Automotive

Electric powertrain injects new life into bruised and battered 1949 Mercury

Electric powertrain injects ne...
That certainly doesn't look like the face of an electric vehicle
That certainly doesn't look like the face of an electric vehicle
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That certainly doesn't look like the face of an electric vehicle
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That certainly doesn't look like the face of an electric vehicle
The latest member of Icon's Derelict line: the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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The latest member of Icon's Derelict line: the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Icon has strived to update key pieces of this 1949 Mercury Coupe while keeping the exterior look true to age
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Icon has strived to update key pieces of this 1949 Mercury Coupe while keeping the exterior look true to age
Icon has added a 400-hp dual-motor electric powertrain to a 1949 Mercury
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Icon has added a 400-hp dual-motor electric powertrain to a 1949 Mercury
With 85-kWh of Tesla battery capacity, the Mercury EV Derelict can drive for about 150 to 200 miles before recharging
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With 85-kWh of Tesla battery capacity, the Mercury EV Derelict can drive for about 150 to 200 miles before recharging
Icon has hidden a charging port below the tilting license plate holder
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Icon has hidden a charging port below the tilting license plate holder
It might look like an old Mercury that's been abandoned in the desert, but it's actually a newly modified SEMA show car
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It might look like an old Mercury that's been abandoned in the desert, but it's actually a newly modified SEMA show car
Fade-away look at the engine bay
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Fade-away look at the engine bay
From 1949, to 2018
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From 1949, to 2018
Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
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Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
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Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
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Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
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Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
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Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict 
Icon has installed a Tesla Supercharger port below the gas door
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Icon has installed a Tesla Supercharger port below the gas door
Rather than just throwing the electrical hardware in, Icon gave it a V8-inspired look
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Rather than just throwing the electrical hardware in, Icon gave it a V8-inspired look
Under the hood of the Icon Mercury EV Derelict
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Under the hood of the Icon Mercury EV Derelict
Icon worked with a number of partners, including Stealth EV
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Icon worked with a number of partners, including Stealth EV
Icon has revamped and modernized the interior but without losing the classic look
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Icon has revamped and modernized the interior but without losing the classic look
Icon sourced leather and fabric to bring out the vintage looks
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Icon sourced leather and fabric to bring out the vintage looks
The digital instruments have a classic face and bezel
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The digital instruments have a classic face and bezel
Icon preserved vintage-style switches and knobs while updating features and functions
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Icon preserved vintage-style switches and knobs while updating features and functions
Icon preserved vintage-style switches and knobs while updating features and functions
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Icon preserved vintage-style switches and knobs while updating features and functions
Inside Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Inside Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Inside Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Inside Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Inside Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Inside Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
The original window cranks operate the power window system
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The original window cranks operate the power window system
Inside Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Inside Icon's 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
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Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict

We've seen a number of electrified classic projects from companies like Zelectric Motors, and usually they involve dropping a state-of-the-art electric powertrain into a meticulously reconditioned original or freshly built replica. But Los Angeles-based Icon does things a little differently, preserving the aged look and patina of a 1949 Mercury that's been around the block more than a few times, while updating key components. Most notable among those components is the 200-mile (322-km), 400-hp (298-kW) dual-motor electric powertrain.

Icon's Derelict program takes classic vehicles from just about any era and reinvents them into practical, modernized drivers, all without altering the original patina or exterior trim that give them character. These driving contrasts end up looking a half-step from the junkyard but humming along as if they just rolled off the lot for the very first time.

With its latest Derelict build, Icon sourced a 1949 Mercury Coupe from the original owners in Southern California, rolled its sleeves up and got to work. The exterior still looks like it was pulled just seconds ago from a dusty barn after decades of idleness, but Icon has done some serious work down below those big, rusty curves. It fully disassembled the body, replacing all rubber parts and adding in insulation and sound-deadening materials throughout before carefully putting it back together, mindful of not altering the exterior look. It also updated the chassis with help from Art Morrison Enterprises and added in Brembo brakes.

Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict
Building the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict

The biggest modification, of course, is the fully electric powertrain, co-engineered with electric vehicle solutions company Stealth EV, which has also collaborated with Zelectric. The two companies went with a transmission-free, dual-motor layout that develops up to 400 hp (298 kW) and 470 lb-ft (637 Nm) of torque.

The 85-kWh battery pack from Tesla provides for a range between 150 and 200 miles (241 and 322 km), and the electrified Mercury can hit a top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h). The battery modules have been split up around the vehicle for better weight distribution. The car includes a CHAdeMO 125A fast-charge plug below the tilt-away front license plate holder, along with a Tesla Supercharger plug behind the fuel door for on-the-move power-ups.

Under the hood of the Icon Mercury EV Derelict
Under the hood of the Icon Mercury EV Derelict

The electric motors fit entirely in the transmission's footprint, leaving the engine bay open for an extra touch of style. Here, Icon added a V8-styled aluminum housing around the battery controllers and Tesla modules. It even covered the wiring in custom-made cloth-braided sheathing to stay true to the vintage look.

Icon followed the same pattern of "new equipment, classic looks" inside, using vintage-appropriate fabrics and leathers. The power windows are activated via the original hand cranks; digital gauges feature classic graphics and framing; and old-school switches and knobs operate modernized components.

Icon has revamped and modernized the interior but without losing the classic look
Icon has revamped and modernized the interior but without losing the classic look

Icon is showing the 1949 Mercury EV Derelict at this week's SEMA Show. Take a closer look at the project in our gallery.

Source: Icon

10 comments
Michael Wilson
beatiful, I love it
Mzungu_Mkubwa
This is a fantastic piece of work! Kudos to the teams on this beauty! Its a shame that this kind of thing has to be a one-off custom and not some kind of mass-produced vehicle. To combine the classic styling of that era with modern and eco-friendly locomotion is just cherry!
DavidB
YES! I drive a small modern EV, but this is one of the great promises (for me) of EV technology. I'd love to put a Tesla-level drivetrain into old Lincoln Continentals, Cadillacs, and other "big iron" from the middle of last century. Even easier might be electrifying an MGA and other vintage European sports cars. Companies are already building wonderful electric versions of beloved classics like the E-type Jaguar, the Mustang, and (seen here) the Camaro. A big smile and "thumbs up" to everyone involved!
MartinVoelker
Film studios have been using electrical conversions for quite a while so they can shoot in-studio scenes with real and moving cars without the exhaust issues but with easy controls. Sound is added later anyway.
Easy
David B: Done already, some at least. Electramechanica in Vancouver has a Porsche 911 for $100K that is a 'look a like' supposedly. It looks like the real deal to me. Jaguar has a kit for any E Type you bring them at about $50k and somone (I read, maybe Jaguar) is making all electric MGBs and Triumph TR3's , cars from that era. The new ones work.
Rustin Lee Haase
Tesla supercharger compatibility without being a Tesla...now that's interesting.
possum1
Wow...... an electric car I can get excited over ! More like this please.
bullfrog84
Beautiful! Just absolutely fine! Keep it up. The modern "sleeper".
akarp
This highlights why Tesla is a good investment. Tesla is trying to be a car company...they are trying to be a Powertrain and Battery company. Which happens to be 80% of the car.
Concerned-Citizen
Wow, this makes absolutely no sense! Why leave the body in rusted, poor shape? I can see two good conversions: 1. vintage cars that have brought to mint condition, or Fiberglas vintage simulations, or 2. Modern cars so we salvage the billion cars that are today running on gasoline.