Green and 'green' for the hippy-chic, alloys for Tim Westwood

By Gary Hartley

No, we haven’t gone crazy and just started using the word retrofit combined with anything just to help the green refurbishment message cut through into the mainstream. We’re not talking about strapping solar panels to sausages that have been sitting in your (Energy Saving Trust Recommended) fridge too long either.

Being the son of a motor mechanic myself, and also familiar with the TV show ‘Pimp My Ride’ (NB- my dad wasn’t very much like either Ice Cube or Tim Westwood) I’m well aware that a vehicle can be gutted of its old, creaking parts and reconfigured in a very different way.

And the folk from green car show Ecovelocity are advising just that – in the noble pursuit of encouraging people to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency in their old clapped out cars, rather than necessarily feeling they need to trade it in for a newer, cleaner model.

And haven’t they gone for some automotive classics in their bid to prove a point – the Ford Escort RS2000 and a 1980s VW camper van.

Modern counterpart engines incorporating hybrid technology, stop/start systems and thermal management were all included in the ‘retrofit’ packages. And they even thought to give them a shiny green paint job, in case you still hadn’t quite managed to guilt the neighbours into thinking about eco motoring.

But of course all this doesn’t come particularly cheap – something even Ecovelocity founder and organiser, Giles Brown, concedes:

“With a potential price tag of tens of thousands of pounds to undertake all this work, you’d have to be very serious indeed about going green. But what we want to show is how it is possible to make both cars eligible for free road tax (VED Band A), increase their performance and even enhance their safety features.”

Considering issues like embedded carbon in manufacturing, though, for those really conscious about their carbon footprint while also being keen on classic cars, this could be a rewarding option with big long-term savings.

But for those looking for a cheaper way to cut fuel costs and clean up your transport act, you can give our Travel Energy Check a go, or even compare the efficiency of all new and used cars since 2001 on our website.