Earlier this year, the car world was whipped into a frenzy by a sleek EV restomod of the Hyundai Grandeur. The one-off creation showed that electric cars could be cool, if they were inspired by a cyberpunk vision of 1980s luxury. But now, Nissan is out to prove that this isn’t the only way to make batteries better.
To mark 35 years since the opening of Nissan’s factory in Sunderland, UK, the car maker has hopped on the electric restomod bandwagon. But while Hyundai leaned into the 1980s sci-fi aesthetic, Nissan has ramped up the 80s nostalgia in a different way.
Instead of a sleek black paint scheme and a plush velvet interior, Nissan has gone full New Wave and created a car that wouldn’t look out of place in a Human League music video.
The EV is based off the Nissan Bluebird, which was the first car to roll off the production line at Nissan’s Sunderland factory. The Newbird harks back to 1986, when A-Ha and Wham! topped the charts, and the world was captivated by the adventures of Maverick and Goose.
So, as you’d expect, the car is finished with a bright blue paint scheme that adds vibrant green and pink flourishes. Inside, rather than the luxurious finishes Hyundai fitted to its restomod, Nissan has reverted everything to stock.
That means the inside is wrapped in those strange, textured, rubbery plastics that seemed to come fitted to every old beater I rode in growing up.
Also, each surface and feature inside the car is boxy and angular, save for the rim of the steering wheel. And, the carpets and floors are covered in stormy grey and blue fabrics that fit the car’s vibe down to a T.
While the interior is everything you’d expect from a 1980s Nissan, the powertrain is anything but.
In order to electrify this retro sedan, Nissan has ripped out its ageing drivetrain and replaced it with the internals found in its electric Leaf.
The original petrol combustion engine and gearbox were removed and replaced with the motor, inverter and 40kWh battery pack from the Leaf. In the Newbird, the battery modules have been split between the engine bay and boot for optimised weight distribution.
Nissan has also updated the power steering, braking and heating systems to enable them to be electrically powered. A custom suspension was also installed to support the additional weight from the battery packs.
The car also comes with a few extra flourishes, like an LED backlit Nissan bonnet badge.
The conversion of the Nissan Bluebird was managed by Kinghorn Electric Vehicles, an EV conversion business in England. Sadly, it’s just a one-off project car that was created to mark 35 years since the opening of Nissan’s Sunderland plant.
So, don’t expect to see the Newbird EV blasting round city streets blaring out Jermaine Stewart hits uninterrupted by an ageing engine note.