March 8th, 2012
07:40 PM ET

Dan Busby on creating an 'Electric Triumph'

CNN's "The Next List" recently took a trip to Syyn Labs in Los Angeles. It's a creative and technological collective that we will feature on our weekly show, which airs on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.  While we were there, we met Dan Busby, a physicist, artist and  tinkerer - who also turned a Triumph Spitfire into an electric car.

We had a quick chat with Busby about his homemade "Electric Triumph." You can see a video of him showing it off above. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. And don't forget to check Syyn Labs out on CNN this Sunday.

CNN: Where did you find the car?

Busby: I bought the car off of Craigslist for $500. The Triumph Spitfire was a very popular car in its heyday. They sold hundreds of thousands of them from 1962 to 1980. My Spitfire is an early model, which has more chrome and is called a "round-tail" by the aficionados. You don't see many of the cars on the road today because of their relatively finicky components. They are usually somebody's 2nd car, so when they break down they get stuffed inside of a garage, only to resurface decades later at a bargain price.

CNN: How long did it take to complete the project?

Busby: It took me one year of restoration and conversion to get the car into a drivable state. I had to rebuild the brakes, steering, and suspension. I removed the faded paint and brought it down to the bare metal before putting on a fresh coat of British racing green. I had to redo all of the interior and most of the electrics. I had to fabricate motor mounts and battery trays to hold the new components, and couple motor to the drivetrain. Although the vehicle is driving, I've got a long list of small things that need work. Whether it is installing a radio or tweaking the battery management system, there is always something that needs doing. A project like this is never really "complete."

CNN: What specific lessons did you learn during the project?

Busby: Naturally I learned a lot about automobile restoration and electric car drivetrains. Probably the biggest lesson I learned is that much of the auto work is doable by a novice, but there are some jobs that are best left to the professionals. Sometimes holding your nose and paying a big bill will save you a bigger headache later. I had a great deal of help from friends who were more knowledgeable than me. Sometimes a bribery bottle (or six) go a long way towards getting some valuable help.

CNN: What advice would you lead to someone interested in doing this?

Busby: If someone wants to begin a conversion, I always give them my full support. But I don't let them think its going to be easy. There are many ways to convert a car: A cheap, short-ranged, grocery getter. An expensive, fast, commuter. A long range, slow, pick up truck. Everyone has a different car that they want and different budgets. There are plenty of conversion examples and resources online. Read, read, read, read. But at some point you'll have to plunge in and start your own conversion. Start with a car that you're going to want to drive. Find a forum and ask lots of stupid questions, the EV community is friendly and helpful. Before you know it you'll take that first drive out of the garage and your face will be plastered with the legendary "EV Grin".

CNN: How fast can that baby go?

Busby: I've had the car up to about 80 mph. At that point the tiny size and '60s construction of the Spitfire become readily apparent. I usually cruise at 60-65mph to maximize my own comfort and range of the batteries. LA traffic keeps me from having an opportunity to speed anyway.

CNN: What car are you doing next?

Busby: I'm actually working on a pedal powered vehicle built completely from scratch. It's an 8 person kinetic sculpture that looks much like a driving banquet table, complete with a chandelier dangling overhead. It's called A Moveable Feast. We've got plans to serve fancy dinners prepared by molecular gastronomists, served off of silver and fine china while we cruise through downtown or on a beach boardwalk. We're working hard on the frame, suspension, and drivetrain right now. We hope to have it on the road next month.

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Filed under: Art • Design • Innovation • Science • Tech • The Next List • Video
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  12. dennis

    so, you did this complete re-make with your own hands? or did you just drop it off at a shop ?
    the vehicle must have had a big upgrade to the suspension for the weigh of the batteries...........btw what did the batteries cost?
    thank you-

    March 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Reply
    • Dan Busby

      I did this with my own hands. I enjoy working on projects like this, so I don't want to pay someone to do the fun stuff.

      The weight increase wasn't that severe. I added some shims to the front suspension and air shocks to the rear so I could adjust them to close to the original ride height.

      I picked up my 18kWh Lithium pack for a little over $7k. Yes, they are expensive, but my gasoline bill has plummetted! The batteries will pay for themselves before they need replacement. Also, I'll be saving a lot of money on oil changes, spark plugs, fuel pumps, radiator repairs, etc. There's not many parts that wear out in an EV.

      March 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
    • Karl

      Check his website, the batteries were $7200. For the amount of money you put in a car nowadays for gas, that would be paid off within a year.

      March 13, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  13. BobM

    I drive a 1967 MGB every day, and have done so for about 20 of the past 32 years. Purchased it from the original owner (who had driven it only 9,800 miles) in 1980 for $4,000, Have had one engine rebuild at 100,000 miles, and various replacements such as rear springs, oil pump, water pump, clutch, starter motor etc. I estimate an average $2,500 in repair/maintenance cost every 10 years, including adding an overdrive capability. Many labor costs over the years were minimized by doing it myself, which was (mostly) fun. Electrical problems?- one – the starter motor died at 110,000 miles. Carb problems? – minimal-last adjustments in 2002 or 2003. Rust problems? – none, but it has been a southern/central California car all it's life. Parts availability? – none (easy to find but increasingly difficult to pay for) Would I consider replacing it with a $40,000 "eco" car? – hardly. Environmental impact? – It would very probably require much more energy to manufacture and transport a replacement car than I have or will ever have consume at 25 mpg and an oil change every 5.000 miles. All that being said, I admire and approve of Dan Busby's efforts and success. The problems with new energy sources for transportation will be solved eventually by people like Dan, but in my opinion the technology is not there yet and the general public will not accept it now in any great numbers regardless of political or environmentalist pressures. Keep up the good work, Dan, and enjoy life with the Spitfire. life with an LBC (Little British Car) is fun with or without it's originality.

    March 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  14. Richp

    Whats the big deal, more than a few Jeep Cherokee's have been converted to electric/battery using of all things an electric elevator motor with a couple of adapters, gas tank replaced with 12 batteries [and new springs] more batteries up front to balance. End result is you now have a practical 5 passenger station wagon. Driveev dot com has the whole write up. You to can build one at home....

    March 12, 2012 at 11:43 am | Reply
  15. Allen

    conversation seems to be quite interesting

    March 12, 2012 at 1:36 am | Reply
  16. Beck

    Dan – if you are still following this, I am curious what sort of mileage (or charge) are you getting on average?

    March 11, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
    • Dan Busby

      I get about 65-70 miles on full batteries. 80% of my 18kWh pack is 14.4 kWh. Giving me an efficiency of ~220 Wh/mile (it's a small light car). You can figure out the cost if I were to charge in your area. It sure is nice to drive by those $4.40/gallon gas stations! I can charge at home, at work, and at my girlfriend's place, making it very easy to get around. There are also hundreds of public charging stations sprinkled around LA. I can plug into the J1772 EVSEs or I could pull out the trusty extension cord so I can charge anywhere that has a outlet, just slower.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
  17. M.E.

    I really hate when people do this to cars. Sure it may be more convenient, less problematic, less-explodey, or whatever, but it's no longer that car. It's like taking the hide of an animal and proclaiming that it's still a fox or whatever when all the fox has been removed from inside it!. It's not! It has to be stock and any replaced parts have to be legitimate replacements. You can't just re-assemble the body around all new guts and still call it a Triumph Spitfire. The "new" electric DeLorean drives me even more mad. Under performing, neutered 120hp engine or gtfo with the exception of the factory authorized experimental right-hand drive post conversions which are allowed to have 180. To truly own a classic or collectors car, it needs to have all the bits and bobs that make it what it is, bad sides and all. If you have an old Alpha Romeo, your natural place in the world is steaming on the shoulder, for it to actually work means you lose the real experience. If you want an old car you need to have the proper engine in it, anything else is cheating. It's your own damn fault if you want an old car that was crap when it came off the lot, it should still be crap to preserve the original feeling of the car. And trust me, I love just about everything that has ever been poor performing, awkward, or recall prone, I should know.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Reply
    • Dan Busby

      Sorry to upset you, M.E. I didn't realize you were so sensitive about the car I drive. 😦

      March 12, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  18. Pete

    I hate that car. The most problematic machine I ever owned.

    March 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • oneSTARman

      Imagine then taking out all the problems and getting an Electric

      March 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Reply
    • Elhan

      , Hey mom, she looks like you . Your glasses are way more coloer than mine though, (I personally don't think we resemble, but I took it as a compliment, because you are so cool. )Well, since I'm new to knitting, I need to start a stash, so what the heck, I'll enter. The only thing I've bought was 100% cotton yarn for dishcloths. My mom did give me access to her old acrylic yarn she had stored up for plastic canvas. I just finished my first dishcloth, almost done with a second, and getting ready to start a new pattern for a dishcloth. Eventually, I want to do a shawl and learn how to make socks. I have no earthly idea what blocking is yet. Guess I need to read up more.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
  19. justicefor7

    URGENT – Please read more about VERIZON. Things they don't want the public to know! I was tormented by racial comments that were ignored, then racially discriminated against and wrongfully terminated for making complaints about the racial injustice.

    Please visit my Blog Page to see what Verizon did to my family. What they have done to my family, and continue to do is horrific. Today they still will not accept responsibility. So I will not stop this FIGHT for JUSTICE! It has been 8 years and I refuse to give up!

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    Even though I know this to be true, that justice of only for the few, I refuse to allow Verizon to beat me! I will fight them until I die. I will never give up, I will let the world know of the abuse I suffered and the lack of justice I have received.

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    March 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
    • Goofyfoot2001

      ok I'll give it a looksee

      March 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Reply
      • Ryan

        Wooo Look at all the comments!!! Blocking can be such a PITA, I agree. I used to do all mine in the guest room on the bed but we made it into a foutrh bedroom so no more. I did get some blocking squares and that helps .. but I always feel like I'm doing it wrong. I finally ordered some blocking wires so maybe shawls will get easier. I'm glad you're not taking it to heart if you get any less than positive reviews. It really is true that you can't please everyone, and naturally we all have different tastes, (altho personally if I don't like one I just stop listening)

        October 24, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • Goofyfoot2001

      I don't doubt there are some horrible managers out there. I think Unions foster that sort of environment simply because there is no "Union" in team. As for the racial stuff, down here in the South I don't see much of that going on in the corporate world though I've heard that it's bad up north. That you have "liked" Ocuppy Boston on your facebook page makes me kinda wonder if you don't have it out for business in general. I think it's best to just get over resentments as quickly as possible on move on with your life. "Let go those whom you've imprisoned in your mind."

      March 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Reply
      • justicefor7


        I so bad want to move on, and let go of the imprisoned in my mind. It has taken a great part of my life that I will never get back. The problem is, I cannot give up. It is something embedded in me, that I cannot quit. If I do, I failed my family, and I failed myself.

        March 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Teo

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      August 22, 2012 at 12:09 am | Reply
  20. Maverick

    I bought a 1974 Spitfire new from the dealer, it broke on the way home. I should have known when the gearshift pulled
    out of the housing and I could only get it into 1st & 2nd I was going to be sorry. But I never had a car that got so much attention or so many problems. (Carmine Red with a saddle interior)

    March 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • Perfesser

      I have owned 3 Triumphs over the years and can attest to the veracity of the old saw: if you own a Triumph and have money in your bank account you are not taking care of it.

      March 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  21. lance corporal

    awwwwwwww now I regret selling my tr-3 35 years ago...........

    very nice conv, I'm thinking about doing a late 70s mustang (the ones NO ONE wants.... cheeeeep)

    March 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  22. Beelzel

    People have been converting old "Kit cars" and Porsche 914's for decades. Cost of kit about 7K plus various adapters for the transmission of choice and battery brackets (another 3K) plus donor vehicle.
    I have converted an old Kelmark GT to electric... not very hard to do. Best range 120 miles average 80... recharge 4 hours on 220V household

    March 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • oneSTARman

      Imagine the $7K Government Credit you get for BUYING a $40-60K EV being Used to CONVERT the COMMUTER Car you Drive Now – Or One you Get on Craigslist – and we could all say Good-bye to Foreign Oil.

      March 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  23. Chris

    What is the range and how long does it take to recharge (at what amperage)?

    March 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • Pumbaa

      CNN had a typical American question. Not your question Chris, but how fast will it run? We just care about power and speed and then like to complain when gasoline goes to $4.00+ a gallon.

      March 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • Dan Busby

      I'm surprised you're the first to ask this question, Chris. It gets about 65 miles if I deplete the 18kWh pack to 20%. I rarely drive 40 miles between charges. I can recharge at an adjustable rate, up to 2.4kW with 120V or 3kW with 240V. I usually set it so that it charges slowly overnight. Slower charges are more efficient and are better for battery life.

      March 11, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
  24. donno

    Something is wrong with this picture. There is a reason they put the batteries in the back of most electrics. Anyone who has worked around industrial batteries would agree. In a crash situation I would much rather face hot motor oil than battery acid.

    March 10, 2012 at 3:26 am | Reply
    • Chromeum

      It uses lithium batteries, not lead-acid batteries. Lithium polymer don't have liquid in them.
      In this case, it's also good idea to stick the batteries in the front of the vehicle because it aids in crash protection.

      March 10, 2012 at 7:47 am | Reply
    • LeaveBlank

      You "donno" what you are talking about.

      March 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  25. Bert

    Taking old, and building something new, I think this is going to be an increasing trend. I would like to see a hybrid S-10 conversion kit.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  26. Andy Graybeal

    That's an interesting project car. Congratulations on your efforts. All Lucas jokes aside, it amazes me how some logically challenged respondents get carried away with their invective and politics. In our Triumph club, Spits are quite popular and we have one member who drives one with a Mazda rotary engine-not your kind of mileage, but very smooth.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
    • Celal

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      May 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  27. Lukasz

    So the car was purchased for 500$, how much was the conversion?. They didn't even mention this at all – possibly because it would be too affordable... Lets all go buy a 40K$ volt or convert our old, already paid for cars for under 12K$ hmmm decisions...

    March 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • Dan Busby

      I spent about $7k on the motor, controller, charger, wires, contactors, fuses, etc and another $7k on the batteries alone, My first iteration was with lead batteries, which were heavier, got less range and required more maintenance. They cost $2k. I pay a few cents per mile to drive, but if you figure that the batteries will need to be replaced every 10 years it works out to 12¢/mile or so. Still much cheaper than gas, once you factor in oil changes, repairs, etc. Electrics have much fewer moving parts to break.

      March 10, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply
      • Mr. Moto

        How does the overall weight compare to when it was gasoline powered?

        March 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
      • Dan Busby

        It's about a hundred pounds heavier as an electric. The same frame was used by Triumph for later and heavier models of the car, so I knew it could handle the weight. I added a few shims to bring up the front suspension and adjustable air shocks to the rear. I don't take it moto-crossing and it handles just fine for me.

        March 11, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  28. Bob Lewis

    Lucas, Prince of Darkness!!!

    March 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  29. Spitfire aficionado

    I have a 1975 Triumph Spitfire and I love that little car. It gets 30 miles per gallon. I got rid of the bad carb it came with. Unfortunately it is not a great car to drive excpet when the weather is dry. The rag top was never designed for wet weather. I will probably have to sell it before too many more years since I am getting older and bending into a pretzel shape to get in and out is getting harder. They are a blast to drive and I recommend them to anyone that wants an inexpensive way to get into a fun convertible but it's definately a second or third car for most people.

    March 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
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      March 18, 2012 at 3:12 am | Reply
  30. xvet

    My first new car I bought when in the service in England was a 1968 Triumph TR-250, loved that car still dream of driving it. Brought it back to the states , it developed an engine oil leak and after about 5 attempts at fixing by me and a garage, I let it set and rust away. Unfortunately I didn't have a garage. Great running little car but I was always beaten by my friends MGC, it handled better on English roads. I'd love to have another but, even though I think electric cars are a great idea,I would prefer all original.


    March 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  31. hermitman

    Q: Why do the English drink warm beer?
    A: Lucas refrigerators.

    March 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • Joe Calzone

      What does this have to do with the ev conversion a hole?

      March 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • hermitman

        Sorry I ruined your precious "ev" convo, dude. Name-calling for a joke? You've got issues, get some help.

        March 10, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  32. fuzzboxx

    if this car actually runs, i bet none of the electric parts say"Lucas" on them.

    if you have ever owned a Triumph or an MG you know what I mean lol.

    March 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • GT6 owner

      Agreed. To add a couple jokes..
      Lucas 3 way switch: Off-Flicker-Dim.
      Why do the Brits drink their beer warm?....Lucas refrigerators..

      March 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • Brad

      I always consider the Lucas Electrics in my MG to be a safety feature – they have kept the car safetly in the garage for many years.....

      March 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
    • Beelzel

      Remember the old "positive ground" MGA?

      March 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Yogesh

      Nice work, Brian! I live in the 50th District. I actually see Francine Busby aruond town frequently. She's been a magnet for all the liberal moonbats in coastal San Diego for a decade. I hope Kaloogian puts that information in his ads and talks about it incessantly in his speeches, because Busby has been spewing her venom since the minute Duke Cunningham was indicted. You can't argue facts with a moonbat, but sensible conservatives can understand what scandal truly is. Francine Busby has been skinny dipping in it while many of the uninformed have been looking the other way!

      August 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
  33. LabMonkey

    shoulda used a TR6

    March 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  34. DRJ

    I just noticed...that first frame of the clip looks like Dan is "laying on of hands" to those batteries! Must be Lucas batteries.

    March 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  35. Richard

    Every idea thought up by the greenie kooks has been a hugely expensive, inefficient, unworkable disaster. Solar, wind, electric cars. One tax-sucking joke after another. And all for what? Fighting the mythical global warming monster??

    March 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • David Murray

      That is where you are mistaken. Yes, it is true a lot of greenies "like" the concept of electric cars. But if you actually count up most of the people (like me) who drive them you'll find most of us aren't greenies. We like electric cars for lots of reasons. I love the convenience of not going to a gas station all of the time. I like the torque and speed of my car. I love the high-tech looking dash board with the digital read outs. I like the high-tech sounds my car makes. And I LOVE the money I save by not going to the pump. The environmental benefits are just a bonus.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • xvet

      A lot of kookie ideas have become reality there are some who believed Steve Jobs was kookie. Just because the technology may not be there at the present doesn't mean it won't be. If we all believed like you there would be no progress, and without it we would still trekking to the local creek trying to bring water back in cupped hands.


      March 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Reply
    • yahmez the mad

      Dick, global warming is proven science. One can measure the loss of ice at the poles, or look at islands that are disappearing due to rising sea levels. This guy did not use tax dollars to construct this car, and it works. You are the kook, Dick!

      March 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • SteveInMN

      You know - if you kept quiet - people wouldn't KNOW you are an ignorant right wingnut hillbilly.

      March 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
    • lance corporal

      keep your head in the sand while the rest of us solve problems for you

      March 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • Abdallah

      Posted on Great answers, all!Sarah I've only seen two epedosis of DS9, but my favorite professor in college was obsessed with it. I've always meant to check out more the only Trek I know well is Voyager.Jeff My opinions on Logan and Jean are almost a Scott and Jean in themselves, but you make really good points. Their dynamic is always, always interesting, even if I really don't want them together.Matt I would read that zombie Scott and Jean in Oz story. Chris Maybe I need to give Extreme Ghostbusters a chance. Is that Egon in the picture? Was he still there? Because that might be enough for me.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:30 am | Reply
  36. Bob O.

    The Volt is a disaster. Now Fisker, that Obama gave 529 million to and said would create 200 jobs; created 100 and is laying off workers, on the verge of bankruptcy. What's worse, when Consumer Reports went to test the Fisker Karma, IT BROKE DOWN IN THE DRIVEWAY! It didn't even make it to the test track. Obama's green car campaign is hands down a total failure and joke.

    March 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
    • John A.

      It's not "Obama's green campaign" you narrow minded fool. We all have to get away from consuming our finite resources, especially if it's polluting our planet. Stop making this a political issue.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
      • John Too

        It is a political issue. The government needs to stop trying to drive consumer demand – in particular stop giving taxpayer money to political supporters – and VERY bad bets for success. The narrow minded fool comment was really nice too, BTW....really makes me want to agree with you....not....

        March 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • Troy in Austin

        I agree with you John A., 100%, even the narrow minded fool bit.
        As to J. too, Car companies in the 90's told Congress not to force them to have better millage rates, "the free market will decide". They came out with the Hummer and killed the EV-1. They lost their ass, we bailed them out.
        Kinda wish we would have forced them back then. Government is not always wrong.

        March 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • Jessy

        It is Husseign Obama's fault you moron blacky. We need better leadership in this country and not some jive talking fool in the white house. Its is called the white house for a reason.

        March 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  37. jdoe

    Can't automakers create a small electric commuter car that can get maybe a 70-80 mile range, and sell it for $15K or so? As many amateurs have shown, it doesn't have to be high-tech and is very doable. Many people would go for that insted of a $40K Volt.

    March 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • Rotaxian

      We are a loooong way away from a $15K electric hybrid. Battery research and technology is costly and is getting better in very small increments. I think what this guy did is very cool – but there is no way it would ever pass the IIHA crash tests – another costly factor (just google "volt battery crash test" to get a sense of how complex this technology is).

      March 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
      • jdoe

        I wasn't talking about hybrids. I'm talking about a pure electric that is designed for short range commute only. As such it would be the size of a micro-car. It doesn't have to be fast, just enough to keep up with traffic. I can see a market for urban people who mostly drive short distances, or a second car for commuting that is cheap to run and maintain.

        March 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  38. richard

    This thing is sitting by a dumpster. That can't be a coincedence!

    March 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • Jason

      It looks like a shipping container to me. What gives?

      March 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
      • Rola

        Se la grafica si rantemr quella di questi screenshot una volta uscito il gioco, diventer uno dei migliori RPg per Wii (ok, non contando il fatto che gli rpg per wii stanno sulle dita di una mano, comunque sar spettacolare).Speriamo solo che queste immagini non siano la classica esca buttata l tanto per attirare l'attenzione, quando in verit il gioco tutt'altro.Se anche sono un'esca, per , devo dire che snano fare il loro lavoro.

        March 18, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  39. SBG

    Am I the only one who recognizes the irony of electrifying a British car? After all, Lucas electronics (the makes of all things electric in England) is also known as "the Dark Side."

    Don't believe me? google "bottled smoke"

    March 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • T

      So true. My first car was a Spitfire, but my friends and I called Lucas "The Prince of Darkness." At least this guy avoids the accursed Stromberg carb.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  40. Jane

    I have a 1973 Spitfire 1500.. and he is right... it's been in the garage for 20 years... takes forever to get parts to re-build. It;s a fairweather car, no A/C.. can't wait to drive again... 5 gallon tank.... 40MPG

    March 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  41. Jeff Williams

    Wow. I had a '64 Spitfire. It was my very first car and a "chick magnet". I paid $500 for it, spent $3000 in repairs, and sold it for $500. GREAT investment. 😛 Even better learning experience.

    Using batteries is a great idea considering how the engine (oh, the joy- tuning the twin Strombergs) and electrical systems on this little fella are simply CRAP.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  42. Jim970

    Not a comment on the idea but on the ridiculous camera/editing techniques used in making the video. This trend to jerky, fragmented videos is the stupidest thing.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • MOJerry

      Right! Flashing 3 frames/second, jiggly photography, zooming, etc. are in movies, commercials, trailers, and most videos. Why? They do nothing for me except annoy me.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  43. DRJ

    Part of the classic British Sports car experience are the "pearly tones" issuing from the muffler, the smell of gas and exhaust, and the Smith's guages that never work right. It is not clear to me what you have left after an electric conversion ... certainly not a British Sports car! Dan looks too young to have experienced the real deal...too bad. I have a 1965 Austin Healey 3000 and it is staying original...however, I would have no problem doing a conversion on my Honda Accord.

    March 9, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Dan Busby

      I also prefer sailboats to motorboats. Different strokes! Cruising silently at a few cents per mile isn't everyone's cup of tea.
      Don't worry, my gauges are still flaky. 🙂

      March 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  44. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    What a horrible thing to do to a Spitfire.

    March 9, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • No Elecctric till ...

      At least he gave it the proper coat of paint. BRG is perfect so she still looks great.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • Dan Busby

      Broken Spitfires are cheap and plentiful. You're welcome to buy one and fix it up to showroom quality yourself. I chose to go electric because I enjoy keeping mine on the road. Just because they rarely run doesn't mean that they're rare. Purists are always going to hate modifications to a car. But not every rusty old car is destined for the museum pedestal.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
      • MOJerry

        Dan: you took a pile of old tin and made something very cool and useful. Any time someone makes a new and better product out of something useless, it's a good thing. I grew up in the hot-rodder era, where things like fuel injection, electronic ignition, safety belt restraints, crash protection, etc. were invented. Keep inventing and experimenting: that's what this nation needs the most right now.

        March 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  45. TomC

    Cool idea but not really that well done. I have a few friends in Marina Del Rey that have put together an electric 1972(?) BMW 3.0 coupe. Smaller batteries and a much more powerful engine. At the electric car shot out at Mazda Raceway (formally Laguna Seca) it was by far the fastest and even blew away the factory Teslas. One way to get the public on board is to play on they're need for speed so to say( damn the attorneys and legislators ) the profomance levels of these car can be really quite impressive let alone the lower operating and maintenance costs. Of course the damage to our small business infrastructure may end up a little hard to predict but so goes technological break throughs.

    March 9, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • No Elecctric till ...

      It isn't speed, it's mile per charge, and until it's 400+ miles on a single charge, I'm not even a little bit interested.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
      • David Murray

        That sure is asking a lot. Heck, there are lots of gasoline cars that can't even go 400 miles on a charge. And how often do you drive 400 miles in a day? The average daily commute is like 32 miles.

        March 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • MOJerry

        People like you make stupid people look intelligent!

        March 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • MOJerry

        Something else, noelectric, wait until it costs you $10 to drive to the grocery store, while your neighbor is paying 16 cents for the same trip.

        March 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  46. NeilM

    Could the ADHD editing of this video possibly be any more irritating? Take a handful of Ritalin and try again.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
  47. James Varela

    Vast improvement. I had a 1969 MGB I bought when 17 yrs old. Biggest problem like all English sports cars is rust and the dreaded Lucas Electrical System. I recall in the 70s people were taking these kinds of simple, small, European cars from the 50s and 60s and making EVs out of them. I would like to see an EV 1965 E Type Jaguar roadster.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
    • lesliee

      Oh man! I would give my firstborn for that Jaguar!

      March 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
      • your son

        really dad? thanks........

        March 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

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