What Tesla Owners Do When the Thrill Wears Off
Let’s say you weren’t the biggest car guy on the planet. Still, you liked the idea of a Tesla, not to mention the look and feel of going electric, and as an early adopter you attracted a lot of attention heading to the store in your Model S. People wanted to know what it is, how it’s so quick, and why it’s so quiet and green. Within a few years, every one of your friends had one, so the novelty wore off. You went back to your eco-friendly lifestyle and forgot what it was like to get attention in a parking lot.
But you missed it a little bit. What you really wanted was a classic Lincoln out of Goodfellas or a Mustang fastback like Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt, except you didn’t want it running on gas. You wanted a badass muscle car with the electric balls of a performance Tesla. In this situation, you more or less had to go to Blood Shed Motors in Austin and get yourself a Zombie. (For the baddest, fastest Zombie ever, see the 222.) Then your new-old car would start getting you attention all over again.
Tesla to Zombie
Mitch Medford, owner of Blood Shed Motors, did not see that coming when he started the business of turning vintage cars into electric performance beasts.
“I was really surprised when I saw who our first customers were,” Medford told Autos Cheat Sheet in an interview. “We had a few other projects we were working on, but the ones who said, ‘Here’s a lot of money, do it right, cradle-to-grave’ … they were Tesla owners. I really thought most of the older vintage car conversions were gonna come from the hot rod resto-mod world.”
Instead, it was people with plenty of cash on hand who wanted to graduate from a luxury sedan to something more head-turning without blasting black smoke out of the tailpipe.
“They still want the attention, still want the green element, still want to go electric, and they have a lot of disposable income,” Medford said. “So they came to us. The two cars we have in production right now are from Tesla owners and the next one on deck is, too.”
Cars in the works
Once you hear what Blood Shed is working on, the head-turning aspect is easy to see, starting with a ’66 Mustang convertible Medford’s team is customizing for a major Hollywood producer.
“It’s not gonna be a Zombie in the sense of insane performance like the 222 but it’s gonna be more street-able, you know? It will still be powerful, but it’ll have 125 miles of realistic range too,” Medford said. “It’s about as fast as a modern Mustang GT, which puts it light years ahead of a ’66 Mustang. This car is gonna go with AC power and we’ll use lithium polymer cells [for the battery] instead of lithium ion.”
But there’s more than muscle cars on the docket. Blood Shed is branching out into full-blown creepers, including a ’64 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors in matte black. “That car’s so cool I don’t want to give it back,” Medford said, unable to contain his enthusiasm. “It’s gonna be the ultimate gangster street prowler. It’s gonna slam all the way down, and we’re doing AC on that one as well. Again, it won’t be Zombie-like performance but it’ll be more powerful than it ever was from Ford.”
Further down the road is a ’58 ‘Vette and a ’78 Lincoln Mark IV, another one Medford was excited about. “It’s not what you think of vintage muscle, but it was the last of the big Lincolns – the biggest Lincoln coupe ever made. It’s a triple-black car, just beautiful, like that ’64 Continental.”
In our experience, everyone who sees a Zombie wants one, but they don’t come cheap. But does a Model S P100D come cheap? Maybe it should have been obvious, then, what the Zombie drivers drove before they went to the Blood Shed.