Earlier this month, we discussed the idea of electrifying classic cars. I talked to several people and decided to work at a store in Austin, Texas. After reviewing the process, cost and timeline, I placed a deposit. Remember there is a one-year waiting list before you can get a place in the queue to start working.
Step 2: Determine a model and date range to convert. I chose cars from the Porsche 911 G series (1973-1989) (more on the G-Series here). They are old enough to have the look and feel of a classic car but new enough to resemble a modern 911. I love the Turbo look, with the flared rear fenders and ridiculous whale tail. In their day, turbos were notoriously difficult to manage — rear weight biased, turbo lag with a sudden, bam! A lot of energy moves the weight of the car. “Never lift off” was the advice to keep your foot on the gas – ignore it and you had a very tail-happy attitude that was hard to recover from. No wonder the turbo was called the “widow maker.”
With this in mind, I began the search to find a base car to convert. You want something nice — good paint, nice interior, strong brakes, suspension and steering — but not nice enough that you want to pay a premium. Lowering car prices is a strong market for Porsche engines and transmissions.
I flew into LAX the day before to Futureproof to look at a few cars, but they were a bit pricey for their shabby condition (eg, this 1978 Porsche 911SC). Lots of cars present well online but are very rough in real life — this beautiful light green metallic 78 is a perfect example. All it takes is a few cars of any given vintage to understand what makes for a solid car in good shape for an EV conversion.
The seller’s reputation is also important. The 1983 below wasn’t my favorite color combo, but went for a very fair price from a seller with a good rep. I thought about this 1987 Cassis Red Metallic with Ivory Leather interior, but the auction reserve was not met. (G50 engine + trans specifically sought after). I’d hate to part with an exact numbers-matching ICE 911 in great condition, so cars that have been modded or had engine swaps are at the top of my list. I really liked this example of a backdated 1976 Porsche 911S Coupe 3.2L 5-speed, but it was too nice (read: too expensive) to take apart.
The best condition/year/color combo for me was this 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe G50 in gorgeous Marine Blue Metallic paint with silver gray leather interior (I got it after it was sold). $75k for the car, minus $20k for the engine/transmission/exhaust would make it a reasonable base car to start the process.
Which gives you some idea of the cost: assume 50-60ish for the starter car, then the EV hardware (motor, battery, transformer, charger, controller etc) runs about the same. Add in the engineering talent and labor, and by the time you’re done, you’ve spent the equivalent of a very nice 2023 Porsche 911.
The key difference is that about 10,000 new ICE 911s are sold each year; An EV converted 1970s or 80s era Porsche is (for now) one of a kind.
Anyway, I’ll keep readers updated on my progress. Would be a fun project!
Source: Bring A Trailer
1978 Porsche 911SC