small pack of batteries and electric motors to replace the rear bells (damn my idea of ​​​​placing brake discs in the back!) all trying to alter as little as possible to a classic. with a very low emission level in the city (even a few kilometers in electric mode) circulation could surely be exempted. at the end of the day it is to make a mild hybrid. but the other extreme for good is to look at the work of Jhonatan Ward/ICON who is creating a legacy of information and know-how of many classics. today there are already kits to electrify vw beetle and some more. It will also be a matter of thinking about the option of having two identical classics but with two different propulsions. At the end of the day what we enjoy is driving them and it will be in developing the way that it feels “real” in terms of combustion but in an electrical way.

  10. daniel says:

    could you check the page for android? try from android and it does not allow me to post.

  11. Socarboy says:

    IMHO I really believe the HFCV (hydrogen fuel cell vehicle) will ultimately win out over the EV (electric vehicle). Commercial trucking is already embracing HFCV over EV and I think 10 years from now we’ll have our answer

  12. Lakdasa says:

    Simple, they will just live on.

    So many classics are being converted to Electric just to keep them on the road. For sure any owner of a classic will have a main car (or two) in his garage and he will have a lot of disposable income in hand to maintain the classics. Unless he/she is a purist they will go with the trend and convert them to Electric for two reasons
    1. scarcity of fossil fuel.
    2. go with the trend, EV’s would be social statement that they would not want to do without.

  13. f31roger says:

    For me… I don’t mind converting to EV just so I can keep my cars.

    I know the drag coefficiency of a 90s car isn’t aerodynamic as nowadays, but at least I get to keep my styling.

  14. crank_case says:

    What happened to Steam engines?

    With enough dedicated nutters, you can keep things running.

  15. Robin says:

    I can only sit here in South Africa and Laugh.

    Anyone hear of a thing called “loadshedding”?!
    Ofcourse not, you would have to be living in our beautiful country to experience this unique occurrence (man-made obviously) that happens for approximately 5 to 6 hours a day.

    I hear you ask, what has this got to do with the topic? Bare with me I promise you will be entertained.

    I live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world (according to people and surveys) and as a Japanese Vintage Automobile enthusiast South Africa has many unmolested examples still being used as daily drivers or as weekend cruisers.

    We are also a country that is Toyota crazy, from farmers that cant get enough of the reliable Hilux to informal taxi drivers that simply love their trustworthy Cressidas and lets not forget about the mini-bus taxi owners who would drive the wheels off (literally) of their Hi-aces.

    So picture painted we love a reliable Japanese car, there are about 3 Nissan Leafs in my city and a few EV’s starting to appear but they do have to amazing planning skills…

    We all have an app that has an Electricity time schedule or a loadshedding schedule, this is our government’s idea of cutting supply to certain areas throughout the day in order to take the load off of the power grid (this is best i can explain it) and this can be 30mins at a time to 4 hours at a time.

    Now imagine you just sat in a 2 hour traffic jam and you get home to loadshedding with your EV thats almost run down.

    So the future for EV’s in SA will struggle to take off, and is our government going to fix this issue? It’s been 15 years that we have had this “loadshedding” and we dont see a solution coming through any time soon.

    This is good for us with internal combustion engines, if any of you want to move here to drive your Nostalgic vehicles for way longer than the rest of the world then by all means.

    However bring the following:
    Torch, gas powered stove, patience and a sense of humour because this sh!t is funny.

    Maybe i will be the envy of this site in 20 to 30 years time when i can drive my JNC on the road without any restrictions or complications…

    anyway have to submit this post quick before the electricity shuts off

  16. RainMeister says:

    First, the notion that the government will ban our classics is silly and extreme. Horses weren’t banned with the introduction of motorized vehicles; they just faded from use as a superior form of mass mobility took over.

    To the extent emissions regulations continue to be tightened, California state smog requirements already exempt vehicles 1975 and older. That exemption is not going away, and is a major reason collectors are able to keep older classics on the road. Same with the Federal regulatory exemptions on imports of vehicles 25 years and older.

    The greater challenge for older car owners always has been and will continue to be about the availability of spare parts and knowledgeable mechanics to service them as they retire and die off. The more modern cars controlled by unrepairable CPUs and electronics will also become increasingly difficult to maintain, as replacement microchips become unobtainable. I predict those cars will become less desirable at some point, unless you just wanted a static display.

    As EVs take hold, the number of gas stations will decline along with the population of gas powered cars. That means collectors will need to increasingly hunt for places to gas up, just like some of us have had to do to locate stations offering high octane gas. The more wealthy collectors will simply install a storage tank on their property and have it replenished with fuel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *