Why it matters to you
Electrification can change the way we commute to work and the way we enjoy our classic car on the weekend.
You will want to look away if you’re a Porsche purist. A British company named Electric Classic Cars has turned a 1979 Porsche 911 SC Targa into an electric machine with more driving range than a majority of the battery-powered cars available today.
When viewed from the outside, this 911 looks like a classic Targa model from the late 1970s — and quite a nice one, at that. A closer look reveals the flat-six engine has been tossed out and replaced by a pair of electric motors that shift through the car’s original five-speed manual transmission. Instant torque helps make this battery-powered Porsche about half a second quicker in the zero-to-60mph sprint than a stock model.
Electricity is stored in a 54-kWh battery pack sourced from none other than the Tesla Roadster. There is not much space in an old 911 for batteries, so it is broken up and split between the trunk and the engine compartment. Installing batteries up front moves the cargo compartment to the back, and it gives the sports car a 48/52 weight distribution. The pack contains enough electricity to power the 911 for up to 200 miles when it is being driven “sensibly.” In comparison, the Kia Soul EV boasts 93 miles of range, the Nissan Leaf offers 107 miles, and the BMW i3‘s range checks in at up to 114 miles.
The 911 was in rough shape when Electric Classic Cars began the project. ECC’s Richard Morgan told Digital Trends the most difficult part of the build was giving the car a complete restoration before his team even began thinking about electrification. The work included replacing the front fenders, sanding the car down to the bare metal, and applying a fresh new coat of paint. The end result is stunning; the Targa looks like it just rolled off the assembly line. It just doesn’t sound that way.
Classic cars converted to run on electricity are becoming increasingly common. Recently, California-based builder Icon turned a Volkswagen Thing into a powerful electric machine with four times more power than the standard model. Also, an enthusiast turned a salvaged Ferrari 308 into an electric canyon carver that is fast, silent, and green. In England, Morgan told us he’s working on seven products including a classic Range Rover and a BMW CSi.