Hybrids & Electrics

Hot Rod Builder Hiding Electric Motor In Hollowed Out V8

You know hot rodders would turn their noses up at an electric motor in a hot rod. Hot rods are all about loud and fast V8s with gobs of power. You might be able to get an electric motor to give lots of power for go-fast action. But loud and seeing a V8 nestled between the frame rail? Never going to happen with an electric motor. But one builder is working on the visuals of running an electric motor. He’s hiding an electric motor in what will look like the hot rodder’s favorite; a small-block Chevy V8. With 257 lb-ft of torque, when this project is finished it will make smokey burnouts all day long. 

Webb decided to fix the only problem with running an electric motor; that it’s not a V8

Canadian Chris Webb is a builder of traditional hot rods. But his daughter wanted her 1936 Hayes pickup to be electric-powered. He wasn’t about to go there until he checked into electric-powered vehicles. Once he saw there are almost no maintenance issues and stupid power besides he decided to fix one of the only problems he saw. That problem is that it’s not a V8. 

A friend with a small aluminum foundry helped him by casting up a hollow Chevy V8 with room for drivetrain controllers, heat sinks, an electric fan hidden under the air cleaner canister, and a 96-volt electric motor. He’s shooting for 500 hp from the electric motor, but there are range and cost issues he needs to address.

Webb decided to turn the truck into a range-extended EV, or RXEV

First, eliminating a gang of batteries to save costs means range and power are compromised. What to do? Webb decided to turn the truck into a range-extended EV, or RXEV. To do this he moved the internal combustion Chevy V8 he was going to put into the truck onto the flatbed behind the cab. It turns a pair of generators that keep the batteries charged up. That’s one way to extend the range for your EV. 

All of the patterns for the hollow V8 were done by Webb; he’s obviously familiar with shrinkage and other issues so he makes it seem easy. The block is not cast in one piece but instead like a house with four outside walls. The “cylinder heads” are also hollow, but will accept any small-block Chevy valve cover like they are actual, real heads. 

Webb has quite a few YouTube videos to show the progress and generally explain what he’s doing. We’ll all be able to follow along to see how it’s all done, and it appears he wants to manufacture copies and sell them. He gets into why he’s using certain components, and other explanations to give the project some context. 

If things get prickly in the future this is one alternative to keep muscle cars and hot rods on the road

We don’t know what the future of the internal combustion engine and the cars they power will be. There will probably be exemptions for specialty cars powered by ICE that only see a few hundred miles a year. So there’s no need to panic. But if things get prickly in the future this could be an alternative to help keep muscle cars and hot rods on the road. Who knows, for all you Mopar guys that always wanted a 426 ci Hemi, you will finally make it look like you have one. 


We’ve included images he shot of the progress and we’ve also added some of his videos. You can go to his YouTube channel for all of the videos he’s produced so far. Thanks to The Drive for the heads-up.