Offbeat

By James Speakman

This is the dad who is transforming Hollywood’s classic cars into supercharged electric vehicles.

Car-buff, Richard Morgan, 47, ditched his job as an engineer four years ago to set up Electric Classic Cars in Powys, Wales.

The dad of two takes vintage vehicles and transforms theinto clean, turbo-charged supercars with better handling and range – and packing a punch-load more power.

But the buzz in Richard’s workshop has even reached the star-studded hills of Hollywood where Slumdog Millionaire actor Dev Patel and singer Ellie Goulding have commissioned him to supercharge their rides.

He said: “Four years ago I was messing around with cars in my garage in my house and now I’m messing around with them in a workshop for Hollywood actors.

“I had done loads of car transformations in my life but I wanted to do something that I had never done before.

“I looked at a classic VW Beetle and decided I wanted to make it go faster, but it was during my research that I came across electric motors as a way to supercharge cars.

“During the process I was putting my project online and people started contacting me asking me if I could convert their cars to electric.

“Since then we have done Ellie Goulding’s wedding car and we are currently working on a vehicle for Dev Patel.

“I think more people are considering a conversion rather than buying a new electric car if they want something with character, which is both powerful and efficient.”

After setting up his workshop, Electric Classic Cars became the first classic car converters to take vintage engines and turn theelectric in the whole of the UK.

Since then Richard has given countless old motors a new lease of electric life by replacing the petrol fuelled engines that rely on a clutch and gearbox to fire the pistons at the desired speeds.

But while most fuel cars only have a RPM (Revs Per Minute) range between 2000-7000, an electric motor can go between 0-10,000 RPM – allowing the vehicle to hit 0-60mph in less than three seconds when combined with a powerful electric drive unit.

Every car is different and a high voltage conversion with Richard will set you back anywhere between £20,000 and £100,000 depending on your specifications – but the former engineer insists no-one should be trying this at home.

Richard said: “It seems strange to say that when that’s how I started, but high voltage is extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

“We have people asking us to sell thethe conversion kits but as a business we just can’t do that.

“We are the largest converters of classic cars in the world and we have seen some very expensive, fast and unique cars come through our doors.”

Among some of the most unique have been a 1967 Maserati Ghibli, a Gordan Keeble and a DeLorean, but the one car Richard would most like to add to his catalogue of conversions is a Lamborghini Countach.

The dad is the proud owner of three electric cars himself including a 1966 Land Rover Defender, and a 1969 VW crew cab – but his ‘weapon of choice’ is a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle with a Tesla drive unit, 600 brake horsepower and does 0-60mph in 2.6 seconds.

Richard said: “That’s almost hypercar territory. I have a lot of fun riding around the roads of Wales in that.

Electric cars are just better all round in terms of their handling, power and range, they’re a much better drive.

“My wife would have never dreamed of driving my Land Rover before I converted it to electric but now she’s behind the wheel all the time.

“As a family we haven’t filled up with fuel in over three years.

“Both my children are too young to drive but they know how to because we have private land and do off-roading.

“When they become old enough to have their own cars I have no doubt they’ll be electric.”