A Classic Mustang with a Shocking Twist

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Electric 1965 Ford Mustang

Ford just got beaten to the punch in the “green” Mustang race. OK, well, it’s not a new Mustang model designed to go a step beyond the rumored EcoBoost powerplant (rumored to land in the Mustang in the near future)—it’s an electrified twist on a pony car from the days of old. The powertrain in this 1965 Ford Mustang has been replaced with two electric motors, there are a few extra gauges in the cluster, and of course, it has a new battery: 2,268 power cells resting underhood where a Ford shortblock V8 used to reside. Crafted by the team at Duke’s Garage in Westminster, CO, this antique Mustang just got a shocking shift into a new era. Keep reading to get all the background and details on this one-of-a-kind Ford Mustang.

Eclectic and Electric

Melisse Perre-Altschuler and her team at Duke’s Garage, from left, son Dave Altschuler, John Giannandrea and Carl Putnam. Below from left, the transmission in the 1965 Ford Mustang was replaced with two electric motors, gauges to read volts were added to the dash and two lithium-ion battery packs, holding 2,268 power cells, sit where a V-8 engine once rumbled. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post ) The two-door pony car corralled at Duke’s Garage in Westminster isn’t your father’s Ford Mustang.

And it definitely isn’t the Ford Mustang that innovator Lee Iacocca had in mind when the legendary line was launched 45 years ago.

This is a ’65 Mustang minus even a hoof of horsepower. Dubbed the “Electric Pony,” it was built by a handful of innovators at Duke’s who sought eco- friendly, battery-powered engineering in a classic piece of American iron.

Yes, the car is painted green.

“When we started restoring classic cars, doing something like this was always in the back of my mind,” said Melisse Perre-Altschuler, who opened the garage with her husband, Duke, in 2006. “I thought, ‘Why can’t we take a great old car and make it green?’ ”

Which is exactly what a team led by Dave Altschuler, her son, and John Giannanderea did. The result? A car that hits 65 mph and has a range of about 100 miles before it needs recharging. The charging outlet is housed above the car’s rear bumper behind the old fuel cap. You can plug it into a 110-volt or 220-volt outlet; the former charges the batteries in about eight to 10 hours, the latter in half that time.

“What’s so fun is that we’ve taken this from concept to reality,” Giannanderea said. An Electric Pony is a study in swap- outs for space’s sake. The charging unit takes up space once occupied by the gas tank. Two lithium- ion battery packs, holding 2,268 power cells, sit where a V-8 engine once rumbled. The batteries power two motors that are slung where the transmission once sat. This amounts to the drive train. Something might be connected to the wrist bone, but I lost track. “Everything else is pretty much stock on the car except the motors, battery packs and the electrical work that goes with it,” Altschuler said.

Well, there is the upholstery. The Electric Pony might be the only Mustang anywhere with hemp bucket seats. “Like I said, it’s a green car,” Perre- Altschuler said. So how does it run? Push a button, and the Mustang comes to life with a low hum. I took a turn around the block in the car. There was no throaty roar from the exhaust pipes because there are no exhaust pipes. Just a whine from under the hood.

The quiet car turns heads.

Gary Buffum walked over from his motorcycle shop to check out the Electric Pony. “I heard it going by and thought, ‘What’s wrong with that car?’ ”

Giannanderea nodded at the Mustang.

“If you appreciate a classic American car but want to go green, how great is that?” he said. “And it’s all steel, not plastic.”

The folks at Duke’s know that there’s a generation of motorists who won’t be lured by the Electric Pony’s virtues.

“You have people who want the pistons and the revving engine,” Giannanderea said. “But there’s a younger generation that says, ‘I want everything cool, but I don’t want a gas-guzzling hog.’ ”

The conversion isn’t cheap. It runs $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the car. The upside: the cost of running the car is about 2 cents to 3 cents a mile.

Other models are in the works, including a vintage Volkswagen Beetle and a Karmann Ghia.

“A year from now we really expect to be rolling along strong,” Perre-Altschuler said. This might not be your father’s Mustang, but someday it could be your kid’s.

Source: Denver Post

Categories: General


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