Consider them classics with a distinctly modern twist.
Milan-based creative agency Garage Italia has launched a new project focused on electrifying classic Italian autos. Dubbed Icon-e, the program seeks to future-proof the stylish vehicles of yesteryear while providing their owners with the peace of mind that they’ve done so while lessening their environmental impact. The project is sure to make some purists cringe, but with more and more drivers aware of the toll their cars take on the planet, Icon-e is Garage Italia’s attempt to blend the creative daring of postwar automaking with the environmentally aware sensibilities of today.
“With Icon-e, the restomod phenomenon becomes eco-friendly too, through re-use and upcycling, both central to the project,” the company said in a release. “The cars created by Garage Italia are the perfect blend of past and present, combining timeless style with new technologies, integrated in a functional but discreet way.”
To kick off the project, Garage Italia has chosen to give the undeniably cute summertime cruiser, the Fiat 500 Jolly, a new lease on life. Originally in production from 1957 to 1975, the car’s engine has been replaced by an electric drivetrain flanged to the original gearbox. And the modern flourishes don’t stop under the hood, as the car’s roof and door section have been removed and replaced with a discrete, jeep-like safety cell. The interior has also been given a once-over, with the car now featuring handwoven front and rear seats, a completely digital five-inch instrument panel and a white gear lever that denotes its two gears with icons of a tortoise and hare. It’s also been outfitted with white-wall tires from Michelin’s vintage line. The whole package is topped off with Fiat’s familiar badge, which flips open to reveal the car’s charging port.
The company, which is the brainchild of Fiat heir Lapo Elkann, is quick to note that the Jolly is just the first “drop” from the Icon-e project and that other “seasonal” releases are currently in development. As for the electric 500 Jolly’s price, that’s available upon application. Previous offerings from the company have started at $99,000 (€89,000).
As tantalizing as the Garage Italia’s Jolly may be, its not the first electric conversion to hit the market. Earlier this year, British company Swind started selling the E Classic Mini, an electric version of the beloved Mini Cooper. Taking just four hours to charge, the compact features a fully restored body, an 80kW electric motor and single transmission. Limited to just 100 cars, it starts at $100,000 (£79,000).