Nissan reimagines their iconic 1986 Bluebird car
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It is powered by the 100 percent electric drivetrain of a Nissan LEAF, the mass-market EV that helped launch the global trend towards electric vehicles.
Updates and modifications were made to the power steering, braking and heating systems to enable them to be electrically powered, and custom suspension was also installed to support the additional weight from the battery packs.
The original Nissan bonnet badge, as a nod to the car’s electric updates, received an LED backlight for when the vehicle is static.
The car is recharged through the original fuel flap, which provides access to the charging port.
Its battery can be recharged at up to 6.6kW, and the original driver instrument panel has been connected to the EV system to enable the fuel gauge to show the battery state of charge.
Alan Johnson, vice president of manufacturing at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, said: “The “Newbird” represents all that is great about our plant – past, present and future – as we celebrate 35 years of manufacturing in Sunderland.
“We have a rich heritage of building great cars, right from the original Bluebird model, and our team is now leading the way as we drive towards an exciting electrified, carbon neutral future.”
The one-of-a-kind vehicle’s range from a single charge is estimated at around 130 miles (subject to environmental factors and driving style), with a 0-62mph (0-100kph) time of just under 15 seconds.
For the exterior of the vehicle, Nissan Design Europe, based in London, created a new graphic motif inspired by design cues of 1980s consumer technology, combined with a 21st century aesthetic.
The conversion was project-managed by Kinghorn Electric Vehicles, a family-run company based in Durham, North East England – just 15 miles from the Sunderland plant.
The Sunderland plant was officially opened in September 1986 and has been in operation ever since, and total output from 1986 to the present day stands in excess of 10.5 million cars.
The number of staff employed at the manufacturing plant has grown from 430 in 1986 to 6,000 today, and there are 19 staff who started in 1986 still working today on Nissan LEAF.
The first car off the production line in 1986, Bluebird Job 1, is the centrepiece of a local museum display commemorating the significance of that first vehicle.
Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Nissan Motor GB Ltd., added: “There’s a huge pride in our dealer network that so many of the cars we sell have started life right here in the UK.
“Nissan’s Sunderland plant has produced “home-grown heroes” for millions of UK customers, with models like the Juke, Qashqai and LEAF amongst the country’s best-sellers.
“This “Newbird” project is a wonderful tribute to the enduring presence of high-quality manufacturing that Nissan has enjoyed in the UK for more than three decades.”
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