This Hot Rod Shop Sells Electric Motors Hidden in Classic V8 Blocks

They’ll drop BorgWarner electric motors into small- and big-block V8s, flatheads, Hemis, and even V12s.

byJames Gilboy|
Electric Vehicles photo

Electric motor swaps aren't the kind of thing you would expect to go down well with the hot rod crowd. It's a scene whose pop-cultural sphere doesn't extend far past rockabilly, and falls far short of, say, cyberpunk. Blending in with the crowd in an electric hot rod requires hiding its drivetrain where nobody would expect it, like inside a V8. And that's exactly what Canadian hot rod shop Webb Motorworks will gladly do for you.

Webb, whose pioneering hybrid hot rod work we've previously covered, is hiding EV power inside a far wider range of engine block choices than the likes of General Motors could ever offer. It's slotting BorgWarner motors into not just small-block V8s, but big-blocks, flatheads, Chrysler Hemi-styled blocks, and even a lengthy V12. Being based on existing engines, they're said to install "like a typical gas motor, with some simple wiring."

A lack of sweat on the installer's part, though, doesn't mean lackluster performance, with Webb promising 300 horsepower and the possibility of 564 down the road. Even that lesser amount, Webb says, returns a zero-to-60 mph sprint in as little as 3.0 seconds depending on the recipient vehicle's weight, and 135 to 250 miles of range from an included nickel-manganese-cobalt battery.

Webb's whole kit includes not just the block-shaped motor and battery, of course, but also the full electrical and cooling systems, as well as options for air conditioning, heating, and a sensor compatible with a vehicle's preexisting shifter. Like all boutique EV swaps, the shop behind these lacks the economy of scale to make them cheap, so you have to be comfortable spending big on your big-block EV.

We're talking $50,000 to $70,000 big, and yes, that's the price of a brand-new EV, and not a cheap one. When it comes to cross-shopping a Model Y versus a Model T for a special occasion car, though, there's no question which one will shake, rattle, and roll itself down the road with more style.

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