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They'll turn your gas guzzler into an EV. But be prepared to wait

Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Automotive News

For example, "this Corvette is fiberglass," Bream said of Hawk's car. "You don't want to cut it. You don't want to alter it. You want to keep it as original as absolutely possible."

Bream said company engineers and technicians used a bolt-in assembly housing a Tesla Model S motor for part of the installation.

"This way you can also reconvert back to combustion," he said. "It's important that we keep the conversions reversible. So we haven't taken any value out of the car."

Customers seeking a conversion at EV West have an initial decision to make. One choice is to get a hot rod conversion, like the one for Hawk's car.

"We've pulled the whole rear end out. We're doing a bunch of different things in the front of the car. We swap out the whole drivetrain," Bream said.

"But the majority of what we do is a classic car conversion," which sharply limits the amount of new components and preserves as much of the original as possible, he said, using a 1969 Karmann Ghia as an example.


"The majority of the drivetrain in this car is going to be original, like the clutch system, the gear shift, so you can still downshift," Bream said. "We do that for a lot of customers who want to keep as much of the original platform as possible."

Bream is a guy who is hard to pin down. He drives an EV and has solar panels on the shop's roof and enough storage batteries inside that he generates more power than his business needs, but don't call him an environmentalist. Putting EVs on the road is a secondary or maybe even a tertiary effect.

"I care for the environment. But I'm a hotrodder, and I'm the son of a hotrodder," Bream said. "We're not environmentalists. We're here to save the cars.

"I can't front as an environmentalist when we're still out back doing 200-foot-long burnouts. If we're environmentalists, then I'm telling my customer what to do. We're just going to leave the candy bowl out on the table and let people dip in for their own reasons."


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