Converting classic cars into electric vehicles is a big trend these days, and Nissan created one to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its Sunderland, UK manufacturing plant.
Nissan is celebrating 35 years of production at its Sunderland plant in the UK. To celebrate the event, the Japanese automaker created an electric-only version of the British-made Bluebird, calling it the Newbird.
From the outside, the Nissan Newbird looks like one of only 187,178 Bluebirds produced at the Sunderland factory between 1986 and 1990. Its differences include no exhaust pipes, Newbird badging, and some road markings. Colorful stripes on the bodywork, and illuminated Nissan logos on the grille.
Although there are visual similarities to the Bluebird, as you can imagine, the big, noticeable changes are hidden beneath the Newbird’s classic body style. Specifically, the old-fashioned engine and transmission have been replaced with a modern and fully electric powertrain borrowed from the second-generation Nissan Leaf.
The conversion work was done by Durham-based Kinghorn Electric Vehicles, and includes an e-motor, inverter, and 40 kWh battery pack split between the front engine compartment and rear trunk to separate better weight gain.
Thanks to all of the above, the Newbird can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 15 seconds, while the driving range is estimated to be around 209 km between full charges. Those numbers are significantly less than the Leaf model currently in production, but good enough for a “brick” car with used electric car parts.
To support the extra battery mass, the Newbird has been fitted with its own custom suspension system. It also has upgraded power steering, brakes, and heating, which is compatible with electric powertrains. Another interesting detail is that the vehicle’s battery charge status is displayed through the fuel gauge on the original instrument cluster.
This one-of-a-kind electric convertible was created for display purposes only and is not authorized for general street use. However, it will be an exciting start to the transformation at the Sunderland plant, where more than 10.5 million Nissan vehicles have been produced since 1986. Today, the plant employs around 6,000 people, up from 430 workers started 35 years ago.