Inspiration comes in unusual forms. David Lorenz’s lightbulb moment arrived when his classic Mercedes broke down. His small daughter was in the car, and Lorenz began thinking about ways to make it cleaner, more reliable and give it a long term usable future in a world that is turning its back on the internal combustion engine.
This led him to set up Lunaz Design, close to the Silverstone racing circuit in Northamptonshire. It’s high end old car restoration business that fits electric drive systems to sometimes exotic period Jaguars, Rolls-Royces and Aston Martins amongst others.
According to commercial director James Warren, giving treasured, collectable old cars electric heart transplants might be the start of a broader social trend to apply similar vehicular surgery to less coveted models. The costs will need to come down a bit first though. The company’s labour intensive, bespoke restoration/conversion is spectacularly expensive. The work will set a classic Range-Rover owner back £290,000. You can add another £100,000 for similar work on a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud or a Jaguar XK sportscar, but this is small change compared to the £960,000 Lunaz quotes for working on an Aston Martin DB6, although this does include a donor car.
The old mechanical bits Lunaz removes either find their way into other vehicles, or even end up as decorative objects. Warren alluded to a coffee table made out of old car innards. For some classic car fans this sort of thing amounts to vandalising industrial archaeology, the equivalent of ‘improving’ an old master with a can of spray paint. Warren rejects this analysis.
‘We have all got to accept that the world is moving to cleaner power. We want future generations to see old cars enjoyed and driven. We’re furthering the legacy of these cars and we do that with enormous respect.’ He claims that fifty cars are currently under the knife in the Lunaz workshops, and orders are being taken for 2023.