Some old-car nuts are confronted by a serious dilemma. Perhaps you’re one of them. Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re sitting on the couch, thinking about cars, and you think to yourself, I’d really like a car powered by something that’s not so stinky (neatly side-stepping the question of whether the electric power infrastructure is actually cleaner, so pat yourself on the back). But a Nissan Leaf is too boring, a Chevy Spark Electric with it’s ridiculous torque figure is just too new, and the BMW i3 and i8 are too costly/one-percentish/over-designed. Well, here are a couple of choices for you, starting with this 1980 Comutacar for sale for $1500 in Portland, OR.
Red is a less-common color for these, and the wedge styling and awesome striping say late-1970s in a way nothing else can. The giant front bumper is missing, and it’s questionable whether the bargain hubcaps are included, but compared to some others it’s still pretty decent looking. The trailer lights from the local chain auto parts store are the way these always were, which is a shame. But there’s not too much to apologize about, since this is basically a golf cart with a fully enclosed body. Which begs the question, would the local muni golf course turn you away? Because otherwise, this would make a great car for the morning round, if you played golf.
Interior also looks in pretty good shape, maybe even like it’s been reupholstered. The car is said to have run when the previous owner started retrofitting lithium ion batteries, and this is one of the unfortunate things about these – many of the available examples are projects, waiting for that one-in-a-million chance to get back on the road. Or, of course, a dramatic rise in oil prices. But, maybe you wanted an electric classic that, you know, looks like a real car. Then you might want to check out this 1981 Jet Industries Electrica, for sale for $1999 in Shelton, WA.
Whether you’d call a 1981 Escort a real car is a discussion for another day, but Ford made millions of them, so quite a few parts should be available, though attrition has claimed many of these. It’s said to be in very good condition, though the interior seems to be suffering from mold or general dirtiness. It’s only done 36,000 miles, so worst case, you have an Escort shell to stuff in the powertrain of your choice. And that’s because the seller states he doesn’t have the time to follow through on his plans to update the powertrain. Maybe there’s a budget racing opportunity here, or you can take advantage of the fourth-level LinkedIn connection you have to that guy who works for Tesla. It might not be safe or sane, but what classic car endeavor is?
And here’s the mold. Outside of that, the interior actually looks pretty amazing, if cheap. While converting to Tesla power is probably ridiculous, what about finding a crashed Prius or Insight? Toyota and Honda have sold thousands of those, and they weren’t as premium, or as powerful, so acquisition and use of that drivetrain is a more realistic prospect. On second thought, maybe the Leaf is a better idea if you’re hell-bent on going electric – what would you do?