Hot rodders get a bad rep as dinosaurs and averse to change. They’ll cling to their pushrods and carburetors until they die, they say. While that may be true of some, the real hot rodders only care about going fast as possible, often for as cheap as possible, and will do it by any means necessary. While our charging infrastructure still has some way to go, the go-fast tech is already well proven.
So when Holley announced that it would be kicking off an electric counterpart to its already highly 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 cloth, after all.
(Full Disclosure: Holley invited me to attend High Voltage Fest and provided me with tickets. I paid for my own travel and lodging. Holley-owned AEM EV is a sponsor of Autopia 2099, the electric car show I co-founded.)
The current state of the electric car hot rodding world has me so amped up. There are E-powered dragsters, streamliners, drifters, hillclimbers, and more speed than you can shake a stick at. 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 fast EVs in the world. Not only did famous EV folks from YouTube bring some cars out (like the Grind Hard x Rich Rebuilds off-road Tesla, or Simone Giertz’s Cheese Louise), but even big boys like Ford brought out their electric race cars.
I’m a sucker for all things Porsche, so getting up close and personal with Bisimoto’s electric-swapped 935 replica was a special treat. This thing is so freakin’ cool. Not only does it look the part of the Le Mans-winning 911 variant, but it’s also a whole heck of a lot quicker than that wild fire-breathing beast ever was. I’d really love the opportunity to prove that the electric version could do a faster lap of La Sarthe than when a 935 won the 24 Hour in 1979.
Just so wickedly cool.
Speaking of Porsches, APR is apparently working on something for the Taycan. This already-fast car didn’t appear to have much more to the mix than a set of Finspeed wheels, but it looked super cool. Maybe they’re trying to figure out how to unlock even more power from the already-bonkers-fast Porsche.
And as a 986 Boxster owner I was drawn to this Tesla-swapped unit. This father-and-son build was purchased with a blown motor for three grand a few years back. While they’ve blown up a few electric motors of their own in the process, the car is now steady and ready to rock. Something like 90 miles of range and way more power than a 986 ever offered makes for an appealing package.
The Revolt Systems streamliner recently broke the electric land speed record at Bonneville with a pair of Tesla motors slung out back. This is a truly impressive machine. The car has been running since the 1950s with gasoline power, but it set its fastest ever time with electric power. Now that’s shocking!
Jacob Graham, a pal of mine and local Reno-ite, recently finished his AC/DMC project and hauled it out to display at the event. This car used to be the infamous “Worlds Fastest DeLorean” but now is powered by a much more reliable Nissan Leaf motor that he has pumped up to 300 kW (around 402 horsepower). It whips, as the kids say.
The three-day festival was based at Sonoma Raceway and included a wine country tour on Friday, autocross, drifting, drag racing, and a full-track all-electric track day across the weekend. No matter what your car was good at, there was plenty of opportunity to get it out and flex its electric muscle.
While the event wasn’t as well attended or as populated by wild monster builds as something like LS Fest, it’s clear that this year’s High Voltage Fest is just the first in a long line of High Voltage Fests to come. As more electric cars are sold there is more opportunity to find batteries, motors, and controllers in the junkyards of America. Those corpses will be there for hot rodders to pick over and turn into the future of hot rodding.
Hot rodding in the 1950s was exactly the same as it is today. Take a big motor out of a big sedan, stuff it in something small, and go ridiculously fast. Same as it ever was. And who better to push the future of hot rodding into the electric space than Holley, a company that has been in the thick of it since the beginning. Holley has been building carburetors since the 1890s, and pushed performance envelopes for decades. About twenty years ago it figured out aftermarket fuel injection for hot rodding applications. Now, changing with the trends of speed, the company is investing in electric swap and control tech.
Go with the flow or get swept up by the overwhelming river of electric speed.