Thursday, January 27, 2022

10 Classic Cars That Are Perfect For EV Conversions

Gearheads the world over love nothing more than the smell of burning gasoline and the sound of a well-tuned, high-performance engine. That is all about to be taken away by the inevitable EV revolution. Maybe this will birth a new generation of electro-heads or whichever popular name that will suffice.

Owners of older cars seem to agree that the combustion engine has run its course. We are witnessing the increasing popularity of replacing the ICE engine with modern electric powertrains on classic cars. It has its benefits since it helps future-proof vehicles we love against future laws, tax changes, and fuel availability. So don’t be surprised if a formerly underpowered, smelly, and noisy jalopy from the 50s pulls away from you effortlessly and silently at the green light.

Some will argue that these EV conversions rob the car of its heritage and identity. That said, there are classic cars that are more suited for EV conversion than others due to various reasons. Here’s our take on some classics you should consider slapping an EV powertrain.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

CanEV 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
Via MecumAuctions

An electrified ‘57 Chevy Bel Air would help bring back the mojo of a car that once stole the street cred from Ford. The Bel Air won 49 Grand National NASCAR races and 26 NASCAR convertible races, more than any other make. Replacing the aging V8 engines on the car with zero-emission EV motors is nothing short of justice to this former champion.

via cnet

Chevy used the Bel Air in their recent electric Project X EV for SEMA 2021. They fitted an electric motor and experimental 30kWh batteries. They also added a quick-change differential with two final drive modes, a short one for quick acceleration and a taller one with extended range.

RELATED: Check Out These Awesome Chevrolet Overlanding Blackout Concepts From SEMA 2021

1966 Dodge Charger

Via HemmingsMotorNews

Cars in the 1960s, including full-sized sedans, were much lighter than the cars of today. The base trim Dodge Charger came in at under two tons. Interestingly, the car had an alternative-energy transformation from the onset. Chrysler started the Charger project in 1964, seeking to make it the company’s first production car with a turbine powerplant. We all know that attempt failed, and they slapped in V8 powerplants instead. Therefore, adding a modern battery pack and electric motor in the Charger is almost poetic.

A blue 1966 Dodge Charger stands on a road.
Via: Autotrader

The lightweight body of the Charger and sufficient space for battery packs below the hood and under the rear hatch promises long-range for highway cruising between charges.

Classic Mini Cooper

Via :Viaretro

Driving in a city requires a car made for the city, and today you can grab the cool futuristic retro Honda e, which will quietly go about its city errands. However, some people prefer the good old authentic retro feel for their car. Well, future-proofing the classic Mini is the closest option for this purist crowd.

Original Mini Cooper
via CNET

British firm Swindon Powertrain already have an EV conversion kit for the classic Mini with Swindon’s own 160 hp electric motor and a few modern upgrades to get your Mini going.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

1989 Mazda MX-5 Miata
via Top Car Rating

Undoubtedly, the open-air experience, receptive handling, and the generally fun-to-drive nature make the Miata an excellent driver’s car. However, the four-cylinder engine has never been a point of strength in the over 30 years the car has been in production. That is why replacing the gasoline motor with a snappier one sipping electrons wouldn’t be a bad idea.

A few EV conversion experts have proven that the Miata is a good candidate with their EV projects that don’t take away the charm of the Miata. Case in point, UK-based Zero EV already has a prototype for an EV conversion kit for the Miata that delivers a pure, distilled driving experience.

RELATED: Here Are The 10 Ultimate Mazda MX-5 Miata Models

Porsche 911 964

Everatii Porsche 911 964 electric conversion

The Porsche 911 has been ever-present for almost sixty years in production, with the same basic chassis layout that enthusiasts don’t seem to get bored with. Any suggestions by Porsche to make fundamental changes are met with outrage from the purist fans. But to future-proof the 911 and maintain its immortal status, it might be time to go electric.

Via Everrati

Future-proofing master Everatti has already done conversions on the 911, and they claim the move is sympathetic, almost surgical, with the process being 100% reversible. Their Everatti Porsche 911 (964) EV Gulf Signature Edition received a 53kWh battery pack with over 150 miles range. The EV system is a welcome performance upgrade from 247hp to 500hp and which launches the 911 to 60mph in under four seconds, an improvement over the original 6.2 seconds.

1970 Nissan Z

source: wsupercars

The early Nissan Z is a great candidate for electric conversion because it is lightweight and aerodynamic. Even in their original state, they were some of the best cars ever produced anywhere. They came with four-wheel independent suspensions, high-performing front disk brakes, beautiful styling, booming after-market support, and great engines, which will sadly have to be removed for an EV conversion. These features provided operating parameters to make it a racing success among enthusiasts and pro drivers.

source: wsupercars

The car suffered under strict emission regulation and was replaced with an improved platform. EV conversions help keep the Z culture alive, and some companies like EV4U Conversions have done excellent jobs with the classic Nissan Z.

1970 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante

via engineswapdeport

Since the all-electric Rapid E project was canceled before it began, we will not see a pure electric Aston Martin until 2026. So, conversion is the only way to enjoy the essence of clean energy in one of these British cars. We think the classic Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante is a good candidate.

1970 DB6 Vantage Volante aston martin
via aston martin

Aston Martin has already tested their new Heritage EV powertrain on the car. The system is removable, and it fits perfectly on the original 4.2-liter straight-six engine and transmission mounts, meaning you can quickly return the vehicle to its original form without trouble. This will give the car a new lease of life without taking away its heritage.

RELATED: Check Out This Beautiful Aston Martin DB6 EV Conversion

Mercedes-Benz 300E AMG Hammer

via reddit

The AMG Hammer was a car that banged when it made its debut back in 1986. It elevated the mid-sized sedan into a fast car capable of going toe-to-toe with the Porsches, Ferraris, and Lambos of the time. Its influence on the automotive industry stuck; Germans have always produced a sedan with a V8 powerplant at any given time.

mercedes-benz 300E hammer
via mercedes-benz

Besides the explosive power that made the Benz 300E Hammer the hard-hitting and hottest passenger sedan ever, it came with lowered suspensions and an interior ahead of its time. The aerodynamic hood resulted in a low coefficient of 0.25, which is very close to the 0.23 on the uber-efficient Tesla Model 3. It would be undoubtedly worth slapping an EV motor in the AMG Hammer.

Ferrari 308 GTS

Ferrari 308 GTS Electric GTE

Ferraris are among the holy grail of classic cars that every gearhead wishes to own. If you have watched the hit TV police drama Magnum PI, you know this 308 GTS because it is the car Tom Selleck drove around the tranquil locations in Hawaii. The car drips all the 80s cool feel.

The Ferrari 308 is perfect for conversion because it has already been done successfully. One guy who had been driving his GTS since 1992 decided to rip out the aging 3-liter V8 along with the gearbox and inserted a Tesla Motor. It worked flawlessly, and the new car is rocket fast, launching to 60mph in 3.8 seconds.

RELATED: Here’s Everything We Now Know About The GMC Hummer EV

Mercedes-Benz 280SL ‘Pagoda’

via The SL Shop

The Benz 280SL was the last of the W 113 two-seater roadsters, known for uniting a decadent power delivery with engaging elegance and classy comfort. This came with exceptional driving performance and an innovative safety body consisting of a rigid passenger cell and crumple zones at the front and rear. Converting this icon into an EV while keeping the rest of the vehicle as period-correct as possible can help future-proof it while retaining its original charm.

Mercedes 280SL
Via Custom Classics

British rebuild specialist Hemmels has already given us a taste of what an EV Pagoda can be. They gave the car a 160hp electric motor with a 200-mile range between charges. This is enough to drive down a coastline-hugging road with only the sound of ocean waves and wind blowing your hair.


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