The Government's Coming for Your Classic Car, but They Can't Take It All: Aston Martin CEO

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the government s coming for your classic car but they can t take it all aston

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.

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.

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.

[Images: Aston Martin]

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2 of 23 comments
  • Jfb43 Jfb43 on Dec 07, 2018

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

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Dec 08, 2018

    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.

  • Cprescott The good news is replacement sheet metal and parts are easily found. Would make a nice restoration project even if it is not the most desirable model. I love black cars with red interiors!
  • Cprescott Jim Farley and the Fire Starters. Perhaps he should throw his wig into the fire!
  • MaintenanceCosts Seems like a decent candidate for someone who wants to restore a Mustang. The year/configuration/body style combination is pretty desirable; only a 4-speed would make it better, although there are complete kits to make the conversion. The great thing about early Mustangs is that every single part is readily available from somewhere.
  • Dukeisduke It's in better shape than the '69 coupe that Mike Finnegan bought, that's in the latest episode of Roadkill.
  • Spookiness Friends have a new PHEV of this and like it a lot. It's an interesting dark green color.