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Nissan Newbird electric restomod


Nissan Newbird Is Your New Rad-Era Restomod Icon

Nissan takes a 1986 Bluebird into the 21st century with 2022 Nissan LEAF power!

Built to celebrate 35 years of car production in Sunderland, the Nissan Newbird is a resto-modded 1986 Bluebird sedan that’s been restored and renewed, then stuffed full of modern LEAF-based EV power.

“The ‘Newbird’ represents all that is great about our plant — past present and future — as we celebrate 35 years of manufacturing in Sunderland,” Alan Johnson, Vice President, Manufacturing, at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said in a statement. “We have a rich heritage of building great cars, right from the original Bluebird model, and our fantastic team is now leading the way as we drive towards an exciting electrified, carbon neutral, future.”

As far as builds go, the Newbird is pretty clean, with an under-hood drivetrain installation that looks like it could have come from the factory.

Clean install under the hood, image courtesy Nissan.

Even the 40 kWh Nissan LEAF battery pack, positioned somewhat clumsily in the trunk and fed into from a charging port built into the original car’s fuel filler door, is no worse than, say, a 2018 Ford Focus Electric.

Nissan Newbird Gets Charged Up

It’s still a fuel filler door, image courtesy Nissan.

Nissan Newbird electric restomod battery

A bit like a Focus Electric, image courtesy Nissan.

And the best part? This cleaner, greener Nissan Bluebird is even comparable to the original gas engine in 1986. Range from a single charge is estimated at around 130 miles (subject to environmental factors and driving style), with a 0-62 mph sprint (0-100kph, natch) taking just under 15 seconds.

Inside, you’ll find hardly any indication that this ’86 Bluebird has been modified at all. There’s a drive select knob where the shifter once was. Beyond that, it looks just like the original Bluebird, and the builders of this car should know: there are fully 19 staff members still working in the Sunderland factory today who originally helped put the Bluebird together back in the 1980s!

Stock-looking interior, image courtesy Nissan.

Given our location so close to the Sunderland plant, working on this Bluebird conversion was a great project to be part of,” says George Kinghorn, head of EV conversion shop Kinghorn Electric Vehicles and project manager of the Newbird build.

“When Nissan opened the Sunderland factory it gave the North East a big economic boost. The Bluebird was first off the line, so it represents the start of that optimism, progress and global industrial footprint that’s continued to this day … converting older vehicles to electric gives you everyday use of these iconic vintage models, but they’re just as enjoyable to drive, they’re more reliable and importantly don’t produce harmful emissions when driving. With this project we think we’ve created a car that captures the soul of the Nissan Bluebird, with the heart of a Nissan LEAF.”

The Nissan Newbird follows the Hyundai Grandeur EV restomod in overall theme, but is much more road-ready, I think. More product, less concept car, you know? I love it.

That’s my take, anyway. What’s yours? Take another look at the images above, then let us know what you think of the Newbird concept in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Source | Images: Nissan, via AutoExpress UK.

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Written By

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.


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