8 Classic American Cars Perfect for Electric Supercar Conversion
The quickest production car on the road these days is a Tesla Model S. Zombie 222, the quickest Mustang of all time and the quickest street car on earth, is a modified ’68 fastback with an electric motor that can hit 60 miles per hour in 1.78 seconds. What’s the world coming to, you ask?
Electric supercar performance has made its way into the mainstream, that’s what. The thrill of battery-powered acceleration has become an addiction for everyone from first-time drivers to the first wave of Tesla owners. What’s been missing is the classic muscle-car style: Down at Blood Shed Motors in Austin, Mitch Medford and his team behind the Zombie 222 aim to solve this problem with cars like the Shelby-beating electric Mustang and other converted American classics.
The next wave includes a 1964 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors and blood-red interior. Medford describes the effect as “having your cake and eating it, too.” After converting to electric power, you can get better performance than the original ever managed and don’t have to fill up on gas every few hours. You get to leave Lamborghini and Porsche owners in the dust when they try you at a stoplight and expect a stock engine under your vintage Camaro’s hood.
Best of all, you do it in one of the most stylish rides on the road. Thinking about the endless possibilities for converting classics to electric power, we asked Medford about cars he’d like to tackle next. After narrowing down his list and tacking on a few hell-raisers we’d love to see, the lineup came into focus. Here are eight vintage American rides that are perfect for the electric Zombie conversion.
1. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
While the 1967 and ’68 Camaro had a smoother, rounder quality about them, the ’69 model delivered the lower, sharper, meaner look that cries out for rebirth as a Zombie. Outside of limited-edition trims like the ZL1 (pictured) from the Camaro museum, most ’69 models were not especially quick. Giving a ’69 Camaro electric superpowers would change that and leave streetlight challengers in the dust. It wouldn’t have the same sound, but it would have more power than any factory Camaro ever did.
2. 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible
The 1959 Cadillac Series 62 convertible might be one of the most attention-grabbing cars of all time, and Medford said he like to convert one into a Zombie for himself some day. Anyone with a taste for massive fins and bullet taillights can see why. You need a bit of space to house a 19-foot-long beauty that was also 6-and-a-half feet wide, but it would make for the best Sunday driver around.
3. 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
Fans of classic car movies know the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Magnum in white as Barry Newman’s ride of choice in Vanishing Point, but it works in any color, including the metallic green model pictured from a Hemmings auction. Fewer than 20,000 R/T models were sold in the Challenger’s first year on the market. That means a modified electric model would be a shock to any driver giving you the nod at a stoplight.
4. 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
After converting the most iconic Mustang into the Zombie 222, why not turn to the original Mach 1? Mitch Medford would like to do just that. Think of the possibilities here. For a car that peaked at 335 horsepower and 440 pounds-feet of torque, the Blood Shed Motors crew could outfit it with electric power topping 800 horses and 1,800 pounds-feet of torque. Needless to say, no challenger would see anything close coming when you slam the accelerator.
5. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Medford’s taste extends well beyond muscle cars. He’s exploring the possibilities of a 1956 Ford F100 pickup, a 1940s Mercury cruiser, and other models outside the epic late-’60s period of American auto reign. Case in point: the gargantuan 1957 Chevy Bel Air Sport Coupe, which Medford insisted be on the list. The 1955 model was the Indy 500 pace car and by 1957 fuel-injected models were torching the competition in NASCAR. With the hood ornaments and epic grille, an electrified ’57 Bel Air would regain its mojo on the street.
6. 1950 Oldsmobile 88
When Little Richard blew the top off rock ‘n’ roll with “Rip It Up” (1957), he was picking up his date in an Oldsmobile 88. Looking back, the 88 was more about style than power when it debuted in 1949 — it only packed 145 horses. Models using the 371 cubic-inch engine managed 277 horsepower later on in the 1950s. A car with this type of commanding presence on the road deserves even better. Once completed, it would be the ride to take on the ferry to Cuba, where you’d show Havana’s best the next wave of mods.
7. 1958 Chevrolet Corvette
Unlike some of the hypotheticals on this list, Blood Shed Motors actually has a 1958 Chevy Corvette up next in its production schedule. This four-headlight, chrome-heavy classic is an ideal choice for obvious reasons. Collectors and enthusiasts in the know would expect engines maxing at around 290 horsepower. While we didn’t ask Medford what the force of the modified ‘Vette will be, we can be sure it will blow any existing model out of the water.
8. 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV
Medford has a soft spot for modified “gangster creepers,” and few would be able to compete with the 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV once it became a Zombie. Covering about 19 feet in length and knocking you out with its iconic 1970s style, this car has no peers. Its one weakness back in the day was acceleration, taking about 12 seconds to hit 60. In the Blood Shed, it would get over 100 miles of EV range and become a lot quicker. Medford says there is one in the pipeline, so get ready.