To celebrate its Sunderland factory’s 35th anniversary, Nissan turned one of its most iconic vehicles into a one-off EV. Meet the Nissan Newbird, a modified 1980s Bluebird (called a Nissan Altima in North America) with a Leaf EV powertrain and a retro-inspired paint job.
The Nissan Newbird is fully-functional with a 130-mile range, but converting it to an EV wasn’t an easy job. The car’s original 1.8-liter engine and manual gearbox had to be removed and replaced with a Nissan Leaf’s powertrain and 40 kWh battery packs.
Of course, the Leaf’s batteries are a bit heavy. To keep the Nissan Newbird’s weight evenly distributed, Nissan had to split its batteries between the trunk and engine bay—and the car still required a custom suspension to stay light on its feet! Clearly, this scheme worked, as the car reportedly goes from 0 to 62 MPH in about 15 seconds.
But our favorite thing about the Newbird is its style. Nissan stuck some pink and green details over the Newbird’s original powder-blue paint, and the result looks kind of like a funky 80s windbreaker or a retro aerobics outfit. Additionally, the Newbird has a fancy backlight for is front badge, though this backlight only turns on when the car is parked.
Turning a classic (or just plain old) car into an EV is a difficult task. In most cases, it’s far cheaper to just buy a Hyundai Ioniq or similarly-priced EV. But even people that don’t care about cars love these retro EVs—we hope that companies like Nissan and Ford can find cheaper ways to upgrade old cars, or at least build some retro-inspired EVs that stand out from the spaceship-looking cars that are now hitting our roads.
Source: Nissan UK