UK TV’s Jonny Smith Revelling in Retro Electric Dream

Written By: Assen Gueorguiev 


For any aspiring electric supercar, the Tesla S P85D is the drag-race benchmark.

But Fifth Gear presenter Jonny Smith has a contender that can match the £85,000 Tesla in the unlikely shape of a forgotten 1970s electric relic.

Jonny found his 1975 Enfield 8000 ECC (Electric City Car) three years ago, unloved, flood-damaged and with a theoretical top speed of 40 mph.

But after a painstaking restoration, the Enfield has been given fresh life – and a 1003hp motor that turns the one-time 8hp cute city crawler into a drag-strip monster capable of matching wheels with not only the Tesla, but a race-prepped Porsche 911 Turbo. And it’s road legal.

In the below video, the Flux Capacitor – a nod to both Back to the Future and sponsors Adrian Flux insurance – crashes through the quarter mile at Santa Pod in 12.6 seconds at 101mph.

Since then the little orange racer has raised the bar to 11.67 seconds at 109mph, with a top speed of 110mph and a 0-95mph sprint in just 7.3 seconds.

Jonny was inspired by the non-street legal Black Current Beetle, a Bug-shaped electric rocket that can hit 151mph in just 9.3 seconds.

Of his latest run at the weekend, Jonny said:
 “As soon as we entered the 11s quarters we started losing windows, though we managed to bodge them with gaffer tape and continue racing. “

“The crowd loved it. In the pits we were literally mobbed with people wanting photos and asking numerous questions.

“It was hilarious to blow away some other cars, including a professional BTCC touring Audi and we matched a highly modified 911 (997) Turbo Porsche that had launch control, remap and special exhaust.”

So now this bygone from the first wave of electric vehicles, brought about by the 70s oil crises, is on the brink of becoming Europe’s fastest street-legal EV, packing 1000lb ft of torque provided by twin electric motors fed by custom Li-on battery packs.

Watch this space.