Episode 298 with Mike Sallee - Electrify The Past
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Episode 298 with Mike Sallee – Electrify The Past

Image showcasing Electrify Podcast episode 298 with Mike Sallee of Conductive Classics - Electrify The Podcast

Conductive Classics is an automotive shop that specializes in enhancing the performance of old cars and trucks by converting them from gasoline-powered to electric. Jarod DeAnda, host of Electrify Podcast, and Mike Sallee from Conductive Classics, located in Garden City, Idaho, discuss Mikes’s vision for taking some of your old vintage cars, and turning them into EVs. This is a fun one you will not want to miss!


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Mike Sallee: A Visionary with a Passion for Retrofits

Conductive Classics - Electrify Showoff wows Long Beach with 100+ EVs, 40+ aftermarket exhibitors, electrified classics, and cutting-edge tech. Impressive lineup!
Conductive Classics converted a 1964 Ford Custom 500 into the “Galax-E,” winning Best EV Conversion at Electrify Showoff in Long Beach

Let’s kick things off by diving into Mike Sallee’s journey into electric vehicles (EVs). Mike’s shift from gasoline to electric was a pivotal moment. He shared, “About three and a half years ago, we picked up this ’58 Apache pickup… and we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do with it. At the time, we’ve done LS Swap and just about everything you can imagine… as far as gas motors go… we thought, ‘let’s try electric and see how it works out.'” And that’s where the sparks began to fly.


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Electrify the Past: Conductive Classics’ Mission

So, what’s Conductive Classics all about? Mike explains, “Basically, we do full builds… our mantra when we’re out there talking to people is talking about their classic car that sits in their garage… and you know what, how often do you drive it? You know, you drive it once a month or something like that… the cars that we’ve done so far… you go out and unplug them, and they drive the same way that they did when you plugged them in the last time.” It’s all about preserving the classic experience without the hassle of carburetors and aging gas.


Electrify Your Classic with Conductive Classics

Photo of Mike Sallee's Conductive Classics 1964 Ford Custom 500 (Galaxie trim) at Electrify Showoff in Long Beach, CA
Conductive Classics converted a 1964 Ford Custom 500 into the “Galax-E,” winning Best EV Conversion at Electrify Showoff in Long Beach

Now, you’re probably wondering how you can get your hands on a Conductive Classics conversion. Mike clears the air, saying, “We sell it exclusively as well… it fits into anything that’s front-motor rear-wheel drive… as far as that goes, the drivetrain on the website is more or less an example of where our stuff starts out.” Whether you’re a DIY wizard or prefer the full package, Conductive Classics has your back.


Breaking Boundaries in the World of Hot Rodding

What sets Conductive Classics apart is their refusal to limit themselves to a specific niche. Mike states, “We’re always looking… that selectiveness is going to get a little bit broader because there’s more of an acceptance for it now… we’re just taking different parts and doing the same thing.” It’s the same hot rodding spirit applied to electric vehicles.


Retrofits and Beyond: Making Electric Cool

Conductive Classics converted a 1964 Ford Custom 500 into the “Galax-E,” winning Best EV Conversion at Electrify Showoff in Long Beach

Now, let’s get technical for a moment. Mike discusses the retrofitting process, from the ’58 Apache’s manual transmission that lets you “roll away just fine” to the Galaxy’s frame overhaul to accommodate Tesla Model 3 components. You can find all the nitty-gritty details on their website, and trust me, it’s a fascinating journey.


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Charging Ahead: The Future of Conductive Classics

As they continue to push boundaries, Conductive Classics is also working on improving charging options. Mike reveals, “we’ve been working on thermal management… I’d really like to be able to DC fast charge it even if it wasn’t as fast as some of the OEMs just a little bit quicker… so you could technically do a road trip if you wanted to.” Yes, you read that right – long-distance EV hot rodding is on the horizon!


Partners in Electrification

Conductive Classics converted a 1964 Ford Custom 500 into the “Galax-E,” winning Best EV Conversion at Electrify Showoff in Long Beach

Conductive Classics isn’t alone in this electrifying journey. Mike mentions they’ve teamed up with friends in the industry, collaborating to advance the world of electric retrofits. The future of electrified classics looks promising and filled with exciting possibilities.


Fostering Camaraderie

One key theme that resonated throughout the conversation was the sense of camaraderie among EV enthusiasts. In the past, hot-rodders would gather to celebrate the roar of engines and the smell of gasoline, but now, these gatherings include the hum of electric motors and the thrill of emission-free acceleration. Friends, assets, and allies in this electrified world are coming together to explore new horizons.


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The Inspiring Collaboration of Kevin Erikson and Mike Sallee

A shining example of this collaboration is the story of Kevin Erikson, who brought his 1972 Plymouth Satellite to the table. Mike recalled how they crossed paths during an event in Sonoma, California, and their connection was instantaneous. Kevin’s homemade electric conversion project, completed in his own garage, had Mike’s attention. The two envisioned an ambitious cross-country drive from Denver to the coast, demonstrating the possibilities of fast-charging electric vehicles. While this plan is still in the works, it embodies the essence of camaraderie within the EV community.


Expanding EV Aftermarket

Photo of Mike Sallee's Conductive Classics 1964 Ford Custom 500 (Galaxie trim) at Electrify Showoff in Long Beach, CA
Conductive Classics converted a 1964 Ford Custom 500 into the “Galax-E,” winning Best EV Conversion at Electrify Showoff in Long Beach

Mike also highlighted the growing interest in electric vehicle conversions from a broader perspective. With major automakers producing electric cars, the aftermarket for EV parts is expanding. As more electric vehicles enter the market and eventually make their way into auctions and salvage yards, the world of EV conversions will gain access to a diverse array of components, providing conversion experts with exciting opportunities to create unique, high-performance electric builds.


Electrifying the Classics

What’s next for Conductive Classics? Mike expressed his commitment to pushing boundaries and surprising enthusiasts with projects that challenge the status quo. While the iconic Galaxy is a testament to his expertise, he’s eyeing even more groundbreaking projects. Mike mentioned discussions about converting a beloved E30 M3, showcasing his dedication to delivering electrified vehicles that defy expectations.

The electrified hot-rodding community stands as a shining example of the adaptability and determination of automotive enthusiasts. Dedicated individuals like Mike and Conductive Classics, are rewriting the automotive rulebook while electrifying classics, all the while fostering a sense of unity that transcends the power source. In this exciting era of electric vehicles, these pioneers are leading a revolution that’s reshaping the automotive landscape, one electric hot rod at a time.


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AUTHOR: 

RANDI BENTIA

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