Converting a classic car into an electric vehicle can bring benefits

CONVERTING a classic car into an electric vehicle is a growing trend that can also significantly increase its value, according to a study.

Just a few weeks ago, Road Record reported on the MINI Recharged project which will see iconic original models swapping the traditional petrol engine for an electric powertrain.

Now Vanarama car leasing company calculated the prices of the most popular classic cars before and after an electric conversion.

At the top of the table is the MGB Roadster, with a standard cost of £5,000 but a value of £108,000 as an EV, a whopping 2,060% increase.

A Land Rover Series II skyrockets 1775% from £8,000 to £150,000, while a Ford Mustang jumps from £24,000 by 1,150% to £300,000.

However, Vanarama’s findings also revealed that higher prices for electric vehicles do not necessarily indicate a greater increase in value. An electric version of the Aston Martin DB6 costs £732,000 but has a smaller increase in value over the original of just 129%.

That’s because the DB6 is already a highly sought-after classic, with non-electric prices averaging £320,000, making it the most expensive car analyzed in the research.

But Jon Peck, of the main converter Electric Classic Cars, says that for many owners it is a passion project and not a profit due to the high price of the change.

He explained: “Although it is possible to make a profit, for most customers we talk to, it is a labor of love. For example, a Mercedes-Benz SL 190 project in progress that we have currently looks like £180,000 all in.

The MINI Recharged project

“But that’s irrelevant for most of our customers, because they wouldn’t even consider selling their precious cars. They just want to enjoy it more sustainably, without the tedious maintenance of a decades-old vehicle.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to profiting from a converted classic, but Vanarama has shared his top tips to consider if you want to give yourself the best chance:

Start with a budget – from the cost of a donor car (if it’s not already in your possession) to restoration work, conversion kits and the work itself, this can quickly add up. So set limits and test the viability of your plans early on.

Pick the right car – a low-value classic may be the obvious choice for low outlay and high profit, but that won’t always be the case.

Consider cars whose post-conversion cost isn’t too far off the price of a non-electric example – that way buyers are less likely to opt for a standard model that’s significantly cheaper.

Mr Peck also made a suggestion: “A stock Fiat 500 in good condition will cost around £7,000-15,000, with an additional £30,000 for electric conversion. In terms of repurposed classics, £45,000 in total might just have some slack in the sale.

Especially with classics, cars with higher mileage usually have a lower value upfront – this gives you the best profit margins upfront. Converting a classic with low mileage could lead to an overall drop in value, and therefore a loss of investment.

Avoid run-down models where possible, as a car in good condition – especially in terms of chassis and bodywork – will save money on restoration. Restoration alone can cost up to £100,000 or more.

Finally, when altering or modifying a car, the DVLA has specific points-based requirements to retain its original number plate. Failure to follow these results leads to higher costs and perhaps even less desirability because it has less in common with the standard model.

Maintaining the original body and chassis, suspension, axles or steering assembly, for example, gives you the eight points or more necessary to maintain the authentic registration.

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