Hot rodders get a bad rap as dinosaurs and are reluctant to change. They will hold onto your pushrods and carburetors until they die, they say. While that may be true for some, true hot rodders only care about going as fast as possible, often as cheaply as possible, and will do so by whatever means necessary. Weather our charging infrastructure still has a long way to go, the fast technology is already well proven.
So when Holley announced that she would be launching an electric counterpart to her already very successful series of events known as LS Fest, Ford Fest, and Moparty, it seemed like a no-brainer. Speed demons are all cut from the same fabric, after all.
(Full disclosure: Holley invited me to attend the High Voltage Fest and provided me with tickets. I paid for my own travel and accommodation. Holley-owned AEM EV is a sponsor of Autopia 2099, the electric car fair that I co-founded).
The current state of the electric car hot rodding world has got me excited. There are dragsters, aerodynamics, drifters, mountaineers, and more speed than you can move. Seeing most of it assembled in one place just got my blood pumping so hard. It was an incredible gathering of some of the most influential and fastest electric vehicles in the world. Not only did YouTube’s EV celebrities put out some cars (like the Tesla off-road Grind Hard x Rich Rebuilds, or Simone Giertz’s Cheese Louise), but even the greats like Ford brought out their electric race cars.
I’m a fan of everything Porsche, so getting up close and personal with Bisimoto’s 935 Electric Shift Replica was a special treat. This thing is so fucking cool. Not only does it look like part of the Le Mans-winning 911 variant, but it’s also vastly faster than that fire-breathing wild beast ever was. I’d really love the chance to show that the electric version could do a faster lap at La Sarthe than when a 935 won the 24 Hours in 1979.
So wickedly cool.
Speaking of Porsche, APR is apparently working on something for the Taycan. This already fast car didn’t seem to have much more to the mix than a Finspeed wheelset, but it looked super cool. Maybe they’re trying to figure out how to unlock even more power from the already blazing-fast Porsche.
And as the owner of a 986 Boxster, I was drawn to this Tesla-traded unit. This father and son build was bought with a cast engine for three thousand a few years ago. While they have blown up some of their own electric motors in the process, the car is now stable and ready to go. Something like 90 miles of range and a lot more power than a 986 ever offered makes for an attractive package.
the Revolt Systems’ streamliner recently broke the electric ground speed record in Bonneville with a pair of Tesla engines dangling from the back. This is a really impressive machine. The car has been running since the 1950s on a gasoline engine, but it posted its best time on electric power. That is shocking!
Jacob Graham, a friend of mine and a local Reno-ite, recently finished his AC / DMC project and took it out for display at the event. This car used to be the infamous “World’s Fastest DeLorean” but now it’s powered by a much more reliable Nissan Leaf engine that has pumped up to 300 kW (around 402 horsepower). Whips, as the children say.
ThreeThe one-day festival was based on Sonoma Raceway and included a wine country tour on Friday, autocross, drifting, drag racing, and an all-electric track day over the weekend. No matter what your car was good at, there were plenty of opportunities to get it out and flex its electrical force.
While the event was not as well attended or populated by wild monsters as something like LS Fest, it is clear that this year High Voltage Fest is just the first in a long line of High Voltage Fests to come. As more electric cars are sold, there are more opportunities to find batteries, motors, and controllers in America’s junkyards. Those corpses will be there for hot rodders to pick up and make into the future of hot rodding.
Hot rodding in the 1950s era exactly the same as today. Get a big engine out of a big sedan, put it in something small, and go ridiculously fast. It’s the same as always. And who better to drive the future of hot rodding into the electric space than Holley, a company that has been at the center of it from the beginning. Holley has been making carburettors since the 1890s and has pushed performance limits for decades. About twenty years ago he discovered aftermarket fuel injection for hot rodding applications. Now, changing with speed trends, the company is investing in electrical interchange and control technology.
Go with the flow or drift down the overwhelming river of electric speed.