As published in Adobe2 magazine.
Tania Jacobs goes for a spin with Dennis Lowe in his classic Mercedes to discover how Retroelectic have successfully combined old-school prestige with futuristic flair.
Owning a classic car is rarely about efficiency and speed. Instead, it’s much more about experience, style, exclusivity and craftsmanship. Their appeal isn’t limited to car aficionados, but lovers of history, engineering, design and all the finer things in life. Many owners love the retro style and feel of a car from a particular era or have childhood memories of a certain model or loved one who owned such a vehicle. They want to recreate that feeling.
As any owner will tell you, classic cars have their own personalities. They also open the door (literally) to a whole new community with car club membership opportunities, networking events, advice and new friendships, so it’s little wonder that classic cars evoke strong emotional responses. However, the world is forever moving forward.
Electric vehicle (EV) sales have tripled over the past three years, from nearly three million sold worldwide in 2020 to 10 million last year. To put that figure into perspective, for every 20 new cars sold around the world last year, three were electric. Government legislation and stricter emission standards are helping accelerate the adoption of electric cars. By the end of 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predict that some 14 million electric cars will be sold – a 35% increase from 2022.
So, while there’s no doubt the future is electric, this doesn’t necessarily mean we all need to start thinking about dusk sheeting our beloved four-wheel friends and much adored classic cars, as an EV conversion similar to Dennis Lowe’s Mercedes, may be the solution.
As Dennis drives towards us, we are in awe of the distinctive, sleek red exterior and chic leather trim. It’s no surprise that Dennis chose this model based on its striking looks, as he says so himself: “This is the coolest car on the planet.” But the biggest gasp comes when he announces: “You might be surprised to find out it’s running on electric power.” Dennis explains that this beauty of engineering has undergone a complete transformation at the hands of the team at Retroelectric Limited, turning the elegant 230 SL from a rarely used car to one that can be driven with ease in the dawn of the day of electric.
However, bringing such an icon into the modern world is so much more than aesthetics: “With the 230 SL in particular, the owner faced issues keeping up with modern traffic, constant maintenance and many parts failing over time,” as Tim Hustwayte, Commercial Director of Retroelectric explains. “By replacing the internal combustion engine with a modern electric motor, Dennis can drive off with a smooth start at the touch of a button and can enjoy an effortless driving experience.”
In his own words, it’s “utterly maintenance-free.” And with the torque of an electric motor, there’s certainly no more dawdling at traffic lights. The sustainability factor can’t be overlooked either. Zero tailpipe emissions avoid harmful pollutants and increased reliability means that the 230 SL is very much at home in an ever more electro-centric urban landscape.
As an added boost, it’s not just this car that reaps the benefits of the conversion. Tim adds: “The old engine has been used to repair another 230 SL, one that might have otherwise been destined for the scrap heap.”
So, have the days of sitting in the garage unused become a thing of the past? “Indeed, they have,” Dennis smiles. “Whether cruising through town, dropping my kids off at school or simply heading to the shops, my Mercedes has become a timeless classic that can do it all.” This is what converting to electric enables so beautifully; allowing owners to enjoy the timeless elegance of their car, sustainability and without compromising on everyday practicality. Find more information on EV conversions at www.retroelectrics.co.uk