As the electric car became more mainstream, classic car enthusiasts grew more and more worrisome. To owners of classic cars, electrification seemed like a threat to their passion. However, it might actually be electrification that saves the classic car.
More and more governments are beginning to crack down on emissions and tuning their legislation to advance electrification. Because of that, owning a classic car may become untenable for all but the richest of car collectors, due to high emissions taxes. But we’re actually beginning to see more and more electrified classic cars from independent shops that could actually not only save the classic car world but introduce an entirely new way of approaching it.
Some shops and companies have been converting cars like old Rolls-Royces and Jaguars from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s over to electric powertrains and, honestly, it’s awesome. Think about it this way: you get most of the classic car experience; the look, the ride and the feel; while dealing with none of the negatives; the constant maintenance, worry of breaking down and high cost of ownership. Sure, you’ll miss some of the positives of a classic car, such as the noise and the smell, but those are things we’ll likely have to give up to own classic cars in a couple of decades from now.
So which classic Audi might be fun to convert over to electric?
The obvious answer would be to say the Audi Ur Quattro, as it’s the most famous classic Audi by far. And that would be cool, as electric rally cars are quite impressive and very exciting. However, I think the 2.2 liter turbocharged I5 is too much a part of the Ur Quattro’s charm that it can’t be adequately replaced.
So I’m going to go with a slightly less sexy choice and say the B6/B7 Audi S4 .
There’s so much to love about the B6/B7 S4. It looks incredible, it’s very fast, it has a ton of interior space and a practical body style (Avant form), it drives really well and has a great interior. Its biggest downside? Its engine grenades itself after 100,000 miles, leaving owners stuck in the mud with the choice between a very expensive repair bill or having just take the loss on their car.
Replacing that admittedly gorgeous 4.2 liter naturally-aspired V8 with a couple of electric motors would not only keep its power intact (or actually improve it) but it will also give the S4 a massive boost in reliability. So you’d now have a car with all of the benefits of the B7 Audi S4 but with ultra-efficient, much more reliable all-electric powertrain.