Electric Cars

Icon 4x4 loses the big tires in favor of a small car with high voltage

Icon's 1966 Fiat 600 Giardinetta Derelict is a radical departure for the brand, but somehow it's perfect.

Retrofitting electric drivetrains into classic cars can be a somewhat prickly subject for some, but when we found out earlier this week that Jonathan Ward of Icon 4x4 was doing it to a 1966 Fiat 600, we were a little intrigued.

Usually, when people think of Icon's builds, they think of either the beautifully resto-modded Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40s or Ford Broncos. More recently, it has become known for its ultra-unique Derelict builds in which the company sources a vintage vehicle with a well-worn patina and completely rebuilds it, maintaining the original exterior appearance.

The company also does what it calls Reformers, which are no-holds-barred restoration and modification which leave the vehicle with a like-new appearance. This little electric Fiat is somewhere in between Derelict and Reformer, as Mr. Ward points out.

The guts of the Fiat 600 are unlike what we'd have expected from an electric conversion. Instead of entirely removing the drivetrain, Ward opted to retain the Fiat's transaxle, locking it into third gear and driving that with the electric motor. The battery pack is essentially part of a Tesla pack, running around 30 kilowatt-hours and driving an air-cooled induction motor that produces approximately 80 horsepower, or a whole lot more than the 633cc engine could ever wheeze out.

The rest of the car is lovingly attended to, without going overboard. Much effort went into eliminating all the squeaks and rattles that one would expect to find in an old Italian economy car, now uncovered by the deletion of the buzzy little petrol engine. Ward went about putting rubber and leather in between every two components that elicited a noise until he achieved a result he deemed acceptable.

Icon has been hard at work developing another EV for SEMA this year, a 1949 Mercury Coupe. We're expecting to get some seat time in that in the very near future.