A classic, sleeper car with an EV powertrain

We see a lot of restomods where people or companies thump new engines into classic cars. But how about putting an electric powertrain into a vintage car? This is not a new concept; in fact, there are quite a few companies who have been working on this for quite some time now. The conversion companies were in a large number even in the last century, and a perfect testament for this would be the formation of the Electric Auto Association back in 1967. However, this takes a lot of skill, money, and precise execution. One such classic car fanatic company, which has done many conversions in the past, is ICON; and this time, the company has turned a 1949 Mercury Coupe into an EV.

What is ICON Derelict?

1949 Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON
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ICON has done quite a few EV conversions under its “Derelict” brand. The founder and lead-designer of ICON, Jonathan Ward, said in a statement, "Why is the aftermarket EV-conversion industry so slow to evolve and provide comprehensive systems and solutions? Why can’t you have the best of both worlds: the style and quality of a vintage vehicle with modern performance and functionality?"

So, the main motive of the company is to retain the exterior of the classic car and make changes to the drivetrain and driveline only.

Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON Exterior

1949 Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON
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The car has absolutely no changes on the outside other than the ‘Derelict’ badge and the signature lizard badge. The original paint has been retained in its oxidized, patina state.

The modified two-door coupe still comes with same round headlights and the ‘Mercury’ badging upfront.

The single-rod steep grille in front fascia will remind you that this is not a modern car. We think the wheelbase is still the same at 118 inches. At a glance, you wouldn’t know this thing has been modded at all.

Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON Interior

1949 Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON
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Step inside the cabin, and you’ll be taken back to 1949. ICON has used fabrics and leather that remind you of the history of this car. The steering wheel and the A/C vents seem to be original, and even the gear shifter has been retained.

Of course, the gear shifter operates a little different than before, thanks to the car's reborn electric nature.

The power windows operate via the original manual window cranks. The highlight, however, is the set of digital gauges. They are Andromeda-designed and have a vintage feel to them. It feels almost like the perfect blend of historic goodness and modern technology. You have to love it.

Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON Drivetrain

1949 Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON
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Pop the hood, and instead of the original 4.2-liter, flathead, V-8 engine, you’ll find two electric motors and a Tesla battery pack. However, the setup is arranged in a "traditional V-8 array with a polished and media-blasted finish for a decidedly vintage aesthetic."

The powertrain can produce 470 pound-feet of torque and the equivalent of 400 horses.

The Mercury coupe EV rides on an Art Morrison chassis with independent suspension and has a limited-slip differential as well. The 85 kWh Tesla Performance battery, which should offer a range of 150 to 200 miles, is placed all around the body for weight balance. ICON has provided two charge ports and a Tesla Supercharger-compatible plug where the original gas inlet used to be. A CHAdeMO 125A fast-charge plug is present behind the front license plate. The Mercury Coupe EV can be fully recharged in 90 minutes and is capable of achieving speeds of up to 120 miles per hour. What took us by surprise is the underhood wiring which is done in vintage-style woven cloth loom. That’s the kind of attention to detail ICON is known for. Fabulous.

Original 1949 Mercury Coupe Drivetrian Specifications

Engine Flathead V-8
Displacement 4.3L \ 255.4 cubic-inches
Bore and Stroke 3.1875 x 4.000
Compression Ratio 6.80:1
Headbolts 24
Fuel System Ford-Holley Split Float, Dual Downdraft Carburetor
Horsepower 110 hp
Torque 194 @ 1900-2100 rpm (est)

Final Thoughts

1949 Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON
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This is exactly the kind of trend restoration companies must follow. There are changes under the hood – which serves the purpose of the whole project – without losing the essence of the car. The 1949 Mercury Coupe still looks the same, but is now capable of ripping the roads silently at triple digit speeds. In true sense, the same heart with a new soul.

What are your thoughts on this EV conversion by ICON? Let us know in the comments section below.

  • Leave it
    • May have to trade a kidney to acquire this
    • Since the body is in the patina state, we are not sure of the longevity and durability.
Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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