Replacing gasoline-powered engines in classic cars with electric motors has progressed from niche cottage industry to legitimate resto-modding, and now some of the most valuable and sought-after luxury classics are becoming targets for powertrain transplants. Enter Lunaz Design, the British startup intent on restoring and electrifying classic British motoring icons.
Lunaz is putting together comprehensive powertrain packages individually catered to the vehicles it is restoring. Its package for the 1953 Jaguar XK120, for example, consists of an 80-kwh battery pack mated to a motor producing 375 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The larger 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V gets a monster 120-kwh battery, which is bigger than anything fitted to a contemporary EV for common consumption.
Given that Rolls-Royce's mission has always been serene speed and supreme comfort, removing one of the key sources of NVH should only add to the appeal.
Those won't be the only models Lunaz converts. The company's powertrain system is modular, so aside from platform-specific needs (such as mounting and drivetrain compatibility), there are few restrictions when it comes to choosing Lunaz's next project.
"Our approach differs from other businesses in this new market as we will not be marque specific. We will develop and manufacture a modular set of electrical and electronic components that will allow us to convert cars from many different marques," Lunaz says on its website.
Each car also gets modern EV features, like fast-charging capability and regenerative braking. The suspensions, steering, and brakes are updated to handle the EV power, and traction control and cruise control are added. The interiors also get modern conveniences like infotainment systems, navigation, and onboard wi-fi.
Lunas will begin taking orders in November with prices starting around $450,000 based on current exchange rates.
The practice of electrifying classics is becoming so mainstream that even some automakers are getting in on the action. Just last year, Jaguar announced a conversion program for the classic E-Type. That kit packed a 295-hp motor and 40-kwh battery pack good for 170 miles of range. Most of the hardware was lifted straight out of the company's I-Pace electric crossover.
Not to be left out, Aston Martin jumped in with a reversible electric conversion for some of its classic models, with the first being a 1970 DB6 MkII Volante that shares the E-Type's specs.