By Nick Licata – Photography by Tommy Lee Byrd
Apparently, that reoccurring subject of electric-powered muscle cars is a hot topic these days. Case in point was at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, a certain high-profile yellow ’57 Chevy showed up with an electric motor underhood. Needless to say, that didn’t go over very well with the majority of muscle car enthusiast who have been following that magazine project car for decades, as they voiced their displeasure rather loudly on social media. Many of the comments were brutally honest and even more were just plain brutal. Most were upset to see an iconic muscle car known for having robust power surprisingly morph into a spokesmodel for EV power—and not much at that.
By the way… did you see this? Firing Up – 2021 HRIA Business of the year
For those who have been playing with cars and reading automotive magazines for years might remember the early to mid-’70s when the sky fell on everything muscle car related due to the gas crunch of the era, which sent fuel prices to the moon. So, how did the magazines respond? By doing articles on how to get more horsepower from your ’70s-era Vega or Pinto. Suddenly there was a plethora of information on how to get more horsepower out of your four-banger, including head-porting and just about every bolt-on you could imagine.
Most readers just glazed over those articles and did what any red-blooded hot rodder would do: Move forward with V-8 swapping their econobox. It didn’t really matter that the magazines continued to cover how to get more ponies from their half-sized engines, these guys were more interested in shoehorning bigger cubic inches where smaller cubic inches once resided.
So today, as we stare down the latest attempt of power diversification for our muscle cars, this too is likely to fall on deaf ears, as muscle car guys gonna muscle. They’ll continue powering their vintage hot rods with fuel-burning big-block, small-block, LS, and LT engines. And like I mentioned in a previous editorial, I’m not against introducing alternative power into our muscle cars, as change and evolution are what makes this hobby interesting and ensures its growth. I just don’t see many muscle car guys/gals looking to swap their LS for EV.
Here’s a great LS swap article: SO YOU WANT TO DO AN LS SWAP…
Looking back at all the car shows and events I’ve attended, it’s always the most belligerent-sounding rides that get the lion’s share of attention. And if those cars look as good as they sound, then that just validates the car’s street cred. Those are the cars that scar the minds of up-and-coming hot rodders who, in turn, hold onto memory for years and apply it to their own projects down the road.
Influence is what keeps this hobby going strong, and good old-fashioned, obnoxious-sounding horsepower is a good influence if you ask me.