Each generation manifests a vision of the automobile’s future. Consider, from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), the streamlined aerodynamics of the Rumpler Tropfenwagen, a mid-rear-engine car that acted as progenitor to the Tatra, the VW Beetle, and even the 911. Or the touchscreen-activated, search-engine-enabled cabs of The Fifth Element (1997) that presaged today’s tablet-forward infotainment systems. Or The Simpsons’ Canyonero of 1998 predicting the earth-consuming preponderance of heavy, ultraluxe SUVs. (We still don’t have collapsible, nuclear-powered flying cars. Thanks, Jetsons.)
But one particular paradigm has resurfaced again and again without coming to fruition: the battle-armored, weaponized Frankencars of the Mad Max franchise. We don’t live in that future. Yet. But the concept of car-borne vigilante swaging guerrilla warfare in a parched dystopia has become a familiar trope.
Furthermore, practical reuse and recycling of automotive batteries at the end of their lives is becoming possible and readily available, nullifying a major complaint about electric power. And companies like Electric GT, Ford, and Chevy are even creating bolt-in electric crate motors shaped like replacement stalwarts—such as the small-block V-8, straight-six, inline-four, and flat-six—to ease the conversion of our vintage cars into silent, clean, torquey charmers.