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The Best Cars to Convert to Electric

With the electric vehicle revolution well underway, a new generation of electric-car lovers has been born. As it becomes easier and more affordable to replace the ICE engines of your favourite classic cars with an electric battery engine, you are not only helping to future-proof your vehicle, but also to meet fuel availability concerns as well!

Of course, there will always be arguments around replacing the original engines, which some see as removing the history and identity of a classic car, but it comes down to what works best for you and your lifestyle. Most retrofit systems are fully reversable and classic cars converted to electric will be easier to use, far more reliable and a lot of fun to drive.

With that in mind, here’s our list of some of the best classic cars to convert to electric:

VW Beetle

Known as The People’s Cars, and with a modest 25 hp, the Beetle enthusiasts amongst us are typically not in it for the speed. But when it comes to some of the best classic cars to convert to electric, the Beetle is right up there. It's easy pace appeals to many different people, as does its distinctive shape which makes it instantly recognisable.

As a relatively cheap and easily upgradeable vehicle, with parts that are simple to source, the Beetle is also "much faster with an electric motor in the back,” [source: driving.co.uk].

Find out more about our Beetle Conversions.

Porsche 911

Considered to be the consummate ‘driver’s car’, the Porsche 911 has set the benchmark for other sports cars for the past 60 years, and whilst its design has aged beautifully, its performance, in some cases, has not fared so well.

Therefore, for the Porsche lovers amongst you, it is good to know that there are options to improve its performance but retain its drivability. Various electric motor packages exist for the early air-cooled Porsche's, while the 964 is also popular with higher performance motor installs.

Jaguar E type

When the car was revealed to the press on 15 March 1961 a true icon was born with its stylish bodywork setting it apart from the other cars in production at the time.

Yet, with a battery similar in size and weight to the original E-Type's straight-six and a motor which sits just behind it, the weight difference is really negligible. This big car really deserves a torque laden electric motor and a beautifully smooth drive, making a converted E type a truly iconic classic EV.

Fiat 500

Originally dubbed 'The Cinquecento’, Fiat released this functional, economical car for post-war Italy in July 1957. It rose in popularity through the 60's and into the 70's with reinventions of the body over the years, including a sunroof!

This classic car now lends itself very naturally to upgrades and modifications with a manual transmission and classic road handling. Small EV motors are the order of the day and with a modest battery pack the weight is going to remain low, making it a great city electric vehicle. More info here.

Land Rover Defender

After production ended in 2019 after 7 decades of its iconic presence on our roads, the Land Rover has grown in popularity. But with its gas guzzling reputation, more and more owners are looking for ways to keep their Defender on the roads in a more sustainable way.

With an electric conversion, the running costs of the car is not the only aspect which is improved. In fact, with instant torque, the converted Land Rover Defender makes an excellent case as the perfect donor for work or play. More info here.


Mercedes 230SL Pagoda

To finish our list, we went with a classic 1960’s icon. The Mercedes 230SL Pagoda. Beloved of movie stars and race car drivers, the glamourous German roadster was launched in 1963 to great fanfare.

The effortless design is now truly paired with an effortless electric drive, making our final pick another great option for a converted classic.

To the future

With the next few decades seeing changes that will give greater preferences to electric over traditional cars such as fewer fuel stations and an increase in electric charging, it makes sense to look at ways of keep these fantastic motoring icons on the roads.

No matter your reason for the conversion, whether for environmental reasons, to reduce regular maintenance, or for better performance, you can be certain that our classic car electric conversions will always maintain the original vehicle's aesthetic and design.


At Retro Electric we take what is truly great about classic cars and improve upon the parts that aren’t by taking the beautiful, iconic cars of the 1960s and 1970s and refitting them with clean electric engines, luxurious interiors and choice upgrades.

Give us a call or email us to discuss your own classic car: 0203 488 4915 info@retroelectrics.co.uk

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