Does Electromodding A 1975 BMW 1602 Make More Sense Than Converting A 2002?


I’ve often wondered why Hollywood keeps trying to remake good movies. It was already good. Wouldn’t it make more sense to try and improve a movie that had some good ideas, but was ultimately flawed?

The same could be asked about classic cars being modified with electric propulsion. Sure, the Ford GT40, the Mercedes SL Pagoda, and the Porsche 911 are all great cars, but why not do what London’s Jerry Dhillon has done instead?

Featured on The Late Brake Show, Dhillon shows off his 1975 BMW 1602. In many ways, the lesser of BMW’s two mid-century sedans, it’s not as fondly remembered as the 2002. Powered by a 1.6-liter engine, what it had in style it lacked in oomph.

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Rather than breaking down a 2002 and taking out its well-regarded 2.0-liter engine, Dhillon gets all of the look, while also satisfying his desire for electric mobility. And that makes the stakes lower.

Required only to replace an engine that made 84 hp (63 kW/85 PS), he can add an electric motor that makes 120 hp (89 kW/122 PS). Still more than the 2002, it’s ample for a car that, even after the addition of batteries, weighs around 2,425 lbs (1,100 kg), according to host Jonny Smith.

More than capable enough to handle city driving, it gives its owner the experience of driving around in a car that’s as quiet, reliable, and fuss-free as a modern vehicle, while getting all of the benefit of coming out to a classic piece of automotive design every morning.

Even though this is a 1602, it still isn’t cheap. All in, Dhillon estimates that the car cost him about 80,000 ($97,094 USD at current exchange rates), but it likely would have cost even more if he’d started with a 2002.


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