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‘Future-proofing’ a classic or ‘taking away its soul’: Ferraris enter 21st century with electric engines | Climate News

Owning a classic car is a sensory experience.

Purists say it’s the feel of the leather, the smell of the fuel, the growl of the engine that brings a classic car to life.

But on an industrial estate in Newtown, mid-Wales, that growl is silenced.

Three Ferrari Testa Rossas, a Maserati Ghibli and a Land Rover are all getting their old engines ripped out and electric motors put in.

CARROLL CLASSIC EVS STILLS FERRARI TESTA ROSSAS_frame_916_MCR56
Image:
Ferrari Testa Rossas at the Electric Classic Cars plant

At this workshop, or “toyshop” as the owner, Richard Morgan, calls it, they’re bringing vintage vehicles into the 21st century.

“We’re future-proofing classic cars to be able to be used regularly.”

There’s a clear production line, with cars getting their engines gutted by the door and then moving into a fabrication area.

Here, bespoke motors are built.

Apart from the engine, nothing in the original car is changed.

One of the classic cars being 'future-proofed'
Image:
This classic car is getting its original engine fixed up to get back on the road

Instead, a team of fabricators play Tetris with batteries, motors and wires, building bespoke engines for every vehicle.

They weld boxes and supports to fit the new electric engine around the car, then bolt them into place.

A Maserati Ghibli is one of the classic cars getting their old engines ripped out and electric motors put in
Image:
A Maserati Ghibli is one of the classic cars getting an electric motors put in

But it’s not just the classic car that is upcycled.

Around 40% of the batteries put into the classics are recycled from other, usually crashed, electric cars.

electric vehicles
Image:
A Maserati Ghibli

They’ve used so many, they say they’ve exhausted the UK supply of second-hand EV batteries.

But for Richard, the founder of Electric Classic Cars, it’s not actually about saving the planet.

“It’s about being able to have the confidence to get into a classic car, and use it as a daily driver.

“When I started doing this years ago, the reaction was, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you’d do that to a classic car. You’ve ruined it, you’ve taken out the soul.’

CARROLL CLASSIC EVS STILLS FITTING ELECTRIC ENGINE_frame_337_MCR56
Image:
Installing an electric engine

“But as time goes on, and more and more people are driving electric cars, they’re starting to get it.

“They’re starting to understand, ‘Oh, it’s got a bit of poke. It’s quite nice to drive around in a nice, quiet, smooth car’.”

CARROLL CLASSIC EVS STILLS FERRARI TESTA ROSSA WITH OLD ENGINE_frame_479_MCR56
Image:
A Ferrari Testa Rossa with an old engine

CARROLL CLASSIC EVS STILLS FERRARI TESTA ROSSA WITH EV ENGINE_frame_552_MCR56
Image:
A Ferrari Testa Rossa with an electric engine

He sees it like modernising a home – and the cost of fitting one of these motors could pay for a house deposit.

It can range between £20,000 and £120,000 to have your old engine replaced by Richard’s team.

“It’s not done because it’s going to save you money. It’s done because you want to future-proof the classic car for future generations.

“If you live in a really old house, you don’t have your original coal fireplace, you put a modern central heating system in, or you put in double-glazing or a sewage system.

“It’s like that for me. You’re improving the internals to make it more enjoyable and easier to live with on a day-to-day basis.”

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Many petrolheads in the classic car community remain unconvinced, including Jason Mills, the founder of Vintage Vehicle Restorations over the border in Ludlow.

“Purists would argue that it came out of the factory with that engine,” Mr Mills said, “so to restore it with an electric motor just doesn’t seem right.”

The mechanics here have been restoring vehicles for decades, and although they can see the value in making them cleaner and more reliable, it’s the old engine experience that they love.

“It is the sound, the speed, the noise, the smells,” Mr Mills said.

Purists aside, future-proofing these old classics could keep them on the roads for longer – a reliable, clean and extremely indulgent ride.

Ed Sheeran takes stand at New York civil trial accused of copying Marvin Gaye classic | Ents & Arts News

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has taken the stand at the beginning of a civil trial in Manhattan alleging his hit “Thinking Out Loud” ripped off the classic Marvin Gaye tune “Let’s Get It On”.

Descendants of Ed Townsend, Gaye’s co-writer on the 1973 hit, claim Sheeran, his label Warner Music Group, and music publisher Sony Music Publishing owe them a share of the profits for allegedly copying the song.

The copyright infringement trial in Manhattan, New York, is the first of three Sheeran could face from lawsuits over similarities between the two hits.

Under questioning from Keisha Rice, a lawyer for Mr Townsend’s descendants, Sheeran was asked about a song of his, “Take It Back,” which contains the lyric “plagiarism is hidden”.

“Those are my lyrics, yep,” said Sheeran, wearing a black suit and light blue tie. “Can I give some context to them?”

Rice said if she needed more context, she would ask.

She then asked Sheeran, 32, about a video clip of a show in which he performed Gaye’s song live as a medley with “Thinking Out Loud”.

Ben Crump, another lawyer for the Townsend’s descendants, had earlier said the performance amounted to a confession by Sheeran.

“We have a smoking gun,” he said of the concert footage showing Sheeran flipping between the two songs.

Mr Crump said the case is about “giving credit where credit is due”.

Sheeran said he sometimes mashed up songs with similar chords at his gigs, but grew frustrated when Rice cut off his
response.

“I feel like you don’t want me to answer because you know that what I’m going to say is actually going to make quite a lot of sense,” he said.

Read more:
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Kathryn Townsend Griffin, center, daughter of singer and songwriter Ed Townsend, speaks outside New York Federal Court before the start of the trial. Pic: AP
Image:
Kathryn Townsend Griffin, center, daughter of singer and songwriter Ed Townsend, speaks outside New York Federal Court before the start of the trial. Pic: AP

Sheeran’s lawyer, Ilene Farkas, earlier said the two songs are distinct and told jurors that the plaintiffs should not be allowed to “monopolise” a chord progression and melody that are used in countless songs.

“No one owns basic musical building blocks,” Farkas said.

“You could go from ‘Let it Be’ to ‘No Woman, No Cry’ and switch back,” Sheeran testified, referring to the Beatles and
Bob Marley classics.

“If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be a quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.”

If the jury finds Sheeran liable for copyright infringement, the trial will enter a second phase to determine how much he and his labels owe in damages.

The first trial is expected to last about a week.

Townsend, who also wrote the 1958 R&B doo-wop hit For Your Love, was a singer, songwriter and lawyer.

He died in 2003.

His daughter, Kathryn Townsend Griffin, is the plaintiff leading the case.

Roald Dahl classic texts to be kept in print after outrage over changes to author’s books | UK News

Publisher Puffin has announced the release of the Roald Dahl classic collection “to keep the author’s classic text in print” – following widespread criticism of his books being re-written.

The 17 titles will be available later this year and will include archive material relevant to each of the stories by the much-loved but controversial children’s author.

The classic collection will sit alongside the newly-released Dahl books for young readers, which have been rewritten to “cater for the sensitivities of modern audiences”.

However Puffin sparked outrage after announcing Dahl’s books would be edited to remove or rewrite language deemed offensive.

Content including references to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race were amended – in a move branded “absurd censorship” by author Sir Salman Rushdie.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the editing of Dahl’s books, quoting the Big Friendly Giant’s warning not to “gobblefunk” with words.

The Queen Consort urged authors to be “true to their calling” days after the row over the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s author’s books erupted.

In her first public appearance since recovering from COVID-19 on Thursday, Camilla launched her book project, previously known as The Reading Room, as charity re-named The Queen’s Reading Room.

She told guests including children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Booker prize winner, Ben Okri: “Thank you, on behalf of book-lovers and book clubs everywhere, for sharing your talents with us and for everything you do to promote literacy and a love of literature.

“Please keep doing so and please remain true to your calling, unimpeded by those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or impose limits on your imagination.

“But let there be no squeaking like mice about your achievements, but only roaring like a pride of lions.”

Closeup of a bookshelf of colourful Roald Dahl book covers and spines
Image:
Closeup of a bookshelf of colourful Roald Dahl book covers and spines

‘We have listened to the debate’

Managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s, Francesca Dow, said: “We’ve listened to the debate over the past week which has reaffirmed the extraordinary power of Roald Dahl’s books and the very real questions around how stories from another era can be kept relevant for each new generation.

“As a children’s publisher, our role is to share the magic of stories with children with the greatest thought and care.

“Roald Dahl’s fantastic books are often the first stories young children will read independently, and taking care for the imaginations and fast-developing minds of young readers is both a privilege and a responsibility.

“We also recognise the importance of keeping Dahl’s classic texts in print.

“By making both Puffin and Penguin versions available, we are offering readers the choice to decide how they experience Roald Dahl’s magical, marvellous stories.

“Roald Dahl once said: ‘If my books can help children become readers, then I feel I have accomplished something important’.

“At Puffin, we’ll keep pursuing that ambition for as long as we make books.”

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