Your engine is safe, don’t worry…

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By Chris Pollitt

The automotive world is one that is going through a change at the moment, possibly the most significant change it has ever seen. Yes, I am of course talking about the ever growing popularity of the electric car over the car with a traditional engine. Unfortunately though, this important evolutionary step of the automobile also lines up neatly with the age of social media. This of course means that people around the globe who can’t start a sentence without making some sort of unpleasant guttural noise have cracked their knuckles before hitting their keyboards with fury. As such, there is a lot of opinion out there, and with it, a lot of misinformation. And I would like to encourage you to ignore it. 

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At the face of it, electric cars are a good thing. They’re not here to eclipse our classics though, and the internal combustion engine isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Yet the endless comments in the space of social media are filled with negativity, with misinformation and false opinion stating that we’re not going to be allowed to drive our classics in a few years. Other go so far as to say they’ll be outlawed altogether. These people are, frankly, idiots. The petrol engine is not going anywhere. At least, not in a capacity that will breach our classic car world. 

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When it comes to a brand new, showroom fresh internal combustion engine, yes, the time there is borrowed. In less than a decade, you will no longer be able to go out and buy a car powered by just petrol. You’ll be able to buy a fuel-burner with a hybrid system though, or of course, a fully electric car. This is a good thing. Petrol is a finite resource, and in order for our cars to survive, we need it. So if we can get Mr. and Mrs. Couldntcareaboutcars to drive electric, that’s a good thing. Electric cars are not the enemy of the classic, they are the saviour. 

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But, and here’s the thing, classics will only carry on if we are positive and motivated to make it so. There is too much negativity, too many armchair experts out there who say we’re all going to have our cars taken away from us. They’re be outlawed and sent away to be turned into scrap. These people thrive on negativity, on misery, they have no optimism or hope. They are clouded by a need to bring everyone else down. For the sake of our passion, ignore these people. For classic to survive, we need to keep using them, we need to keep brimming their tanks, we need to keep celebrating them and we need to keep driving them. By doing so, we further cement their position, we help to serve the £5bn industry that supports them, and we encourage the likes of Porsche to go even further with synthetic fuels that one day we might be able to get from the pump. For our classics to survive, and to have a place in the new batter-power world of the car, we need to use them just as we always have done. We need to prove their importance, their industry strength and their ongoing popularity. 

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While this is just my opinion, I’m confident that petrol at the pump isn’t going anywhere anytime some. Yes, the ethanol mixed in is going up, and yes, that’s a problem. But it was a problem when they took lead out of fuel, and what did we do? We all had hardened valve seats fitted. The E10 thing is easier to sort – we just need to change some hoses. Hoses that probably would benefit from being changed anyway. It’s a day’s work, if that. What we do, what we have always done as classic car enthusiasts is – to use the words of Mr. Grylls – improvise, adapt, overcome. So why should the electric revolution change anything? 

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There isn’t a target on our back, there aren’t going to be scrap yards full of mint E Types and Ferrari 250GTOs anytime soon, and the pumps at your local Shell are not about to dry up. Not if we don’t let them. To save the engine, we need to use the engine. That’s all there is to it. Whinging on Facebook about Tesla isn’t going to help anyone. Leave Musk to it, because he hasn’t given your Triumph a single, solitary thought. I can assure you of that. 

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