Fresh off the back of Hyundai’s genre-defining restomod build, Nissan has jumped on the bandwagon. Dubbed the Newbird, the newly-unveiled 1986 Bluebird Restomod celebrates 35 years of Nissan U.K. production in the best possible way – with an electric powertrain that arrives straight from the future.
It goes without saying, but the trend of automakers putting electric motors in vintage vehicles is nothing new. This time around, however, the Japanese manufacturer has doubled down on innovation, blending the iconic hatchback body with the industry-changing motor found in the brand’s ultra-portable Leaf.
Complete with a 40.0-kWh battery pack, the Newbird motor sees cells divided between the cargo area and under the hood. According to Nissan, there are also additional modifications extended to the car’s HVAC, brakes, suspension, power steering, and lighting. Specifically, you can find the charging port behind the original fuel-filler flap, with the stock fuel gauge displaying the battery’s state of charge. But aside from the electric additions, the exterior remains largely unchanged.
Nissan has elevated the silhouette with LED taillights, LED backlighting for the Nissan badge, and a typically ’80s hyper-colour finish. A one-off, the Newbird hasn’t been truly tested on the road, however, Nissan is claiming an estimated range of 209km and a 0-100km/h time of under 15 seconds.
“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. “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.”
The new release commemorates the iconic Sunderland Production plant, which saw Bluebird Job 1 as the first car off the line. Over 180,000 Bluebird units were crafted from 1986 to 1990, and as of 2022, Nissan is pushing for greater environmental performance. The Japanese automaker announced a major expansion to renewable energy generation at Sunderland in December, with work to be completed by May 2022.
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