Trendy plug-in vehicles are the new storm headed the way of the auto industry and are beginning to take shape beyond the average consumer’s driveway. But a car doesn’t have to be new in order to be trendy—it can pass simply by being rare or expensive, and that’s exactly what is attracting the ultra-wealthy collectors to retrofit their classics with a sense of modern splendor.
Lunaz knows this. The classic design company hails from Silverstone in the United Kingdom, and it has made its mark by retrofitting EV drivetrains into luxury and classic British cars, namely Rolls-Royce. On Friday, the bespoke shop showed the world its latest project: a battery-powered 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V.
Before we get into the beautiful design bits, let’s take a moment to talk about the technology that went into making this project. This is the very first restomod to be fitted with Lunaz’s new proprietary EV drivetrain, effectively turns the gas-guzzling leviathan into a more efficient lion. That’s not said lightly either, given that the ’61 Phantom V is not exactly what one might call slender.
The nearly 20-foot-long Phantom V was quite the behemoth, weighing in at 5,600 pounds and powered by a 183-horsepower, 6.25-liter V8. Lunaz plucked the inefficient powerplant from the car and instead placed its own electric powertrain that pumps out a more substantial 375 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Juice is sucked through a more-than-ample a 120-kilowatt-hour battery pack which the company confidently feels can provide a 300-mile range.
The build is started by stripping the Rolls-Royce down to bare metal. Lunaz then 3D scans the shell and fully restores it to near-factory specifications before even beginning the conversion. Every last detail is taken into account, from the color scheme to the seat stitching and even refinishing the original woodwork. There are no corners cut or expenses spared, especially when it comes to implementing modern conveniences into the car’s otherwise 60-year-old figure.
That means a modern infotainment system next to the driver, ice-cold air conditioning, screens for rear occupants to enjoy films and mirror their cell phone to and, of course, an integrated bar service custom-fit to the owner’s favorite bottle of booze.
“We believe that preserving the most beautiful cars in the world is vital engineering,” says Lunaz’s technical lead and managing director, Jon Hilton. “Our commitment to perfection is felt in every weld, stitch and line of code.”
Lunaz may not have been the first company to retrofit an EV drivetrain into a classic Rolls-Royce, but it could be the first to bring it to market. It is undeniably of the most complete and notable examples, carefully stuffing its aftermarket offering into a package that looks factory new. And that’s no surprise, given that this also isn’t Lunaz’s first stab at converting a pinnacle of classic opulence into a modernized work of electric art. The shop has also worked to build a battery-powered platform for a 1953 Jaguar XK120 and 1956 Rolls-Royce Cloud, meaning that Lunaz and its craftsmen are quite familiar with revitalizing an old design.
Lunaz plans to open up 30 build slots for electrified Rolls Royce cars, but be forewarned—it’s not cheap. Customers who choose to convert a Silver Cloud will fork out at least $458,000 (350,000 British Pounds), while those that want a Phantom will be on the hook for no less than $654,000 (500,000 British Pounds).