The classic car world can be remarkably set in its ways. In the battle between authenticity and usability, those that favour the former tend to shout the loudest, manning the barricades lest anything sneaks through and sullies hard-won historical integrity. The other school of thought is rather more casual, caring not for fancy dress or concours-quality restorations, but the ability to use, modify and enhance their cars in any way they see fit.
These days, one way of seeing fit is to ditch the internal combustion engine altogether. That’s all very well in you’re in the market for a new car (even though choice is still woefully limited), but what about those who want a slightly more vintage steed? Ionic Cars think they’ve found the answer. The London-based workshop specialises in stripping out the oily bits of classic cars and replacing them with electric motors and a 53kwh battery pack. After converting a 60s-era Mercedes W113 ‘Pagoda’ into an eerily silent classic cruiser, the team has set their sights on a more ambitious transformation.
The result is the first all-electric version of one of the icons of late 80s design, the Porsche 911 Targa. The ‘964’ generation of the 911 appeared in 1989, the third iteration of the classic 911 shape. It represented evolution, rather than revolution and the ‘Targa’ top version was a throwback to the original 60s model. This had been developed as a response to new American legislation that threatened to ban all convertibles on safety grounds. The rules were never introduced, but Porsche’s compromise — a removable centre section of roof and a solid roll-over hoop incorporated into the structure — made for a neat design that the company still references today.
The 964 cars were the last to feature manually removable roof sections (today’s Targa is an elaborate, all-electric affair) and Ionic’s refurbishment faithfully recreates the two-tone colour scheme, 80s-era side stripe and interior fabrics. The car ticks the style box, but the bolder move is bringing electrification to Porsche’s famously well-honed chassis. The EV equipment used was repurposed from a Tesla Model S, so there’s no doubting its technical capability. Ionic promises swifter acceleration than the original car, as well as a very similar weight distribution. However, without getting behind the wheel, it’s hard to tell whether this all-electric Targa has retained the sparky handling and balance of the original. Regardless of the outcome, we hope that Ionic’s approach becomes more commonplace. A quieter world and lower emissions benefit everyone; quirky electric classics are an added bonus.