Outspoken Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne has previously called the idea of an all-electric model “obscene.” A California-based enthusiast begs to differ, and he’s electrified a classic 1978 308 to prove his point.
Eric Hutchinson began his project by spending about $10,000 on a salvaged 308 destroyed by an engine fire, an issue that plagued the model throughout a good chunk of its life cycle. Working with input from a company called EV West, Hutchinson developed a new electric drivetrain built around three electric motors arranged in a V configuration, and linked via belts and pulleys. The V configuration allows the motors to slot neatly in the 308’s engine bay, which was once home to a carbureted V8 engine.
The motors spin the rear wheels via a manual transmission borrowed from the Porsche parts bin; we can hear you scoffing from here, Ferrari purists. The 308 is equipped with no less than 48 3.3-volt lithium-ion batteries arranged in packs, and it boasts a total driving range of approximately 80 miles.
The three motors provide a combined output of 415 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, generous increases of 191 ponies and 121 pound-feet of twist over a stock 308. The car tips the scale at 3,350 pounds, a figure that makes it approximately 150 pounds heavier than stock. Performance specifications haven’t been published, but it’s undoubtedly faster with three electric motors than with a V8 engine. It’s also a whole lot quieter, for better or worse.
With the drivetrain ready to deliver instant torque, Hutchinson turned his attention to salvaging the body. The fire damage was repaired, and the 308 was treated to a fresh coat of red paint. Custom-built billet emblems were ordered to add a finishing touch to the look, and help set the EV apart from every other 308 roaming the streets of Southern California.
Driving an electric, maintenance-free classic is seemingly addictive. Now that the 308 has been resurrected and electrified, Hutchinson is building a battery-powered 1980 Fiat 124 Spider, the car that inspired the modern day Mazda-Miata-based 124 Spider that made its debut in Los Angeles late last year.