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Triumph Spitfire Electric: Addition Through Subtraction

With the idea to reinvent this classic car with new electric hardware, it was time to think about the driving experience and how the physical interface of a 1970s gasoline car would have to adapt for 21st century EV drivers. A couple of obvious changes to consider are the manual transmission and a lot of superfluous information and controls on the dashboard, and from there several other design decisions started to take shape.

The main design philosophy with this project has been, weight begets weight. To improve performance and lower the bar for the baseline specs of the new motor and batteries, the goal was to make this car as light as possible, either through new lightweight materials or through subtraction of unnecessary features. For example:

Chrome Bumpers

They are incredibly heavy and on this car they were in pretty bad shape. I decided to eliminate the bumpers and clean up the lines of the car in the process. Plus, anyone who has driven a car this size knows how ineffective the bumpers are as they sit about a foot lower than the bumpers on modern sedans and maybe 2 feet lower than the bumpers on modern SUVs.

Going Topless

The always-with-you soft top is heavy and frankly I never liked the way the car looked with the soft top up or down, and it was a little too claustrophobia-inducing to drive a car this small fully enclosed. The decision was made to have the Spit be a fair weather machine. A hard top (cherry red to match the interior, of course!) would be available for just-in-case days, but generally speaking this car is meant to go topless.

Windows and Door Hardware

With the convertible top gone, other components for keeping the car secure like side windows, door locks, and even the external door handles, were becoming vestigial. Removing the side windows and their heavy and elaborate adjustment mechanisms shaved a lot of weight, as did the removal of the door locks and external handles. An additional benefit of this change was that the bodywork could be smoothed over and make the lines incredibly clean.


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