We’ve seen some really cool eco-friendlier conversions in the past week or so, what with the guy who built an electric El Camino, that cool diesel swap Mercedes-Benz did on an old 190D and, of course, the incredibly awesome DIY electric motorcycle Tom Miceli built. It got us thinking — always a dangerous proposition — about what we’d build if we had a garage, a few sacks of cash and maybe a plasma cutter.
More than that, we started wonder what you, our dear readers, would like to see, so we thought we’d ask. Given the time and money, what other cool rides out there are begging for an eco-friendly conversion? Before we turn it over to you guys though, we’ll run down the conversions we’d do if we weren’t, you know, busy with these damn jobs.
Checkers have all the cache of a bench vise. They’re straightforward, dependable and impossible to kill. They’re also cooler than hell. Unfortunately, they weigh just slightly less than a Navy destroyer, which makes getting them going, and doing so economically, a challenge. The solution? Drop a Ford Power Stroke 7.3-liter crate motor into the engine bay — lord knows there’s room. Fill’er up with biodiesel and off you go.
Photo: Flickr / GmanViz
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
So a Checker ain’t your thing. No problem. Here’s a sweet classic every true gearhead loves — the classic ‘57 Chevy. Big, beautiful and a reminder that General Motors once ruled the land. We’d update this baby with a GM Duramax diesel V8, and just for kicks convert it to run on veggie oil. There’s just something so right about a classic ‘57 that smells of French fries while you’re laying down two thick stripes of molten rubber.
Photo: Flickr / 900hp
Volkswagen MK1 Scirocco
Volkswagen makes a sweet diesel version of the new ‘rocco, but of course doesn’t sell it here in the states. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we figured we’d convert a first-gen Scirocco to electric power. Why a ‘rocco? Because they’re so much cooler than electric Rabbits (which are, we admit, still pretty freakin’ cool) and sportier than a DIY electric Passat. Besides –we love those classic lines by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Don’t just go for the eco-cred, get some style in your EV conversion.
Photo: Flickr / Wouter Duijndam
We know we’re gonna take a lot of heat for this one, but before you pile on, let us say this: We would do this conversion only on a Dino with a blown engine, because one of us here at Autopia once bought a Dino with a blown engine then discovered what it costs to rebuild a Dino with a blown engine. So what would we do with it? Wait for someone to total their Tesla Roadster, then shoehorn the drivetrain into a Dino. Yes, someone in Maranello would put out a contract on us, but we’d be driving a cool car until we slept with the fish.
Photo: Flickr / chuckbiscuito
Pretty much all Rivieras through the mid-70s are cool, but to our mind the boat-tails of the early 70s are the best of the bunch. But, like the Checker Marathon, the Riviera is a heavy beast. We were split here at Autopia on what we’d do, with some of us going the Duratec diesel route while others wondered how many freakin’ batteries and how big a motor you’d need to get the damn thing moving if you made it an EV. The way we see if, if Neil Young can electrify a 1959 Lincoln Continental, anything is possible.
Photo: Flickr / Pascal \o/
OK, it’s your turn. Let us know what kind of cool eco-friendlier conversion you’d build if you had the time, the money and, if you don’t know a spark plug from a glowplug, the know-how to do the job. Use the Reddit widget below to submit your project and vote for your favorite.
Main photo of Mercedes engineers installing a 2009 C-Class diesel engine in a 1992 190 D: Mercedes-Benz.
While you can submit as many incredibly awesome eco-conversions as you want, you can only submit one every 30 minutes. No HTML allowed.