For several months now, classic car owners in Sweden have been able to buy a catalytic converter developed specifically for classic cars. It works on cars with carburettors and doesn’t – like normal catalysts – require fuel injection and a lambda sensor. The Swedish producer of these catalysts claim reduced CO, HC and NOX in the exhaust gases, just as they even say it will reduce the smell of the exhaust fumes.
With this it would appear, that we now have the option of becoming not just greener classic car owners, but also a better human being. This catalytic converter works in a very similar way to those used on modern cars, by the hot exhaust fumes meeting a special mix of the precious metals platinum, rhodium and palladium found within the catalyst, which then transforms the exhaust to less toxic gasses and even totally breaking down certain parts of the gases. However, where it differs from catalysts used on modern cars, is in the lack of ceramic coating of the internal components. Instead a much higher amount of rhodium is used in order to lower the levels of nitric oxide.
If these catalytic converters actually do what they are claimed to do – and one must presume that the manufacturer indeed knows what they’re talking about – then surely it’s a great idea to retrofit one of these to your classic. As modern cars seem to constantly get cleaner, greener and more odorfree, our old cars are of course quite the contrast, and are by some regarded as nothing but a burden to our environment. The price for one of these classic car catalytic converters is approximately 2,000 Swedish Kroner or 200 Euro, and they come in various sizes to suit different cars, and ought to be simple to fit too.
But the big question is of course: Are we going to bother with the efforts of fitting a catalytic converter to our classic? Even though we all have, and live under, increased requirements for reducing air pollution these days, there isn’t any legally enforceable legislation yet when it comes to this particular subject. So you would be doing it purely out of your own good will. Personally, I’m leaning towards wanting to contribute, and am indeed considering fitting such an air purifier to my old exhaust systems.
The Swedish classic car magazine “Klassiker” have launched into testing a couple of old cars fitted with these catalysts. They are being very thorough about the whole test too, and we can expect a conclusion which besides the catalysts immediate effect, also looks at the results of multiple cold-starts and exposing them to various driving patterns.
In the meantime, we can discuss ethical standards and our ability to take initiative. What’s your view on retro-fitted catalytic converters for classic cars?