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Nissan Builds a One-Off 1980s Bluebird with an Electric LEAF Powertrain

Photos: Nissan UK

In September of 1986, Nissan opened its Sunderland Plant in the UK. The first model the facility would produce was the Bluebird, and more than 180,000 units would leave the factory before production ended in 1990. And with the Sunderland Plant currently celebrating its 35th anniversary of being in operation, Nissan has opted to mark the occasion with a special one-off electrified Bluebird car build that merges the company’s past with its future.

Christened the “Newbird,” this one-of-one project was managed by Durham-based EV conversion specialist, Kinghorn Electric Vehicles, which has bestowed the Bluebird with the motor, inverter, and 40kWh battery pack from a Nissan LEAF. Capable of receiving a charge at a rate of up to 6.6kW, the LEAF’s battery is charged through the Bluebird’s original fuel flap while the donor’s instrumentation panel has been linked to the new EV powertrain. The battery has also been broken down into two modules — one in the engine bay and one in the trunk — in order to achieve a more ideal weight distribution and a new suspension setup was installed to accommodate the extra weight from the batteries. Part of Nissan’s Ambition 2030 — the marque’s ongoing, long-term electrification initiative — the Newbird boasts a range of approximately 130 miles and offers a 0-60mph time of just under 15 seconds. Now sporting an LED-backlit hood badge, the Newbird has also been treated to power steering, braking, and a modern HVAC system. Nissan Design Europe was also called on to design the Newbird’s livery — a multi-tone paint scheme inspired by what Nissan calls “design cues of 1980s consumer technology, combined with a 21st century aesthetic.”

The Newbird ultimately represents Nissan’s unwavering commitment to a greener future and is just one of a myriad of ongoing EV initiatives taken on by the Japanese automaker.

Learn More: Nissan

Photo: Nissan UK
Photo: Nissan UK
Photo: Nissan UK