Electrified: The Future of the Classic Car and Hot Rod World

This may just look like a restored vintage T-bird, but in reality it is High Voltage Hot Rods' Electric Regal T-Bird conversion.

When it comes to hot rods and classic cars, chances are you think of their power coming from traditional engines, like Chevy 427s and 350s, or Ford Flathead V-8s. But if you’re looking to have a vintage vehicle customized by High Voltage Hot Rods, you’ll have to get over those ideas, according to The Palm Beach Post. That’s because this performance car business focuses their efforts in a non-traditional way- converting vintage cars and replicas into electric vehicles. It may be unconventional but also a look into the future, and if business partners Andrew McClary, Brant Cohen and Alex Berry can attest to anything, it’s that their conversions could give a lot of rodders more bang for their buck in the future.

Image: Gary Coronado The Palm Beach Post

Based in Boca Raton, Florida, High Voltage Hot Rods runs along side Brandt Automotive. But while both business ventures share an address, High Voltage Hot Rod goes beyond the tune-ups, timing belt replacements and air conditioning checks that Brandt Automotive offers.

While in the beginning, electric cars were shunned in the industry, they are now becoming more and more accepted, especially among those customers concerned about gas mileage and their impact on the environment, and the future generations.

Many manufacturers, including domestic brands, now offer at least some form of hybrid, alternative-fuel or electric vehicle. The only problem is, most of these vehicles lack the wow factor found in vintage hot rods, musclecars and modern performance cars- a problem that High Voltage Hot Rods has set out to resolve.

Built and perfected over four years, McClary’s personal electric 1968 GT-40 replica has stood as inspiration and proof of High Voltage Hot Rods’ vision. Drawing inspiration from the Tesla Roadster, McClary’s idea for the re-branded EVGT-40 was to create an electric vehicle using parts right off the shelf that could be easily serviced. The result is a daily driver, which contains 54 batteries and a total of 180 volts of power for the long-time gearhead.

But what happens if you want something other than a vintage GT-40 replica “electrified?” Well, you’re in luck because High Voltage Hot Rods can convert cars like classic (or replica) Cobras, Corvairs and even Thunderbirds. Other vintage customs could also see electric motor swaps as well, depending on customer requests. Currently, the facility has requests for at least a half-dozen Corvair conversions.

And just because these cars will be electric doesn’t mean they won’t be powerful. In fact, performance is one of many things High Voltage Hot Rods focuses on for its conversions, with many converted vehicles capable of going from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.  

With that in mind, High Voltage Hot Rods replaces any customers’ car engine with an electric motor, strapping it to an electric drivetrain, which is built in-house. Just one lithium battery pack, with a cost of $10,000, will last the converted vehicles about 10 years, with each charge lasting about 120 miles and costing the owner just $3.

Conversions for the cars can run from $20,000 to $30,000, but in the long run, it could help save thousands of dollars in gas each year. Plus, the electric conversions don’t need tune-ups or oil changes to stay in working order, so money is saved there as well. The electric conversions also offer a cleaner driving experience, reducing noise and body vibrations considerably.  

With a clear vision in mind, the partners at High Voltage Hot Rods are also working on a 13-part television series (check out the teaser below), which they plan to have air on a major network this spring. The guys are also looking to have an increased demand for their conversions and sell specialized conversion kits for classic vehicles in the future.

About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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