Jonny Smith is a British car journalist (you may know him best from Fifth Gear) with an interesting perspective on all things automotive. His current project—called the Flux Capacitor—is no exception. The idea is simple: take one 1970s electric vehicle—the kind that (fairly or not) gave electric cars a bad name—and replace the running gear and batteries with something much more up-to-date, making Europe's fastest street legal EV in the process. We've been eagerly following Smith's project for a while now, and while visiting the UK last month finally we got the opportunity to take a closer look and go for a ride.
Is it surprising that we love the Flux Capacitor here at Ars? After all, overclocking older hardware and the color orange are two things intimately associated with this site. The Flux Capacitor started life as an Enfield 8000, an EV commissioned by a Greek tycoon following the oil shock of 1973. It was designed by John Ackroyd—also responsible for the Thrust 2 land speed record car—and featured an aluminum body, eight 12v batteries, and a direct drive 8hp (6kW) electric motor. It had a top speed of 40mph (64km/h), hit 30mph (48km/h) in 12.5 seconds, and had a range of between 35 and 55 miles (56-89km).