After owning a few powerful and fast cars, it’s safe to say that it’s very hard to downgrade to a ‘normal’ car. But that’s exactly what I have done in order to fund my electric dream, a car that is so powerful it will lift the front wheels and leave Tesla’s, turbos and v8’s in the rear view mirror but also a car that is powered by nothing but the sun. It will also be a unique car that will be a pleasure to not only look at but to drive as well on a daily basis. Something I can do the shopping with but take to the track and drag way on weekends.
It was all a dream until enough was enough and the late nights of planning came to the decision that I would sell my petrol powered performance car piece by piece until I had the money for the project. The next day I began to remove peripherals and accessories from my STI powered SF5 Forester which had almost every component replaced or upgraded over the 4 years I had it until my electric dream started to become reality.
My research had led me to a handful of cars suitable for the performance conversion I had envisioned. I didn’t want this to be a ‘normal’ car. It had to be special. Something about 70’s cars really appeal visually but also practically. They don’t have all the electronics and powered aids that the modern cars do. This era also had some of the best kerb weight’s due to the lighter sheet metal gauges and less creature comforts and luxuries. There were also a lot of small lightweight front engined rear wheel drive cars as they were still working out how to cram an engine and gearbox in front of the firewall. The final tick of approval was the price vs quality of the car. As the donor car budget was 5k something from this era which was ‘restorable’ was also affordable. The list of possible cars was narrowed down to a handful.
Holden Torana LC or LX 4 door
Ford Escort MarkII 4 door
Datsun 120Y 4 door
Corolla KE55 2 door
The plan was to part out the SF5 and keep the money saved in the bank and when the time was right buy the best donor car at the time from the list above. Then I came across photos of the Celica RA28 2 door lift back… instantly I was taken with this car’s shape and Jap muscle look. I had considered using a Mustang as the donor but it was not only too expensive but too heavy beinga yank tank. The RA28 came significantly under my kerb weight limit of 1000kg while still having the mustang styling. Somehow this car had eluded my donor list. From then on it was the only car I was going to do this project with. On further research this model turned out to be incredibly rare in Australia and even the world. The only one listed for sale was for $13200 and needed a good deal of restoration. For a moment I gave up on this car as a donor, in fact I tried to give up on it. But I was taken by it, the was the car I want my unborn son to learn to drive in. I joined every Celica group my Google-Fu led me to that might one day list an RA28 at the right price…
I joined a Celica Facebook group which seemed to have a lot of workwide members, 1 post later and the stars aligned. A member not only in Australia but in Perth, just 300km away had a complete RA28 he was about to list for sale that not only turned out to fit the original budget but after stating the engine and gearbox were not required it was significantly under budget. There is some rust repairs to be made but nothing to compromise the structural integrity and this was going to be a ground up build regardless. This was it. The car that would make it’s mark on myself and others around me but hopefully the world too, that you can have a classic car with true performance, style and comfort. The next step is to pickup the car from Perth and start the restoration process and to continue planning the electric transplant. What a time to be a alive.