Classic 1973 Porsche 914 Turned Electric Is a True Labor of Love
1 September 2020 - autoevolution
Assuming you need any more convincing that electric vehicles at the very least deserve a fighting chance, here’s a story for you: one man worked for two years to convert his classic Porsche into an EV.
Mark Bush is a retired nurse and actor who moved from California to Hawaii sometime in 2015. He bought one of the cheapest (and less popular) Porsche models for a steal and then set out the ultimate goal for himself: convert it into an electric vehicle.
Porsche 914s are popular cars for conversions, both because they're lightweight and comparatively affordable. Bush, for one, paid under $2,500 for this one, though he invested a great deal of time and effort into completely restoring it, while also converting it. His wasn't a project for fame or money, but a labor of love, as he explains in an interview with Barcroft Cars from earlier this year.
Designed by Porsche and VW, the 914 was sold between 1969 and 1976. Bush's is a 1973 model but it's not "completely spick and span" because, after the conversion, he's been using it as a daily driver. The conversion itself took two years of constant work, with Bush taking time off work so he could tinker in the garage. That said, he wouldn't say it was a chore, since he loved every step of the way.
For the conversion, Bush tore the Porsche apart. He then removed the engine and the drivetrain, the exhaust, and ultimately every part of the car, before putting it back together again. He put in an HPEVS AC50 motor instead of the VW internal combustion one, and a 126v battery pack in containers he had a friend make for him on commission.
Because Bush likes the experience of driving stick, he was adamant about keeping the original Porsche transmission. So he made sure his brand-new EV had manual five-speed transmission.
This all-electric Porsche can hit top speeds of 175 mph (281 kph), with a 0 to 60 time in some 6 seconds, and has a 100-mile (160 km) range on a single charge. These may not be very impressive figures for today's EVs, but considering they come with a 1973 car and at a fraction of the price, they're actually quite neat.
This is one of the most important lessons Bush has learned from the experience, he says. The biggest was that he loved to tinker and breathe new life into a gas-guzzling classic, but the second best was that everyone should give EVs a try. For that to happen, they would have to be more price-accessible or, at the very least, for people to be willing to put in the work for a conversion. You don't even have to be an engineer for that, he swears.
"The acceleration on them is pretty quick," he told Hawaii Public Radio in an older interview. "And the fact that you can drive a vehicle and not be part of the problem. People can realize you don't have to have a Tesla or Leaf. You can have any vehicle and make it an electric vehicle."
Along the way, you may even come across your next best friend.
"I know every sound, every little nuance of it because I had it completely apart and put it all back together again. This car has been just an amazing friend, almost. I think everyone should have an electric vehicle," he says in the video below.
For anyone but a gearhead, this is a romanticized take on this DIY story. But to have such an old car still being used on the daily, enjoying a second lease at life, with zero pollution, is an admirable feat.