Common wisdom says that hot rodders and environmentalists are at opposite ends of the spectrum, and that the two mix like water and oil.
Not so, says GM’s Performance Parts division, who built this 1955 Chevy Bel Air E-ROD as proof that the two camps can find common ground. Fitted with an E-ROD crate engine that produces 430 horsepower, the Bel Air delivered an average of 23 miles per gallon on the drive from Florida to Michigan.
It doesn’t sound overly impressive until you stop to consider the power of the Bel Air, along with its less-than-ideal aerodynamic profile.
The E-ROD engine also meets California Air Resources Board Executive Order D-126-30, which makes the engine legal for installation in pre-1996 vehicles within the state of California.
GM believes this is the start of something good, and that even hot rodders are growing more concerned with the environmental impact of their hobby.
GMPP’s product integration manager, Dr. Jamie Meyer, said, “The world of hot rodding is changing, and GMPP is leading the way with engine systems and supporting components that enable enthusiasts to build a car that complies with the law, satisfies their desire for a cleaner hot rod and doesn’t sacrifice the performance they want. With fuel prices not showing any signs of retreating, greater fuel economy is definitely a welcome benefit, too.”
Highway fuel economy of 23 miles per gallon isn’t exactly in hybrid territory, but GMPP deserves some credit for thinking along more environmentally-friendly lines.
It won’t be long before hybrid and electric-only drivetrains become commonplace in street rods, and we’d be more inclined to buy into harmony between the two camps when we see a battery-powered hot rod that produces the same 430 horsepower.
[GM via Motor Authority]