Car auctions are incredible places. I remember my first one. I was young with no money and had no intention of buying anything, but I was mesmerised by the atmosphere. The fact that masses of cash was being thrown around as we stood amid performance cars of all ages was addictive, and I haven’t stopped going since.
It can be dangerous, though…
Drew Gill was over the moon when he managed to purchase a Ferrari 308 GTS for only $77,000 – a bargain in today’s market. It had been restored from a sorry condition and he was ready to take it home and let that 2.9-litre V8 growl. But that’s not exactly what happened.
During the restoration, the previous owner, Eric Hutchinson, had replaced the brute powertrain with three electric motors. After an engine fire (pictured above), the name was changed from GTS to GTE (for electric), and an all-electric powertrain now sits in the car alongside a host of replacement parts.
The fire had melted all the rubber, the glass was shattered, and of course the engine was deemed to be unusable. It took two years for the repairs – and changes – to be made, and that isn’t surprising when you see the spec sheet now.
With batteries for each motor, one sitting towards the front of the car with the final two sit in place of the oil tank, they create 30 kilowatts of power for the 2,000-amp motors located where the engine previously lived. These motors push power through a five-speed G50 Porsche ‘box, which, according to Hutchinson, improves efficiency but more importantly, makes it more dun to drive.
Top Gear America were lucky enough to drive it.
Gill reveals, “I didn’t know that it was electric when I was bidding on it.” He was thrilled when he realised, though. He says, “It wasn’t making any noise but it was moving and then we sat in the post-bid section where we were discussing the car and I found out there that it was electric and I was even more amped!
“The most satisfying part of the experience is having someone else share the experience of the electric car. A classic car that’s 40 years old, it’s going to go for 40 more years to share that, to drive it, and to show that elsewhere to other people.”