By on December 6, 2018

Image: Aston Martin

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer isn’t very trusting of his government’s plan to ban all internal combustion vehicles by 2040. The 55-year-old Brit had a few things to say about the UK’s intentions last year, none of them very kind to policy makers.

Since then, it seems he’s grown even more concerned about the legions of old Astons prowling the carriageways of his fair country. With this in mind, the automaker developed a way to “future-proof” emissions-spewing classics and keep them from becoming illicit Red Barchettas sought out by agents of a puritan superstate. You’ll have to hand over your inline-six or V8 first, but don’t worry — you can put it back.

Aston Martin calls it a “reversible EV powertrain conversion” and has applied it to a 1970 DB6 MkII Volante for demonstration purposes.

Image: Aston Martin

Expected to be offered by Aston Martin Works, the Heritage EV conversion employs a powertrain “cassette” developed using components from the brand’s Rapide E program. Old engine and tranny out; battery pack, drive motor and single-speed gearbox in. Should an owner choose to revert back to the old powertrain, Aston Martin Works will strip out the new gear and reinstall the old.

The automaker sees the conversion as a way “to mitigate any future legislation to restrict the use of classic cars.” It’s also a way to collect new revenue from vehicles sold decades ago while making use of components already developed for a very pricey upcoming model that’s limited to 155 examples.

Image: Aston Martin

While Aston Martin doesn’t go into great detail when describing the conversion, it does provide a synopsis: “Sitting on the original engine and gearbox mountings, the cassette is enclosed within its own self-contained cell. Umbilical cords from the power unit then feed the car’s electrical systems. Power management is operated via a dedicated screen, which is discreetly fitted to the car’s interior.”

Specs relating to range, power, and battery size were not provided.

If the program reminds the reader of a similar offer from Jaguar for old E-Types, you’re not alone. The Brits seem very antsy about the government taking people’s cars (and very interested in showing you what they can do with battery electric technology).

For an undetermined price, a future free of government busybodies can be yours. Conversions begin in 2019, the company claims.

Image: Aston Martin

[Images: Aston Martin]

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23 Comments on “The Government’s Coming for Your Classic Car, but They Can’t Take It All: Aston Martin CEO...”

  • avatar

    Well, for starters, the government can say it wants to ban all ICE cars, but actually banning them is another matter entirely. My bet’s on “not happening.”

    But an electric Aston would be cool.

    • 0 avatar

      They should pass a law against volcanic eruptions; that would mitigate CO2 emissions better.

      • 0 avatar

        You know, for years the “experts” warned me that unless I started taking care of myself, I’d develop serious issues. I blew them off with quips like the one you made. Then – lo and behold! – I developed serious issues. I’ve spent almost three years fixing them. And you know what? Every day I regret not doing that 20 years ago, because the way I live now is about 1,223% better than the way I lived before.

        The environment is no different, really. Either we take care of it, or it’s going to cause us issues. We can either decide to fix them, or not. It’s our call.

        Having said that…forced electrification is a silly idea. It’s not going to work. Better to encourage it, and more importantly, encourage the tech that will enable electrification to happen.

    • 0 avatar

      Why not? We’re talking about a time scale about 37 years from now, at time at which point EV powertrains will have matured tremendously, from both technological and economical standpoints. They don’t have to confiscate vehicles, all they have to do is progressively restrict owners from registering them for public use and/or refuse to certify them for sale by the OEMs.

      I can easily conceive of this process beginning in 2045 (or some other arbitrary amount of time before full restriction is in place) and progressively restrict registration/sale of fossil fuel vehicles based on some metric or another until EV’s are all that’s left. I can also conceive of there being room in such legislation for classic/historic vehicles to survive and thrive.

      That said, I still love this concept by Aston Martin. I endorse Mr. Palmer’s paranoia.

      • 0 avatar

        If EVs are amazing and economical and superior to ICE vehicles and have widespread adoption then there shouldn’t be any need to issue bans or registration restrictions. All you’re doing at that point is penalizing hobbyists.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m not inclined to disagree with your market-based approach, but the writing on the wall globally is that this shift will be government-driven to a large extent.

      • 0 avatar

        “They don’t have to confiscate vehicles, all they have to do is progressively restrict owners from registering them for public use and/or refuse to certify them for sale by the OEMs.”

        And that boils down to the government telling millions of people who need a vehicle that they spent a ton of money on to do silly stuff like earn a living that they can’t use it anymore. You kidding? People will lose their s**t, and at a minimum, they’ll vote out the government.

        That’s why I say: not happening. Better to encourage it.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Here’s a better idea: All automakers based in the U.K. should announce they plan to relocate operations – and jobs – to the U.S. or Canada. Then the British government won’t have to worry about those pesky ICEs.

  • avatar

    They’ll have to pry my ICE car from my cold, dead, hands

    It’s good to be an American :)

    • 0 avatar

      There’s an amendment for that! Which is the real reason globalists want to replace the population with people who find our value aberrant. This is the hill I’ll gladly die on though.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Hopefully the utopian car-grabbers are smart enough to take a hint from what’s going on in France right now. If the French will riot over a ridiculously high gas tax, what will happen in the United States – a country with more than 10 million legally owned AR-15s, and God knows how many more illegally owned – if the government says “no more ICE cars or trucks”?

  • avatar

    Silly Aston Martin. Don’t they realize that we liberals aren’t worried about owners converting their vehicles back to ICE, because the mind control chips we’re going to be implanting in people’s crania will stop them from wanting to do so in the first place?

  • avatar

    So I assume this conversion includes electric power steering or manual? (Just shuddering at the lack of feel in most electric power steering systems.)

  • avatar

    Part of the fun of old cars is the old mechanics. Worse for me adding a heavy battery pack to 1965 Elan would ruin all the fun.

  • avatar

    As noted in last week’s Autoextremist ‘One The Table’ section, economics, even more then the environment, is driving the adoption of electric vehicles.

    The battery pack remains the stumbling block. Cost, range and ease/speed of charging. The electric motor itself is easier and cheaper to build than an ICE.

    I wish NASCAR would go electric in one of its series. I’d bet the above hurdles would be overcome far more quickly if you have the likes of Hendrick and Roush/Fenway working on them.

  • avatar


  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Hybrids are where it’s at. EVs are just sh!tt!ing upstream. I need a truck with a motor at each wheel, containing a battery pack capable of being charged by a small onboard Diesel engine. Even better if said engine had direct drive to the rear axle. Hell, replace the pumpkin with a two-hole oil-burner that can assist the motors; charge the battery; and actually motivate my dream truck.

  • avatar

    The prescience of Rush’s “Red Barchetta” never ceases to amaze me. Not only that, but it’s a killer tune.

  • avatar

    Why not electrify the horrible 80s Lagondas that never worked right, instead? Replace those perpetually malfunctioning electronic gauges with touchscreens, replace that pig of a powertrain with a mighty electric motor. The car always looked futuristic; now it could act like it too.

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