Restomod. That’s the name that’s been given to special, one-off custom cars that aren’t quite restorations– though that’s a part of it– and aren’t quite hot rods– though that’s a part of it, too. The best way to describe what a restomod is, vs. what it isn’t, is to say that it’s a car that blends old and new to create something that offers the best of both worlds. In most cases, that means an old car with a classic “look” that’s been updated with modern lighting and electronics, usually (but not always) modern brakes and suspension, and almost always a modern engine and drive train. The most common restomods tend to be fitted with Chevy V8s, but I’m we’re not interested in those. We’re interested in classics that are stuffed with batteries and coils and controllers to create something really special: an electric restomod.

Below, you’ll find some of the best electric restomod conversions we’ve found over the last few years of surfing the internet. We’ve covered a number of restomods before, in the Recycled Hawtness series back when we were still Gas 2, so some of these will be familiar to longtime readers. For the rest of you, though, this little collection of awesome vehicles (arranged by model-year of the primary/transplant car) should be all-new. Enjoy!


1949 Mercury Coupe | Tesla Powered ICON Derelict

We first stumbled across this incredible, original paint 1949 Mercury Coupe last October, and it’s occupied a huge chunk of mental real estate ever since. Built by restomodding guru Jonathan Ward under his iconic famous ICON brand, this ’49 Mercury has been called one of Ward’s most inspired builds. One look, and it’s easy to see why. From arranging the controllers under the hood to be reminiscent of a Ford Flathead V8 to the Merc’s aggressive, lowered stance to the custom, 40s-style “instruments” on the digital dash display, this build is a masterpiece from every angle. Nothing has been overlooked, none of the decisions feel dated or wrong, and the Tesla-sourced drive train means that this sled will run with just about anything built in any era. It’s just awesome.

You can read more about the ICON Derelict ’49 Mercury over at Petrolicious, which also has a bunch of photos of the car that we didn’t include here in our gallery. Check it out, and see if you don’t agree with me when I say that this is one of the best cars ever built!


1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL | Silent and Sunny

Way back in 2103, less than a year after the first Tesla Model S had reached its first customer and electric cars were still considered “pretty decent” if they could get out of their own way and get you to work and home without needing a four hour charging stop in between, a 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL appeared on eBay. This 230SL, to be exact, and it is a stunner.

According to the listing, it was converted by a master Mercedes-Benz mechanic who had worked on a number of electric car prototypes (read: concept cars) for General Motors. The project took more than 600 hours, start to finish, and great pains were taken to ensure that the original “character” of the Mercedes survived the transplant. “It was very important to me that the car look exactly the same as it did before the conversion (dead sexy) and it does,” wrote the owner. “I even went through extra pains to retain the original manual transmission. It just wouldn’t feel right without a shifter.”

In there here and now of 2019, the car’s specs seem almost laughable. The Benz offers just 30 miles of driving on an overnight charge with a top speed governed to 55 MPH– but practicality isn’t what this Benz was ever about, even when it was new! No, this classic Mercedes is all about style, and it delivers that in spades. There isn’t a hotel in the world, from Monaco to Dubai to New York, that wouldn’t park this Benz front and center. Best of all, with the number of internal combustion bans looming in major cities over the next few years, it’s a car that will continue to maintain its classic status for years to come.


1968 Ford Mustang Fastback | Zombie Mustang + Video

Mitch Medford is an interesting guy. He’s a hot rodder and drag racer, through and through. He appreciates the classics, and has a refined style that lends itself to clean, uncluttered builds. Clean, uncluttered builds with massive amounts of tire-shredding torque, that is– and it’s that thirst for torque that ultimately let him to build the 800 HP, 10-second 1968 Mustang fastback you see here. It’s also what led him to choose battery power for his “Zombie”.

If Mitch’s Mustang looks familiar, that’s because we covered it on Gas 2 last May— and we’re still wowed by the car’s fit, finish, and outright performance. And, if you think a Tesla Model S is fast, hang on. The 800 HP Zombie rockets from 0-60 in just 2 seconds on its way to a 10.7-second 1/4 mile at 129 miles per hour. In just a few city blocks, the car will top 175 MPH– and it will do all of that without burning a drop of oil. (!)


1972 Volvo 142 | My Grandfather’s Electric Car

Kjell Ekelund is a bit of a tinker, and (like me) a bit of a Volvo enthusiast. More than that, however, he’s an idealist, and a grandfather– which is why he built the car you see here. “I thought it was interesting to put an electric motor (in the 142), for my grandchildren’s sake,” says Ekelund, who seems to want to inspire his grandchildren to build better, cleaner cars. “With ‘My grandfather’s electric car’,” he continues, “they can see what is possible.”

Like the ’65 Benz a few paragraphs back, this EV-converted restomod is no Tesla. Heck, with a top speed of 50 MPH and just 30-40 miles of driving range, it’s barely a high-end golf cart by 2019 standards. Still, it’s a unique and fun way to keep this classic Volvo on the road. Best of all, each 30 mile charge costs Ekelund less than a dollar. That’s 100 miles of driving for just $3– how does that compare to your car’s running costs!?


1977 Porsche 911 | Tesla Carrera E-RWB

We’ve been fans of the guys at California-based EV West for years here, and this approx. 700 HP conversion– based on a classic Porsche 911 and shown off at Las Vegas’ epic SEMA show last fall— isn’t going to do anything to turn us against them!

It’s unfair to call this an EV West build, though. Sure, they provided the EV conversion and know-how, but there is just so much more to this Porsche 356 Ivory-colored 911. For starters, there’s the RWB widebody kit from Dylan Coleman’s Streetfighter LA, along with expertly-chosen details like TRE Motorsport 911R taillights and super-slick, high-intensity headlights up front from 9Eleven. Inside the attention to detail continues, with a seamless blend of leather, Alcantara, chrome, and Burberry plaid that looks like it just “belongs”.

There’s a phenomenal write-up about this particular restomod over at Speedhunters that goes into more depth on the built, Dylan’s motivations behind some of the choices that went into it, and– of course!– lots and lots of photos that I didn’t include in my little “sample set”, above. It is 1,000% worth checking out!

I mean, that’s what I think, anyway. What do you guys think? Are restomod and EV conversions a trend you think will last, or is it just a way for aging hot rodders to stay relevant as their rumbling, V8-powered dragsters start to turn into white elephants? Let us know– and don’t forget to tell us which one of these cars is your favorite!– in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


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