1986 Nissan Bluebird Gets a Leaf EV Powertrain from Nissan U.K.

nissan newbird ev
  • Nissan U.K. has modified a 1986 Bluebird (we know it as the Sentra) and made it into an electric car.
  • The electrifying parts are added from Nissan’s Leaf EV.
  • Fortunately, changes to the exterior were very minor, and the 1980s-vintage graphics remain.

The trend of automakers putting modern electric powertrains into their vintage vehicles continues, this time with Nissan. The Japanese automaker’s British arm has performed the swap on a 1986 Bluebird (our Nissan Sentra) to commemorate 35 years of U.K. auto production.

Just as Nissan established a U.S. factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, in the 1980s, the company also set up a U.K. assembly plant at Sunderland, which began churning out Bluebirds in 1986. Today, Sunderland builds the Nissan Leaf, so a Bluebird/Leaf mashup neatly bookends the factory’s history.

nissan newbird ev

DAVID SHEPHERD, NISSAN

The repowered Bluebird hatchback uses a Leaf motor and 40.0-kWh battery pack, with the cells divided between the cargo area and under the hood. Additional modifications extended to the car’s HVAC, brakes, suspension, power steering, and lighting. The charging port is located behind the original fuel-filler flap, and the stock fuel gauge shows the battery’s state of charge. The exterior is largely unchanged other than LED taillights, LED backlighting for the Nissan badge, and a set of unmistakably ’80s graphics.

nissan newbird ev

DAVID SHEPHERD, NISSAN

The Nissan Newbird joins a parade of vintage cars that have been restored and converted to battery propulsion by their makers. They include Hyundai’s 1970s Pony and the follow-up ’80s Grandeur, the Opel Manta GSe, the Ford F-100 Eluminator pickup, and Chevy’s K5 Blazer, the latter two being SEMA builds that showcased an EV crate motor. While Nissan’s Newbird EV may not be an original idea, it’s fun to see another addition to a neat trend.
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