A sportscar whose intrinsic character is defined by its iconic engine, and has been for more than half a century, is the latest to go electric. Yes, you can now convert your classic Porsche 911 to battery power.
The offer comes not from Ever Ready but Everrati, a British firm set up in 2019 to make electric-powered “restomods” out of classic machinery – but in such a way that the engine can always be put back if the owner decrees it. Everrati has several suggestions for what to do with the air-cooled flat-six while it is surplus to requirements – one of which is to adapt it into a coffee table for your living room…
The Oxfordshire-based company’s newest project, called Signature, is a wide-body 911 of the 964 generation. It follows electric restomods of the Mercedes SL Pagoda and Land Rover Series II in a programme Everrati says will future-proof the cars for use by coming generations.
But will it drive like a 911? The Porsche’s engine and its position in the car define so much about the 911 after all, not just its performance but its noise, response and handling. According to Everrati founder and chief executive Justin Lunny, the conversion retains the 911’s soul.
“Using modern engineering techniques and integrating advanced EV powertrains, we enhance each car’s performance, yet ensure they have a similar driving ‘feel’ with weight distribution – and overall weight – mirroring that of the original,” he told us. The car has been signed off by renowned Porsche 911 racer Tim Harvey, Everrati’s test driver.
With a motor boasting 493PS (373kW) – twice the power of a 964 original – performance is up. Everrati claims 0-62mph in under 4.0 seconds which makes it a tad quicker than even a modern-day 911, although presumably top speed (not quoted) is well down. 500Nm (370lb ft) of torque from zero revs should guarantee instant overtaking punch.
The 911’s characterful noise will be absent of course, but with the motor in the car’s tail driving only the rear wheels the car’s handling is said to be “in keeping with the true spirit of the original car”. The motor is coupled to a 53kWh battery with the entire electric propulsion system designed to optimise weight distribution, chassis response and safety, according to Everrati’s ex-Lotus and McLaren engineering boss Mike Kerr. Range? They say 150 miles, with a fast DC charger able to take the batteries from 10 to 100 per cent in less than an hour.
To keep weight down the front and rear wings, bonnet, roof and doors are replaced by carbon-fibre parts. Everrati claims that as a result its electric 911 weighs less than the original 1991 964 coupe on which this wide-body conversion is based (around 1,450kg). The ducktail spoiler may not be strictly in-period (still looks good though) but the front and rear bumpers are genuine Porsche wide-body items to which RS Cup air vents are added.
Design telltales are the new take on the 911’s wheels and lights plus of course the missing exhaust pipes, otherwise it comes across as standard 911 – and one in top-notch nick after what Everrati says is a bare-metal restoration to concours standard.
It’s refurbished inside too but kept 911 in feel, including replacement parts like the gauges which are all new (there being not much need for oil temperature etc.), but in the 911 style of the time. The largest dial behind the steering wheel now shows kW instead of rpm. A custom-designed heating and ventilation system is fitted along with navigation and infotainment courtesy of a Porsche classic display unit offering Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay.
Options include standard or track suspension packages, sunroof, different leather and Alcantara, more powerful Brembo brakes and 17- or 18-inch wheels in a variety of different styles.
Justin Lunny says: “We believe that it is the very DNA of a car that makes it iconic and that such cars must be preserved for future generations – not be placed in a museum, but to drive.”
And what of Tim Harvey’s verdict on it? The former BTCC and Carrera Cup champion tells us: "The Signature wide-body has the essence of an iconic 911, in terms of its rear-biased weight distribution and the ‘feel’ of its controls, brought right up to date. It is great to think that future generations will still be able to enjoy the 964 in an era of zero-emission mobility.”
Not all agree with the electrification of classic cars and this car is unlikely to change their minds. Equally unlikely is the prospect of annihilation of the country’s stock of air-cooled flat-six 911s, for converting to electric comes with a cost. Everrati says it will make you one just like this for £250,000 – plus taxes plus the donor car. Oh, and the coffee table is extra.