Electric drivetrain swaps for classic cars are becoming a huge business. General Motors will even offer its Chevy Bolt powertrain as an eCrate package for various interesting projects. Some purists object to these swaps because it eliminates the engine sound and vintage feel. But what if someone performed an EV swap on a classic car where the engine was never the selling point of the experience?
A UK company called Hemmels may have just found the perfect car, a Mercedes-Benz 280SL Pagoda. Hemmels’ all-electric Pagoda is currently available for pre-order, but only in limited quantities. The 280SL Electric looks true to the original, with the small exceptions of a new rear badge and the absence of an exhaust pipe. The car is drop-dead gorgeous.
As with the exterior, the classic cabin looks devoid of any modern modifications. There are no futuristic touchscreens or even any LED lights. Hemmels has kept the original analog instruments and refurbished the chromed dashboard and leather upholstery. If someone hopped into this car while it was parked, they might assume it is a standard Pagoda with the engine off.
There are some enhancements to the car, including improved braking, power steering, and drivability. As a nod to drivability, Hemmels added heating, window defrosting, A/C, and in-car entertainment. Each car is individually configured, so owners can choose which options they’d like on theirs. Hemmels only plans to produce 12 cars in the initial batch, priced at $295,000.
Customers can configure their steering wheel color, carpet weave, wood type, leather texture, and accent colors to pair with an endless exterior paint color array. All of the 280SL Electrics will be powered by electric motors that produce around 160 horsepower, roughly the same as the original inline-six engine. The car even boasts impressive range and should be capable of around 200 miles on a charge.
Hemmels says the 280SL Electric isn’t meant to be rapid; instead it’s meant to be driven slowly and be seen in, much like the recently-unveiled electric Bentley Continental. Drivers who want a quicker convertible may want to opt for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz SL, which has been spied testing and is coming later this year.