- this 1970 rolls-royce silver shadow looks like it used to, but something's different—for one thing, it's less polluting than when johnny cash drove it.
- since the original powertrain was shot, the anonymous owner decided to give the rolls the ultimate upgrade.
- putting the guts of a 2016 tesla model s into the older body wasn't exactly easy, but shift ev has a history of doing what other might find impossible. like converting a helicopter to run on batteries.
as the man himself said, if you're gonna buy yourself a new car, you just better hope you're lucky enough to get one made on wednesday. failing that, perhaps you'll be lucky enough to get one converted to electric power.
yes, a classic long-wheelbase 1970 rolls-royce silver shadow once owned by johnny cash is back on the road with a new, zero-emission spirit, as first reported by digital trends. when the rolls's powertrain reached its end after 130,000 miles, its owner decided to convert the man in black's ride (well, one of them, anyway) into an ev using a tesla model s as a donor vehicle. the work was done by shift electric vehicles of albany, oregon, which has been converting cars to electric power since 2009. the company mostly works on classic cars and hot rods, so this was an ideal pairing for both company and car. shift ev has worked on other unusual conversions like the record-setting streamliner, a 1904 electric woods road wagon, a 1978 porsche 911, and a helicopter. yes, a helicopter.
given shift ev's history, it should not come as a surprise that the people involved were able to avoid some of the problems that might have bedeviled less-experienced conversion mechanics. for example, on a short project rundown on the company blog, they mention that the donor ev was a 2016 model s with a 75.0-kwh battery pack. that's key because shift ev knew the lump in the pack would be easy to modify and fit better in the rolls, since that part of the pack was not full of batteries. the pack would hang down below the rolls, but some things couldn't be avoided. and anyway, there would be more than enough ground clearance to make it work.
shift ev founder kirk swaney told digital trends that the anonymous rolls owner asked tesla if it would do the conversion, but the offer was declined. shift ev did not respond to car and driver's request for more details about the conversion, but they do write on their blog that they will publish more information in the future, "drawing from the thousands of build pictures, some video, and the endless challenges that had to be overcome."
there were plenty of these difficult choices to make during the restoration, like where to put the big tesla infotainment screen (answer: the trunk, to keep the rolls's interior looking as original as possible) and how to get the original steering wheel to work with tesla's modern controls. we look forward to learning more about them whenever shift ev is ready to share.