If you’re a fan of classic electric car conversions, you’re going to want to see this electric Nissan Bluebird, or as Nissan calls it, the “Newbird.” Nissan just revealed the EV in conjunction with the 35th anniversary of production at the Sunderland, UK, plant. Back in 1986, the Nissan Bluebird was the first car off the line at this plant.
Today, this Bluebird has new life breathed into it thanks to the powertrain out of a Nissan Leaf and a snazzy new paint job. The original engine and transmission were removed and replaced with a Leaf’s motor, inverter and 40 kWh battery pack. The pack itself was split into two parts to make it fit. Half the battery modules are under the hood, and the other half are in the trunk. Nissan says this arrangement gives the “Newbird” a properly even weight distribution.
Nissan also devised a custom suspension setup that could handle the added weight of all the electric powertrain equipment — that sounds like something that any would-be electric restomod project needs to take into consideration. Beyond the suspension, Nissan updates all the vital systems, adding power steering, electric braking and a modern heating system.
A number of thoughtful touches throughout the car make us smile. For example, the hood badge gets an LED backlight as a small hint of its electric power hidden under the skin. Recharging is done through the car’s original fuel flap. Pop it open, and you reveal the charging port. Even the original fuel gauge works, as it’s wired up to correspond to the car’s remaining charge.
When you do plug in, Nissan says the maximum charging speed is 6.6 kW. Range on a full battery is 130 miles, and the 0-62 mph time is a super-slow 15 seconds. That said, being fast isn’t the point of a car like this.