No matter how technologically advanced and convenient our day-to-day life becomes, there are always plenty of people who insist that modern life simply can't compare to “the good old days”. While many will insist that type of thinking comes from looking at the past with nostalgic rose-colored glasses, it's a sentiment that’s easy to agree with after an afternoon spent at a classic car show.
When it comes to automobiles, there's no question: They don't make 'em like they used to. The bold designs, the gorgeous chrome, sturdy materials and spacious interiors simply make vintage cars far more fun to drive than, say, the practical yet oh-so-bland Toyota Motor Corp (TM) Prius.
Yet, for even the most fervent gear head, the gas guzzling nature of those land-boats of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s can have a devastating toll on both the pocketbook and the environment. That's where e-Drive Retro is looking to make their mark.
e-Drive Retro is an Estonian electric car conversion company that's dedicated to retrofitting classic cars with a sustainable, electric components, thereby extending the life of some of the most iconic automobiles, and introducing old-school automobile craftsmanship to a new generation.
Here's what e-Drive Retro CEO Michael M. Richardson had to say about the company at the Technology '15 convention in Helsinki, Finland:
Richardson's enthusiasm is palpable, but it does leave me wondering...
How Exactly Does e-Drive Retro Work?
e-Drive Retro utilizes a five step process to retrofit classic cars. This process includes:
Identifying basic restoration needed to ensure a car is, in e-Drive Retro's words, “retrofit ready”
Removing original gas engine drivetrain and all related components – This includes removal of the engine, transmission, fuel tank, fuel and water lines radiator, battery, etc.
Taking a 3D scan of areas on the car that are needed to properly fit each e-Drive component.
Installation and fitting of the new e-Drive System – This includes 3D printing and CNC fabrication of complex parts for precision, and vehicle modifications made via CAD design.
Test Drive and Tuning
From what I can see, the thinking behind the e-Drive Retro plan is to combine the best of today's high-tech, environmentally conscious engineering with the outrageously stylish fenders, spoilers and curves that make classic cars of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s so much more memorable than the (literally) assembly-line product that pass for automobiles today. Of course, whether they're able to succeed remains to be seen – and is likely dependent on how cost-effective their restoration process truly is, and perhaps more importantly for classic car collectors, how well they can replicate the feel of the original petroleum-based drive experience.
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