A new British company has launched an EV conversion service for iconic classic cars, replacing their original oily bits with high-powered battery-electric hardware. The Silverstone-based startup is developing three models for market, a 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, 1953 Jaguar XK120 and 1956 Rolls-Royce Cloud, the first examples of each currently undergoing transformations in the workshop.
While the work is undoubtedly substantial, Lunaz stresses that it’s being careful to complement each car’s original character, factoring weight distribution into the earliest CAD models to ensure similar handling balance. Overall performance will be enhanced with the conversions, thanks to the instantaneous torque on offer. Engineers have given the lighter XK120 an 80kWh battery pack, while the much heavier Phantom V requires a 120kWh alternative. The former is on course to produce 375hp and 516lb ft of torque, more than doubling its original statistics.
The work goes beyond the powertrain transplant, of course, with Lunaz also offering bespoke restoration to all other components and modern additions such as satnav and WiFi. The firm’s engineers – some of which have come from Aston Martin, Ferrari and Formula 1 – will modernise chassis components and fit regenerative braking hardware, while a fast-charging plug will be placed where the fuel filler used to be. But the visible changes will be in keeping with the original car’s appearance, as illustrated by the pictured models, which for the most part look completely standard and original.
Still, nobody would be silly enough to deny that such transformations will not sit well with everyone – particularly dedicated fans of the originals. The Jaguar’s straight-six engine in particular has an ever-lasting legacy that stretches to this day, so the process of removing it does rather feel like replacing a village church spire with a mobile phone mast. But Lunaz makes a compelling argument for its case, stating that it is not targeting longstanding owners of these legendary models, but rather enthusiasts who are seeking a different type of experience.
A spokesman told PH that the company’s products are for those wanting “reliable, zero-emission running” combined with the iconic design of a classic car, and that it expects to “bring new people to classic car ownership”. You can’t really argue with that. And unlike Jaguar and the customers of its factory-run EV conversions (which include the E-Type Zero), Lunaz doesn’t think buyers of its electric classics will ever want to return their cars to petrol power, illustrating the different target market – although such a task is theoretically possible if all the bits are kept.
So how much will this service set you back? Prices will be entirely unique per vehicle due to the customisation on offer, but the least amount of cash you’d need to hand over for one of these cars is £350,000. Which is about the same price for a brand-new Phantom VIII. But as far as style, grace and coolness is concerned, this old stuff has that car beat one thousand times over. That Lunaz’s conversion means they can now be driven into city centres the world over and not require constant TLC for ageing mechanical parts will no doubt appeal to some. Ensuring the sight of such cars on the road for future generations is also to be welcomed. Right?